Can you believe that there's only 16 days until Marquette men's basketball opens the season against Southern at the Bradley Center?
As such, it's our duty to provide you with a look at each of the players on the roster for the upcoming season and try to get a handle on what they might be able to contribute as Marquette looks to make it to their fourth consecutive Sweet 16 and second consecutive Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament. We'll look at the returning players in order of average minutes played for MU last year, and we'll tackle the four freshmen in alphabetical order by last name. Yes, that's completely arbitrary, but it also allows us to start with Deonte Burton.
Burton is one of two freshmen on the team that hails from the Milwaukee area. In his case, Burton attended Milwaukee Vincent High School for three years, with a one year stopover at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire for his sophomore year. While the 17.2 rebounds and 10.7 rebounds per game his senior year are outstanding and give you an idea as to his versatility, it's also important to look at his one year at Brewster. That team went 33-3 and has had eight players sign with Division 1 programs, so it was about as loaded as a high school team is going to get. Burton averaged six points a game with that team, so he's been through the experience of 1) not being the main man on the team and 2) not having to be the main man on the team before.
Burton comes in as a consensus top 100 recruit, ending up at 39th by ESPN.com, 51st by CBSSports.com, 52nd by Rivals.com and 54th by Scout.com in their final rankings. But it's not his national ranking that I want to mention. It's the fact that he's 6 foot, 4 inches tall and weighs in at 230 pounds and can dunk the basketball like this with that crazy frame:
He is the Big East's reckoning. He is BANE.
Minimum Expectation: Do something - ANYTHING - during the season that makes him worthy of the Bane nickname. As I wrote earlier this fall, newcomers do not perform statistically well under Buzz Williams, even if they do actually get a chance to play if they deserve it. While he is uniquely talented, I don't expect a breakthrough season from him. So I'll settle for merely being worth of his pre-season nickname.
In My Worst Nightmare: What else would it be? He gets hurt and never gets a chance to get into the rotation or he figures out that he actually doesn't like going to college in his hometown and decides to transfer. It's hard to pick something out for the freshmen as they have no collegiate baseline to measure against, so this is pretty much the worst possible angle for any freshman's season.
In My Wildest Dream: Burton's athleticism at his size allows him to defend against a variety of players both in and out of conference play and turns into a reliable switchable cog in Buzz's mad scientist machine. His flair for the flamboyant dunk leads his teammates to look for him on the break and he causes more timeouts than you can shake a stick at.