Last season, Acker averaged 2.8 points and 1.8 assists and played a key role in the Golden Eagles’ season after starting point guard Dominic James went down with a broken foot. The 5-foot-7 junior took over starting responsibilities and averaged 5.3 points in those starts, including 12 against Villanova in the Big East Tournament.
The main question for the Golden Eagles this season is how they will rebound after the losses of James, Jerel McNeal, and Wesley Matthews. The three seniors led Marquette to 94 wins during their time and were the face of Marquette basketball all four years of their careers.
Their leadership and example were a staple of what made them such great players and people, and while they are somewhat irreplaceable, Acker will ease the pain somewhat.
Before Acker joined the team, Lazar Hayward and David Cubillan were the only seniors on the Marquette roster. Reports say that Hayward has taken his senior role head-on and is becoming the leader of the team on and off the court, but the return of Acker gives the extremely young backcourt something to lean on.
Cubillan, known as a vocal player on the floor, has never been considered a leader on the team, but rather a follower who does whatever is asked of him. In Acker, freshman Junior Cadougan, sophomore Darius Johnson-Odom, and junior Dwight Buycks will have someone to look up to and follow on the court.
Acker has been with head coach Buzz Williams for two years now and has played under for him for one. He understands the system and will be able to teach the inexperienced incoming players. Remember, Acker played behind Dominic James for two years and was with him for three, so he should have some good advice to pass on to the youngsters.
On the court, Acker will provide excellent depth to a team that has played with a short bench the last couple of years. Cadougan is expected to man the starting point guard role and Buycks can been a pleasant surprise in summer camps thus far, so Acker is more than likely going to come off the bench.
Still, he has played that role well in the past and is a great defensive plug to put in late in the game. Some question whether or not he is durable enough or if he fits the role of a “Big East player”, but no one is asking him to play 25-30 minutes per game.
Johnson-Odom should see just as many minutes as Acker, and Cubillan seems to finding his 2007 form this summer. That does not leave many minutes for the former Ball State transfer, but there will this season where he will be expected to come in and make a defensive stop.
Not only does his experience help the incoming class off the court and in practice, but Acker is one of just four Golden Eagles with true Big East experience (Hayward, Jimmy Butler, and Cubillan being the others). The seven newcomers joining the team have never stepped court in a Division I basketball game, so Acker’s experience will be important in the beginning of the year.
From there, he can tutor Cadougan and mold him into the future starting point guard and provide depth on the bench. He isn’t Dominic James, but is also better than most give him credit for. Especially for what his role will be this year, having Acker back is a good thing for Marquette basketball.