Quick, Random Preseason Thoughts on Marquette

State of the Program

The team needed shooting and scorers. The staff added it. Juniors Sam Hauser and Markus Howard are both sensational shooters, but there are several others capable of having exceptional shooting seasons.

The team needed length and athleticism. The staff added it. We saw an influx last year with Jamal Cain and Greg Elliott. This year you add in 21-year old freshman Brendan Bailey and there are numerous options for guarding long wings.

The team needed physicality and strength. The staff added it. Theo John arrived on campus a year ago as a full-grown man. He’s an imposing force in and around the paint and should improve as he begins his sophomore year. Nebraska transfer Ed Morrow brings more toughness and the ability to defend, rebound and get mean inside.

The team needed help defensively and at the point guard position. The staff added it. Grad transfer Joseph Chartouny is a willing distributor and among the best thieves on the court in college basketball.

With numerous challenging games (more than half of MU’s regular season games will be against teams in or receiving votes in the preseason AP top 25), we see the season playing out in one of two ways.

The Warriors could pick up a few losses to very good teams early on, delaying their recognition by the masses and having some fans expressing needless concern. In this scenario, we still believe by the end of the regular season MU will be set for a strong postseason run and will be seen as a dangerous and “underrated” team heading into the tournament.

The other scenario is that Marquette wins most of its challenging games early on (at least 1 of 2 in New York, at Indiana, plus handling business against the likes of K-State and uw-madison) and garners a lot of attention early on en route to a glorious season.

Marquette’s roster construction is excellent. They are setup for great seasons in 2018-19 as well as 2019-20 (remember, bucket-getting point guard Koby McEwen is practicing with the team this year).

Markus Howard

After shooting an incredible 54.7% from 3-point range as a freshman, we projected his 3FG% to decline as a sophomore. The drop was significant – down to 40.4% – which is still a strong percentage. The good news is that he has a much favorable comp heading into his junior campaign and we believe he can elevate his 3FG% into the mid-40%’s or higher.

There are two other areas where we believe Markus can make meaningful improvements. The first is defense. We don’t anticipate him becoming an elite lockdown defender, but we should see solid progression in this area.

The second is getting to the line. His brother Jordan (at Central Arkansas) continued to improve each year at drawing fouls and getting to the free throw stripe, and we believe this is a year where Markus can make a nice jump. Much of the improvement will come from Howard being a relentless worker, but he may also get an edge from being viewed as a respected, veteran star in the Big East by referees instead of a young, undersized guard.

Joey Hauser

The only thing that could hold Joey back is the injury bug. As we discussed a year ago (http://latenighthoops.com/joey-hauser-advanced-stats-adidas-uprising/#.W-BsAEtKgb4), from 2014 through 2017, two adidas Uprising players posted an Offensive Rating of more than 125, a usage rate of more than 25% and played at least 200 minutes? Joey Hauser is one and the other is Romeo Langford, the heralded Indiana freshman who Marquette fans will see on November 14.

Having watched Joey for several years, we’re complete believers. If he stays healthy, he will make a big, positive mark on Marquette. There are a lot of similarities between him and Henry Ellenson, but also between him and his brother Sam. The major difference between Joey and Sam will be seen in usage – as a freshman, Sam was mostly a spot up shooter (though capable of much, much more) who had a usage of just 13.6%. We expect Joey’s to be one of the highest on the team and he should be near or more than 10% incremental as compared to Sam’s freshman year comp.

Sam Hauser

Sam increased his usage to 18.1% and his %Shots surpassed the 20% mark in 2017-18. Meanwhile, his ORtg ticked up to 130.4, 11th best in the nation per KenPom.com. We’d love to see his %Shots increase to somewhere in the 22-24% ballpark and with hip surgery behind him, he could have a monster season.

Joseph Chartouny

Joseph can be a difference maker in moving Marquette’s defense from “miserable” to at least “somewhat respectable”. His size, IQ and willingness as a distributor should all be helpful, but a question mark is his ability to knock down open shots.

Last season he shot just 40/141 from deep for 28.4%, but in the prior year he hit on 37.9% of his attempts (50/132). Certainly the cast of characters around Chartouny should be helpful in terms of him getting good looks. The team doesn’t need him to be a significant scorer, but if he’s able to make teams pay for leaving him with space it’ll be a nice bonus to the squad.

Sacar Anim

Sacar can be aggressive and explosive; he’s a guy who will likely have a few big nights, but a number of lower production nights offensively. That’s fine. This team is loaded with offensive weapons. If Anim can be consistent defensively and comes through offensively when needed, he’ll have done his job.

Theo John

We projected Theo’s freshman year block % to be 7.0%, and he came through at 7.1%. A repeat in that figure would be great. We’d like to see a modest uptick in his rebounding percentages, and meaningful declines in both his turnover rate (27.7%) and FC/40 (8.5). The offense will be a slower progression and with this roster, that is perfectly fine. A little cleanup on turnovers and fouls, with consistent physical defensive play and all will be good.

Matt Heldt

His 138.2 ORtg reflects Heldt not pushing it – he’s there for dump offs and put backs, while keeping his turnover rate at a solid, respectable level. That works just fine for this team, but we want to see him knock down at least one trey this year.

Jamal Cain

Jamal is one of several guys who will be fighting for minutes; he’ll be able to influence his minutes by how well he is playing, but there is a lot of competition. A year ago he posted an ORtg of 101.8% on 14.8% usage, benefitting from great shooting (59.0% eFG% which was helped by an impressive 47.3% 3FG% (26/55)).

The shooting numbers will be difficult to repeat, but there’s plenty of room to improve on turnovers (24.4% turnover rate). Cain, at a minimum, needs to continue to work the d-boards (17.9% DR%), get steals and blocks and play solid defense. If he can continue his strong shooting while chopping off 7 to 8% on his turnover rate, his numbers will be looking excellent.

Greg Elliott

We’ll see how his thumb heals up, but it would be tough to not play him this season if he’s ready to go by mid-December. The team has tremendous depth, but because of Greg’s length and demonstrated ability to get steals (2.7% stl%) and blocks (4.0 blk%), and defend perimeter players, we expect to see him making an impact on the court once healthy.

Ed Morrow

Ed is only 6’7”, but can play a very physical brand of basketball. A combination of Ed and Theo on the court would make the paint a painful place to play for opposing offenses. As a sophomore at Nebraska, his OR% (14.3%) and DR% (20.6%) were both strong, as was his blk% (5.0%) while keeping FD/40 within reason (4.9).

Ed’s turnover rate came down to 20.7% after 26.8% as a freshman and we’d like to see him chip away at that figure this season.

He’s not going to be a Jordan Murphy double-double machine, but he’s capable of flirting with double digit points and rebounds on many nights, while also making a difference on defense.

Morrow addresses a need for Marquette and is a key addition.

Brendan Bailey

Was solid in travel basketball play as a rising senior, but that was several years ago. Bailey is one of several wild cards that could push Marquette from goodness to greatness. His size and versatility are a welcomed addition.

Ike Eke

Health may still be an issue. With the depth on the roster, even a healthy Eke may have a tough time finding minutes. That said, there’s no doubting his physical attributes.

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