Season Preview - Marquette Golden Eagles
School: Marquette University
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mascot: Golden Eagle
Conference: Big East
2004/2005 Record: 19-12(7-9 in Conference USA)
Overview: The Marquette Golden Eagles are coming off a very disappointing 2004-2005 campaign. After winning 14 of their first 16 games last season, Marquette struggled down the stretch and finished the season 5-10 in their last 15 games. The 2003 final four appearance seems like a long time ago and head coach Tom Crean (entering his seventh season at Marquette)would like to put the past two seasons behind him. Marquette will return six players from last season's roster and will bring in one of the best freshman classes in the nation. Marquette does have a young team this season, but they should be able to make some noise in the Big East this year.
Frontcourt: Marquette's frontcourt will be led by senior forward Steve Novak (13.5 PTS, 4.1 REB, 46% 3PT). Novak will definitely be the go to guy for Marquette this season and is a matchup nightmare for any team because of his size (6-10) and his ability to hit the long range jumper. In his three years at Marquette, Novak has become one of the best and most accurate three point shooters in college basketball. Novak is not necessarily a guy that will do a lot of dirty work inside, but he is still able to get to the basket. Also, Novak is a great free throw shooter and hit 90% from the line last season. To go along with Novak in the frontcourt is sophomore forward Dan Fitzgerald (6-9 205 pounds). Fitzgerald, a transfer from Tulane, has a good face up jumper and is a strong ball handler for his size. Fitzgerald is a good rebounder and is a hard worker inside. Sophomore forward Ryan Amoroso (6PTS, 3.6 REB) is a strong shooter from three point range and has a good inside game. Amoroso does need to improve on his rebounding if he wants to get more minutes. Sophomore forward Ousmane Barro (6-10 235 pounds) will help off the bench and is a very good rebounder and shot blocker. Mike Kinsella (7-0 245 pounds) and Chris Grimm (6-10 245 pounds) give Marquette two options they could go to if they want a bigger lineup on the floor. Junior College transfer Jamil Lott (6-7 225 pounds) will give Marquette an athletic wing off the bench.
Backcourt: The loss of All-American guard Travis Diener will certainly hurt the backcourt, but the Golden Eagles will be counting on highly regarded freshman guard Dominic James to pick up some of the slack. James, runner-up Mr. Basketball in Indiana, is a extremely quick and athletic guard. With his quickness, James is very good at getting to the basket and finishing. James (5-10 165 pounds) is also a powerful guard who is regarded as a lock down defender. To go along with James in the backcourt is senior guard Joe Chapman (8.1 PTS, 2 REB). Chapman was forced to play out of position last season when he had to replace Travis Diener at the point and really struggled. Chapman will be back at wing this season, but has to improve on his poor shooting numbers of a year ago (39%FG, 32% 3PT). Two other freshman guards sure to make impacts this season will be Chicago Native Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews. McNeal (6-3 185 pounds) is widely regarded as a very tough defender on the floor. McNeal also possesses a strong outside shot and can play either guard spots for Marquette. Wesley Matthews (6-5 200 pounds), Mr. Basketball in Wisconsin last season, has great size for a guard and is very versatile. Matthews is a very good defender and will help the Golden Eagles very much with his ability to score.