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Blog Entry

Marquette may be more formidable this season

Posted on: November 29, 2011 4:52 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 5:06 pm
 
By Jeff Goodman

Marquette lost an NBA player yet Buzz Williams' team may be improved from a year ago.

There's certainly more quality depth than there was a year ago - or at any point since he inherited the reigns from Tom Crean. Darius Johnson-Odom is a year older and while Jae Crowder may not be Jimmy Butler or Lazar Hayward (a pair of first-rounders over the past two seasons), his production could exceed both.

Crowder, through five games, is putting up 17.8 points and 8 boards per game.

"He's a really good player, is extremely intelligent and instinctive," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said.

DJO and Crowder are a potent 1-2 punch, but the difference in this year's team is the maturity of sophomore guard Vander Blue, the presence of a true floor leader (Junior Cadougan, right) and the addition of a potent scorer off the bench (Todd Mayo)

Blue is averaging 12.2 points per game, Cadougan is a significant upgrade over Dwight Buycks at the point guard position and Mayo -- O.J.'s little brother -- is averaging 7.8 points in just 16.6 minutes.

"Dwight helped us win a lot of games, but Junior is a different type of player," Williams said. "He delivers the ball on time and on target."

Cadougan is a true point guard who makes life easier for those around him - and he's finally in shape.

It took Cadougan a while to work his way back from an injury he suffered as a freshman, but he's down to 200 pounds and Williams says he's in the best shape that he's ever seen him. Part of that can be attributed to a contest that Williams posed to Cadougan and rotund big man Davante Gardner. Williams has gone from 233 to a rather svelte 197 pounds and Gardner dropped 27 pounds prior to the start of practice.

"I did it selfishly. I had to turn it into a contest to make me accountable," Williams laughed. "But they weren't going to beat me. I wasn't going to let that happen."

True, the schedule hasn't been taxing. It began with Mount St. Mary's, has included Winthrop, Norfolk State twice and also featured a 30-point pasting on Ole Miss.

However, that'll change soon. Marquette plays at Wisconsin and in New York against Washington in the next 10 days - and will host Vanderbilt late in December when the Commodores are expected to have a healthy Festus Ezeli.

It's difficult to question a Williams-coached team. The constant? They play hard each and every possession. Williams has led Marquette to 69 victories in his first three seasons and a trio of NCAA tournament appearances - including a Sweet 16 berth last year.

Just to compare, Crean won 56 games his first three years and went to the NCAA tournament once. Hall of Famer Al McGuire, who won a national title at the school in 1977, won 43 games his first three seasons at Marquette.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Comments

Since: Apr 1, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:11 pm
 

Marquette may be more formidable this season

Whitebread,

Chris Otule is becoming a real servicable, competent big man avging alomst 7 pts, 6 rebs and 2 blks a game,. nice nice compliment to a team with a lot of other weapons. Davante Gardner Is a force inside who can move and has a nice touch too. Both are really getting better this year and are fun to watch.

Maybe Mayo or Blue will become that Wade type. I have been very impressed with Mayo's contributions  early and Blue is maturing well this year with lots of good stats other than scoring. With our depth, those guys will have good opportunity to contribute and grow, but might not be "the man" who is one and done. Personally I like that.

Go Marquette ! 



Since: Jan 7, 2009
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:52 am
 

Marquette may be more formidable this season

Marquette would be incredible if they could recruit a couple of 6'9" or 6'10" players. They always seem to be undersized. Which is the way with not quite the big schools/basketball factories. Marquette always playes great defense. And are very patient on offense. As well as being very disiplined.
The only way teams like Marquette get to the final four, is to have a player, like Dwayne Wade, who developes a little later than some stars, and he ends up staying for more than one or two years.


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