Our player preview series ends with the young man who plays the most important position on the floor, senior point guard Junior Cadougan.
I'm of two minds about Junior Cadougan.
On the one hand, I think it's arguable that, after two up and down years to begin his Marquette career (due to injury, inexperience, etc), Cadougan was one of the most valuable players for MU last season. Jae Crowder was phenomenal, of course, and being able to count on DJO for 15 points per was terrific, but steady play at the point guard position is a huge benefit to a college team. And despite the fact that Junior shot just 38.4% from the field, and wasn't great from three point range (23.7%), and sometimes got the yips from the free throw line, he was, for the most part, steady. He handed out 5.4 assists per game and averaged 2.6 turnovers per contest, for a respectable 2.03 assist-to-turnover ratio. You could count on him for 30 minutes a game. He played exceptionally well in wins vs. Pitt (35 minutes, 6 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals), at Providence (10 assists in 30 minutes), and at UConn (5 points, 2 rebounds, 8 assists in 34 minutes). He was, by and large, the complementary piece that a team with stallions like Jae and DJO needed.
And yet, at the same time: there were times when Junior was really, really bad. Like: probably-cost-his-team-the-game bad, and at really inopportune times -- witness his eight-turnover disaster against Louisville in Marquette's first game in the Big East Tournament, when Peyton Siva abused him for 30 minutes, or his 21-minute dud against Florida in the Sweet Sixteen, when he went 0-5 from the field, 0-2 from the line, and nearly fouled out in the first half. Throw in his two suspensions -- the first of which came in what probably qualifies as the best win of the year, when Marquette beat the Badgers in Madison -- and you've got an argument that Junior wasn't that valuable after all.
Maybe "valuable" is the wrong word, then. Maybe it's more accurate to say that Cadougan was one of the most pivotal players for MU in 2011-'12: when he was good, he helped a lot (and often in ways that don't show up in the box score). When he was bad, though, it was very difficult for Marquette to win.
Minimum Expectations: Which brings us to what we can expect/hope for/fear from Junior in his senior season. With two-and-a-half seasons under his belt (related: the decision to burn his redshirt in late January of his freshman year still confounds me to this day), he's going to be asked to be one of the leaders of the team -- not in terms of scoring, in all likelihood, but in terms of being where he's supposed to be when he's supposed to be there and making sure everyone else is, too. In terms of numbers, let's set the floor at his stats from last season: 6 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds per.
Oh, and yeah: no suspensions, either.
In My Wildest Dreams: Junior doesn't have a game with more than four turnovers, shoots 80% from the line, and schools George Marshall so badly in the game against Wisconsin that Marshall goes the Ian Markolf route: loses his passion for basketball, quits the team, ends up transferring to a Division 2 school.
In My Worst Nightmare: I've already written more than I wanted to about the Louisville game in the BET last year. Suffice it to say, w/r/t the Nightmare Scenario: too much of that.