Jae Crowder and his dreds made their debut at Marquette Madness 2010. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Holy crap! Is it October 14th already? Where has the time gone??
I don't know about everyone else, but Marquette Madness has kind of snuck up on me this year. I'm sure that has everything to do with the fact that the Milwaukee Brewers are still playing baseball games. In a normal year the Brew Crew would have been done playing meaningful games by about mid-July, and we would have been pining for Madness for months by this time. So, maybe this isn't the average year. But don't think for a second that I'm not pumped up for tonight's official kick-off to the college hoops season.
I always love Madness. I love Marquette Madness. I loved Midnight Madness. I even loved 9:30 Madness, or whatever the hell it was called during the Mike Deane era. Whatever it's called, whatever time it's held, I always enjoy this event. It's the first officially sanctioned look at the new team and the first taste of basketball action for the new season. I'm geeked. Here are just a few of the items that I look forward to seeing at The Al tonight:
- The new blood in action. Now I know the whole summer league thing takes a little bit of the mystery out of getting to see the new kids on the block for the first time. But this is the first time we'll see the likes of Juan Anderson, Derrick Wilson, Todd Mayo and even Jake Thomas don the blue and gold. It's also the first time we get to watch them in action with the rest of their team mates, which is always fun.
- You can learn a thing or two. Last year after Madness we concluded that: Davante Gardner looks like he has good ball skills for a big man (check). We were going to be counting heavily on Dwight Buycks (check). JFB was going to be the man (check, though that one wasn't tough to call). Jae Crowder has awesome dreds (check). And that Junior Cadougan was going to emerge in 2010-11 (check). So if you're thinking there's nothing that can be discerned from this first official practice of the year, think again.
- A dunk contest without Joe Fulce. Actually, I don't know that I'd say I'm looking forward to that part, but it will be interesting. Fulce, of course, won this thing every year he was at Marquette. Everyone else was pretty much playing for 2nd place. In the interest of full disclosure it should be noted that we here at Anonymous Eagle have always been very fond of Joe Fulce, and once voted him more awesome than a velociraptor. I personally hope that, if his knees are up to it, Joe finds the time to make a cameo appearance at Madness and steals the dunk contest title. If that doesn't happen, who is the smart money on tonight?
- Speaking of cameos... You may have heard that the fine folks that run the NBA have themselves a wee bit of a labor issue at the moment. That means the former Golden Eagles that play in that fine league have an abnormal amount of free time on their hands this year. Hopefully that means that more than a few of those guys will be stopping by the alma mater tonight. I don't know if #BringWadetoMadness ever gained any traction, but I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for the likes of Wes Matthews, Jimmy Butler, and maybe Steve Novak. (Too bad Courtney Weibel isn't still on the women's squad, because I'd pay to watch a 3-point shoot out between her and Novak after the clinic she put on at last year's Madness).
- And (killer segue) why do you love to have your NBA guys come back to campus for an event like this? Because it helps impress the recruits. And according to cbssports.com's Jeff Borzello (and other Twitter sources) Marquette is going to have a house full of 'em tomorrow. All of the 2012 commits - TJ Taylor, Jamal Ferguson and Steve Taylor - will be on hand. The only other 2012 prospect that will be in attendance is Phillip Nolan. The class of 2013 will be well represented with Duane Wilson (Dominican HS), Monte Morris (Flint, MI), Juwan Parker (Tulsa, OK) and Toby Hegner (Berlin, WI) all on hand. Even some youngsters will be stopping by in 2014 recruits Kevon Looney (Milwaukee Hamilton),
Jaquan Lyle (Evansville, IN)and 2015's Diamond Stone (Tosa East), Dennis Williams and Charles Matthews (Chicago, IL). I have also read that 2013 commit and Milwaukee native Deonte Burton may be in town for the festivities. So, in case you're wondering, yeah that's a lot of recruits in the house tonight.
- While we're on the subject, the good folks at the compliance office want to remind you
So be discreet in what your sign says. Mentioning specific recruits by name is strictly verboten. However, if your sign simply informs any prospective fellow student of the awesomeness of Marquette University, I think that would be just fine. Just don't get us put on probation.
Hopefully everyone else is just as jacked up for tonight as I am. I highly recommend that everyone take an evening off from pennant fever and come on out to The Al tonight. Let the team know that you're just as fired up for this coming season as they are. Festivities begin at 7:00, we will see you there!