The Marquette basketball program always had success recruiting areas such as Chicago, landing Dwayne Wade and Jerel McNeal from the area. But since Buzz Williams took over at the helm, Marquette has really expanded its recruiting to other areas of the country, never really tapped into for the progra.
I think there are two main reasons for the recruiting jump. First of all, the move from Conference USA to the Big East.
The Big East for the last couple of seasons has been considered the best on college basketball. Facing basketball powers like Syracuse, Villanova and Connecticut each season can only help recruiting. This is one of the reasons Marquette are starting to land recruits from far and wide including top 100 recruit Jamail Jones (Smoky Mountain, GA) and JUCO recruits Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder (NC).
Recently Marquette netted a verbal commitment for the class of 2012 with Juan Anderson from California. Not many recruits from Cal are going to come to Milwaukee,especially since Anderson was being pursued by Cal and Arizona State. Anderson cited the Big East for one of his reason for coming.
"Yeah, everybody thought I was going to play Pac-10. And I could see that because when my recruitment first started I thought, 'Man, this is what I've grown up watching. I've always wanted to play in the Pac-10.'; But as I got older I started hearing about the Big East and stuff, and it's just hard to pass up on a school like Marquette. The people care there, and there's a great passion at that school and in the area. That's where I felt most comfortable. Despite the fact that the Pac-10 is my home conference, I wanted something new, and the Big East is the best conference in the nation. I wasn't going to pass that up."
Anderson standing at 6'6 and projected to be a small forward will try to replicate the success of Hayward and Matthews.
The Big East conference shift is not the only reason for this. The other reason and the one I feel will really bump the MU recruiting even more is the success Wesley Matthews has had in the NBA, just earning a huge contract with Portland after going undrafted.
Joining the Matthews success is 2010 graduate Lazar Hayward. Hayward came out of nowhere in this past years draft. Hayward came to Marquette as a guy who was not deemed that "athletic". Hayward dismissed that with a tremendous NBA workout stretch that saw him display a 34 inch vertical leap, second most bench press reps and finishing second in a lane drill to #1 pick John Wall.
Hayward wound up being taken in the first round of the NBA draft.
This I feel will really boost the recruiting for Marquette and it is already showing its benefits. Crowder the JUCO recruit is in the mold of Hayward as a undersized PF, but Crowder grabbed over nine boards per game at Howard College.
With the success of Matthews and Hayward's high draft selection I expect Marquette's recruiting success to only continue, especially since Buzz Williams is a "southern" guy and should keep this recruiting success going.
What do you feel is Marquette's biggest reason for landing recruits from across the country? Let me know your thoughts and opinions.