The 2008-2009 NCAA Basketball season had its fair share of ups and downs for the Marquette Golden Eagles. Now that seniors Jerel McNeal, Wesley Matthews, Dominic James, and Dwight Burke have graduated, there is a lot of open playing time to be won by several players. Coach Buzz Williams, in his first season as the Golden Eagles head coach, compiled a 25-10 overall record and a 12-6 conference record, has shown that he is suitable D-1 basketball coach.
Coach Williams' recruiting class for the upcoming season is very deep. Players included in that class are former Madison Memorial standout Jeronne Maymon, a talented 6'6'' forward, who is expected to step into a four-year starting role and help replace the void left by Wesley Matthews.
With the graduation of Dominic James and the decision by Maurice Acker to not return for his senior season, there is a big opening for incoming freshman point guard Junior Cadougan of Humble, Texas to fill. The 5'11'' point guard is drawing comparisons to Dominic James in size, but is thought to be more durable due to his heavier weight.
After his stellar four-year career at Marquette, Jerel McNeal will be a tough spot to replace, ranking first in career scoring at Marquette, but 6'6'' foward Erik Williams hopes to fill the role. Williams,from Cypress, Texas, is a talented foward who ranks 21st amongst all small fowards in the 2009 recruiting class.
Rounding out a very solid recruiting class that not only adds depth to a very solid group of returning players from this past year's team, is 7'2'' center Youssoupha Mbao. Mbao played his prep basketball at Stone Ridge Prep High School in Merced, California. Other players include: Darius Johnson-Odom, Dwight Buycks, and Brett Rosebaro.
My prediction for the upcoming season will all depend on the how well the incoming class can adapt to the furious pace of the Big East. If the players can mesh well with the returning players, they could hit the ground running or hit the ground and stumble. My prediction will be about another fourth to fifth-place showing for this extremely young and talented Marquette squad. The future of Maquette Basketball is looking very bright with the hopes of another deep run into the upcoming NCAA Tournaments.
Remember folks, We Are Marquette.