We're all familiar with the work of CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein around these parts, right? He of the "So much [famous basketball player] in [current college basketball player]" tweets, not to mention his regular appearances on CBS Sports Network college basketball broadcasts.
Today, he was in Milwaukee, visiting with new Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski as the first full week of college basketball practice got underway. Here's what he had to share on his Twitter account:
It won't be this season, but Marquette's Luke Fischer will eventually develop into one of the best big men in the Big East. 6-11 + skilled.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 7, 2014
I'm going to presume that Rothstein means it won't be this season because Luke Fisher won't be able to get on the court for an official game until mid-December. Still, the minutes in the middle will be there for the Germantown native, so if he attacks things with vigor, sky's the limit.
Early prediction on Marquette's initial starting five --- Derrick Wilson, Matt Carlino, Jajuan Johnson, Deonte Burton, Steve Taylor...— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 7, 2014
Probably the same five I would have picked. Derrick gets the nod for Game #1 just because of experience and reliability in terms of knowing what we'll get from him. Carlino's the most prolific scorer on the team at this point, so he has to be seriously considered. Burton's a no-brainer, and Taylor's the biggest body. We can debate about Johnson, but he's probably the right choice.
Marquette needs multiple players to have breakout seasons to be a surprise Big East team. Likeliest candidates --- Johnson, Burton, Taylor.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 7, 2014
No arguments here.
Expect Matt Carlino to potentially challenge D'Angelo Harrison as one of the top scorers in the Big East. Should put up gaudy numbers.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 7, 2014
This I will argue with. Matt Carlino is a career .340 three-point shooter and his career high in effective field goal percentage is 48.3%. To put it in familiar context for Marquette fans, Todd Mayo shot .333 behind the arc last season and had an effective field goal percentage of 51.5%. Except Mayo took less than half as many threes as Carlino did, and about 60% as many two-pointers. Matt Carlino shoots A LOT, or at least he did at BYU, and to make it worse...
... he's kinda lousy at the rim, relative to the average player. Not saying he can't do it. Just saying it might not be fun to watch.
Marquette has named Derrick Wilson and Juan Anderson as captains for the 14-15 season, per Golden Eagles SID Scott Kuykendall.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 7, 2014
You'll get no argument from me here. Wilson and Anderson are the two most experienced college basketball players on the roster, having been to two NCAA tournaments, and advancing to the Sweet 16 as freshman and the Elite 8 as sophomores. Carlino has two NCAA appearances under his belt, but not the same winning experience, although BYU did make it to the semifinals of the NIT in his sophomore season. Yes, you can make critiques about their playing experience, but there's not a lot of actual NCAA regular season experience in a Marquette uniform anywhere else on the roster. Taylor is the only junior, and we all remember the frustration of not seeing Johnson, Burton, and John Dawson not playing last season.
This is the first Marquette team I can remember that doesn't have a clear cut alpha dog. Who steps into that role in 14-15? TBD.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 7, 2014
Last year wasn't a picnic either. I doubt you'll find anyone running to the front of the line to declare Jamil Wilson the alpha anything.
It would have been interesting to see Marquette's team last year with Duane Wilson. Still learning but has a chance to be a very capable PG.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 7, 2014
My guess at translation: I watched practice and Duane Wilson oscillated between looking like he belonged without a doubt and making freshman mistakes.
Which is pretty much exactly what I was expecting from Wilson this season.
The guy that's made an impression today for Marquette? Sandy Cohen. 6-6 freshman makes open shots and is a ball mover. Good "blend" player.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 7, 2014
I presume "blend" is a nice word for tweener? If Cohen's hitting shots, then sign me up for at least 15 minutes a night.
We'll wrap it up with some quotes from Wojciechowski that Rothstein passed along.
.@steve_wojo on Marquette "I think we have good kids. We just have to learn to play together. We're unproven."— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 7, 2014
.@steve_wojo on Matt Carlino "He's been great. It helps that he's got experience. He's serious about the game."— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 7, 2014
.@steve_wojo on Sandy Cohen "Once he adds strength, he's going to be a really good player in the Big East."— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 7, 2014
.@steve_wojo on the keys to Marquette's season "We need our seniors to set the tone and we need our young guys to step forward."— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 7, 2014
.@steve_wojo on Luke Fischer and Duane Wilson "I think those two guys are going to be good players, they just haven't proven it yet."— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 7, 2014
I get the impression that Wojo likes the team he has, but between this being his first season and only Derrick Wilson and Matt Carlino with experience playing more than 15 minutes every single night, it's hard to truly project where things are going to end up.
Sometimes the most obvious assessments are the correct ones.