So after a day of witnessing one of fantasy football's biggest blunders of all time, I was in some dire need of good news. Cue our good friend STG. At approximately 6:41 EST on 10/18/09, STG was kind enough to inform all of us (via text message) that there is big news coming out of Marquette University today. To quote STG, "Merry fucking xmas vander blue committed to mu!".
That's right folks! After what has been a very interesting in-state saga, and likely fierce battle between in-state rivals UW-Madison and Marquette University, Vander Blue decided that Marquette was the right choice afterall.
To give a brief synapsis of the scenario, Vander Blue is a highly skilled and highly touted guard out of Madison Memorial High School in Madison, Wisconsin. Vander committed to UW early in his sophomore season, and has since then continued to improve his overall game at the perennial power house that is Madison Memorial. So much so that he is currently a consensus top 30 overall player in the nation for the class of 2010 and has garnered interest and scholarship offers from a large number of high major programs. According to recent reports, his most recent list of finalists for schools was UW, Marquette, Arizona, Florida, and UCLA. Well, in spite of his committment to UW, there were continuous rumours of an interest in Marquette.......which intensified when his good friend and Madison-Memorial teammate Jeronne Maymone (class of 2009) decided to committ to MU in May of '08. In April/May of '09, reports were claiming that this rumor may become a reality because Vander was considering re-opening his recruitment. Well, these rumors proved to be true because this past May Vander held a press conference stating exactly this, that he has decided to re-open his recruitment. Now we can all speculate why exactly this occurred, but it definitely WAS NOT due to the local fan reaction to the news (cough, ahem, cough).
Fast forward to Marquette Madness this past Friday (10/16/09). Vander Blue was on an official visit to Marquette University to attend Marquette Madness, scrimmage with MU's current roster, and essentially get an overall feel for the team, coaching staff, and campus life. To put it mildly, the message boards were running rampant with Vander Blue Mania. Rosiak reported that Vander was dressed head to toe in MU gear. Other fans in attendance claimed they talked to him after the event and said how Vander claimed he loved his visit to MU and really had his mind set on MU as his school of choice. All of this, of course, was to be taken with a grain of salt, but at the same time it was hard not to buy into all of the hype and get a little excited. After all, basketball season was officially underway and the signing period is just around the corner, so anticipation is part of the experience. These rumors intensified when Jamail Jones (class of 2010 committment) facebook status listed, "chillin, glad we got another committment for next year". The pieces were starting to come together. Finally, after all of the rumors and anticipation, one of the Urinal Sentinel's few quality beat writers, Todd Rosiak, reported that Vander Blue had canceled his official visit to UW over Halloween weekend and given his verbal committment to attend Marquette University in the fall of 2010.
I wasn't exactly optimistic about this possibilty. While it's not exactly unusual for a highly touted recruit to withdraw his early committment from a school, its highly unusual for that player to then give his committment to the in-state rival of his previous committment. That being said, I can only imagine how intense the game between UW and MU is going to be in 2011, when Vander makes his first visit to the Kohl Center. Wes got his during his freshman season, and I'm sure Jeronne will get his this year when they venture to Madison, but this is a special circumstance. Committed to UW, climbed the national rankings as a prospect, decommitted from UW, committed to in-state rival. Unreal!
Looking ahead, this is a HUGE get for the class of 2010 for a number of reasons. First of all, after all of the recent movement within the program, Coach Williams needed to add another quality piece to the '10 class. Specifically, he needed to add another PG. Sure MU has Junior Cadougan, who is supposed to be a quality player, but 1) who knows if he will return to form quickly enough after rupturing his achilles in September and 2) after Cadougan, MU doesn't have another "true" PG. So not only does Buzz address his need for depth at the PG position, but he also added a 5-star prospect to the class. Not many MU coaches can put that on their resume. Second of all, MU once again won the battle for the best player in the state (Buzz is 2-0 in his first two years). Madison Memorial is notorious for producing the state's best players over the past 5-7 years, and MU has now claimed 3 of the last 4. Quality D1 players are few and far between in the state of Wisconsin, and it's not exactly easy to bring Big East caliber players from out of state into the Midwest. That being said, it's crucial that MU can keep it's best players in state. If MU hopes to continue its success in the nation's best college basketball conference, this is a must.
If I remember correctly, MU still has 1 scholarship available for the class of 2010. With the recent additions of Jamail Jones and now Vander Blue, Coach Williams is in great position to follow up this year's nationally ranked class with another ranked class in '10. Marquette is a finalist for a handful of top100 prospects, so an addition of any one of these would assure a nationally ranked class. With the addition of Vander, I imagine it's going to be tough to get another guard (ie. Justin Coleman, 6'5" SG). Ideally, MU could use a true power forward/center (Tariq Black), but I wouldn't be surprised if Buzz continues the trend and grabs another 6'5"-6'7" wing player. Regardless of what happens with the next commitment, I think it's safe to say that Buzz is definitely holding his own as Head Coach of a major D1 basketball school. Sure we don't have a good grasp of how he is as a teacher and game manager, but half the battle (if not more) is getting the players, and I think he's exceeding all expectations thus far.
Bring on Haunted Hoops!
Ring Out Ahoya!