An Ignominious End to Dominic James' Brilliant Marquette Career

Tim SeemanAnalyst IFebruary 26, 2009

After four minutes of Marquette's big showdown with Connecticut last night, Marquette point guard Dominic James' college basketball career came to an abrupt end. James broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot, which, in lay terms, is the pinky toe.

In his limited time, James hit a three-pointer, which I chose not to get excited about because of his tendency to shoot too much. His ability to shoot the three is streaky at best, but it's hard to be picky when he did so many good things on the court for Marquette.

With his career now final, James will go down as one of the best players to ever wear the blue and gold. He's played in the most games in Marquette history, having played more than 30 minutes per game ever since he arrived on campus.

He has 1,749 career points, behind only teammate Jerel McNeal and George Thompson. Many figured that James would also surpass Thompson's total of 1,776, but it just wasn't meant to be.

Further, he has 631 career assists to 304 turnovers, which is a ratio of just more than two-to-one.

But perhaps the most important thing James brought to the court can't be quantified.

He was the senior point guard, a team leader, a hard-nosed man-to-man defender, and a guy with awesome athletic ability. He's listed at 5'11" and was the team's most common target for alley-oop plays.

Buzz Williams knows the impact of the loss, but he knows that Marquette must move forward to face Louisville and Pittsburgh, both games on the road, without their starting point guard.

It's natural to look at this injury with pessimism and a "woe is me" attitude, but Marquette fans will have to find a way to move past that.  

One way to do that is to know that Maurice Acker is a serviceable replacement.  He doesn't have the exceptional athleticism, floor vision, or ability to create his own shot that James had, but he is still a good player.  

He's also shown that he is a very good defender (see at Notre Dame earlier this season). If it were McNeal or Wesley Matthews with the season-ending injury, the situation would be much more dire for Marquette.

Also, having Acker start games now will give him valuable experience for next season, and it will give Marquette fans an idea of what to expect. Some might think all is lost with the graduation of James, McNeal, and Matthews; I don't, but that's a topic for another day.

Additionally, Marquette still has other great players that can pick up the slack.

McNeal has been, arguably, Marquette's best player this season. Wesley Matthews and Lazar Hayward are both capable of scoring 25 points. Jimmy Butler is proving that he belongs on a Big East basketball court.

Coach Williams knows that he will have to make some adjustments, and he is prepared to make them. He knows that the brutal schedule Marquette has isn't going to slow down because of the disappointment that has struck his team. He still has to get his players ready for this final push.

Since he has earned the respect of his players during the course of his tenure here, I wouldn't close the book on Marquette quite yet.