While I won't be able to enjoy it like most of the crew here, it's a pretty exciting day in the world of Marquette basketball! The season opener against Houston Baptist tonight, the beginning of the Buzz Williams era, and the potential to add to an already heralded recruiting class that is arguably the best class in MU's history. So here are a few thoughts:
1. While it's too early to grade Buzz Williams' success as a Big East coach, I don't think you can really ask for any more than he has already done. Buzz, like Tom Crean, was pegged as a great recruiter and he already has proved his competence in that area. This is his first class, but I will go out on a limb and say that he is a better recruiter than Crean. He not only has brought in highly ranked prospects, but he has pulled them out of damn near the four corners of the country, and while doing so has concentrated on our own state as well. Furthermore, he has voiced the necessity to have a well balanced squad and has proven so by having a recruiting class that could essentially play 5 positions.....legitimately.
2. Buzz has really provided a breath of fresh air after nearly a decade with Tom Crean. Sure we all loved Tan Tommy and what he brought to the program, but we all know that he didn't always represent the program with the school/students/and alumni first and foremost on his mind. And in all honesty, he seemed to hurt Marquette's public image within the state and specifically in the Milwaukee area due to his arrogance and aloofness. To make things worse, it sounds as if Tom was quite the Diva behind closed doors at Marquette. So looking back, while we all seemed to panic on that day in early April, I think it's for the better. As I referenced the breath of fresh air earlier, from what I've seen already, he seems to be very humble, down to earth, and overly appreciative of the opportunity that Marquette has given him. He also seems to be in the public eye much more by doing a large amount of interviews for local TV and radio stations. So overall it seems that not only will Buzz maintain the level of success that Crean has initiated, but he will also improve the overall image of Marquette basketball which will hopefully lead to more support in the Milwaukee area. I mean, how awesome is the Bradley Center atmosphere when games are sold out! It would be outstanding if we could get to a point where the Bradley Center is sold out year round to season ticket holders.
3. First game on what looks to be another exciting FINAL year for the "3 amigos". It's been fun watching the 3 of them grow as ballplayers and further Marquette's success as a basketball program. So the big question that remains is, can they take us to that next level in the tourney as the likes of Wade, Diener, and Novak did? I personally think they can.
4. Big day in the recruiting world as a number of big time recruits are planning on committing today......some of which on ESPNU @4pm EST.
Michael Snaer - I think we have the worst odds in this case. I think the MGM Grand has us at 10:1. Kansas is the likely leader with Florida St. right behind them. Prediction: Florida St. He just looks like a Florida St. guy (Although, he would fit perfectly into our lineup next year). In all, Snaer is THE GUY we want. That class would be absolutely sick!
Jamil Wilson - Prediction: Michigan St. I think that all along his parents and partially himself wanted to committ to Marquette. Afterall, most competitive conference, lots of nationally televised games, good program, and best of all.....it's 30 minutes from home so family could follow his career. However, I think that once the "bigger" programs started sniffing around they became enticed and decided to string out the committment in hopes of that North Carolina type offer. Well, here we sit, Marquette has a full committment and therefore no scholarship to offer at this point so Buzz withdraws his offer. Uh Ohh! Sorry pal, too late I guess. While it never hurts to have too much talent, I personally don't think that we need another 6'7" SF/PF type guy. I'd love to have him, but at this point I'm hoping for a SG that can shoot the 3 and defend. While we have all of this size and athleticism coming in, I still think that we are lacking that sharp shooter that can put the nail in the coffin.
So, my prediction is that we do eventually land another SG for the class of '09. While I'm not quite sure how that will shake out in the end with the scholarships, I'm pretty sure it's going to happen. I'm putting my money on Sherrod Wright.
That is all. Enjoy the game tonight! Lets get a W, but more importantly lets get out of there without any injuries.