Marquette Golden Eagles 2013-2014 College Basketball Preview
Marquette Golden Eagles - Big East Conference
Home Court: Bradley Center 2012-2013 Overall 26-9
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With the departure of three quality contributors from a team that reached the elite 8, the Marquette Golden Eagles will lean heavily on their best recruiting class in years as they look to challenge for a Big East title.
Backcourt: The Golden Eagles will face questions early this season as they will look to replace the consistent scoring threat of guard Vander Blue (14.8 ppg) and Junior Cadougan (8.5 ppg, 3.5 apg). With Blue and Cadougan gone via graduation, the role will be Todd Mayo’s to lose. Mayo averaged 5.3 ppg last season but showed the ability to explode when given extended minutes. He will be pushed constantly by freshman JaJuan Johnson and Deonte Burton. Both guards are extremely talented and will contribute off the bench to start the year. At point, look for Derrick Wilson to fill the role before handing the keys to freshman Duane Wilson -- a scoring point who will need time to get acclimated to the college game after a stress fracture setback a few weeks ago.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Frontcourt: Marquette returns their top two big men in DeVante Gardner (11 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Chris Otule (5ppg, 3rpg). The Golden Eagles will rely heavily on this duo as the season gets underway -- Gardner provides an option that is soft around the hoop and very good from the free throw line. Swingman Jamil Wilson should see his production jump with the losses of Blue and Cadougan as well as he can rebound and also shoot it well from three. Keep an eye on junior college transfer Jameel McKay as well. The 6-8 forward is very athletic and should boost Marquette’s interior defense and rebounding efforts.
Outlook: While losing three key contributors can usually set a team back, the Golden Eagles reloaded with a strong recruiting class and have more than enough experience at key positions to make the transition seamless. Look for Marquette to challenge for the conference title easily and be a very difficult out come March once the youngsters get acclimated to the college game.