Marquette Basketball: Predicting Golden Eagles' Top 5 Scorers for 2013-14
Of Marquette's top five scorers during the 2012-13 season, only two return. Vander Blue decided to test the NBA waters, while Junior Cadougan and Trent Lockett ran out of eligibility. This leaves Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson as the team's top returning scorers.
Buzz Williams does have the luxury of returning six other players from last year's roster, while adding five recruits from the class of 2013. Combine those veterans who will cease bigger roles while adding talented youth and Marquette should have another successful campaign.
As a sophomore, Mayo averaged 5.3 points following a freshman season where he scored 7.9 minutes per game. In 2013-14, I expect Mayo to split the difference of those two figures. After a fall season suspension, Mayo never really got out of coach Williams' doghouse, only playing 14.1 minutes per contest.
Mayo is a streaky outside shooter who sometimes forgets about his athleticism. Todd is the younger brother of recently signed Milwaukee Bucks guard OJ Mayo. Mayo should get the start at shooting guard at the beginning of the season, though there will be plenty of competition. JaJuan Johnson, Deonte Burton and Juan Anderson will all be gunning for minutes on the wing.
The first of two newcomers on this list, Johnson comes from Memphis to play under Buzz Williams. Johnson is a four-star shooting guard who finished as the 35th-best prospect in the class of 2013, according to Rivals.com. He stands 6'5" and weighs 185 pounds—a long winged frame that could notch him minutes at both shooting guard and small forward.
Johnson can score off the bounce, but also provides Marquette with an outside shooting threat. Three-point shooting was one category the Eagles struggled with during the 2013-14 season, shooting less than 30 percent from deep as a team. Johnson alone should be able to move that number up.
As a sophomore playing Junior College ball, McKay averaged 17.8 points. The two-time All-American is the next player in a long line of recent JUCO success stories under head coach Buzz Williams' tutelage. As a junior, Jae Crowder averaged 11.8 points after coming to Milwaukee, while Jimmy Butler averaged 14.7 points during his junior season as a Golden Eagle.
While McKay may not match the numbers of those two NBA stars in his first season playing Division-I, you can expect him to be an instant impact player. While not as talked about as the incoming freshmen, McKay already has two years of college basketball experience under his belt and won't have as long of an adjustment period. Whether McKay starts at power forward or not, watch out for his athleticism.
As a redshirt junior, Wilson averaged 9.7 points in 25.2 minutes as a reserve forward. Wilson finished third on the team in points and played primarily at power forward. This season, however, expect to see Wilson at his natural small forward position, as he is the team's best perimeter threat.
After a slow start to last season, Wilson went on to score in double figures 13 times over a 14 game span, which ended in the team's 55-39 season-ending defeat to former Big East rival Syracuse. Wilson should move into a starting role as a redshirt senior, transferring to Marquette from Oregon after his freshman year there. Also, expect Wilson to lead the team in minutes played.
As a junior, Gardner averaged 11.5 points in 21.5 minutes off the Golden Eagle bench. Gardner's minutes should increase as a senior, regardless of whether he enters into a starting role or not. Gardner has played behind Chris Otule the past few seasons but actually sees more minutes, as Otule is an upgrade defensively, but not nearly the offensive threat of Gardner.
Gardner shot an impressive 84 percent from the charity stripe last season and 59 percent from the floor. He is incredibly efficient and uses his body well around the basket. He is also an effective passer and is selfless giving the ball up when opponents double team him on the block.