On the first day of classes back in August, Marquette had 12 players on scholarship, and two recruits with a verbal commitment. By the time the fall signing period started in November, Marquette was down to 11 players, but up to four signed recruits. Now, in February, it's nine scholarship athletes with only eight active and seven available because of injury, and after Nick Noskowiak's release on Friday night, there are just three recruits signed to start in the fall of 2015.
It's a lot to take in.
So, let's start with the simple stuff. Here's how Marquette's roster looks for November 2015 as of Wednesday, February 18.
|Steve Taylor, Jr.||Senior|
|Wally Ellenson||Redshirt Junior|
Sandy Cohen III
|Duane Wilson||Redshirt Sophomore|
Three things should jump out at you.
- There's only one senior next year.
- Other than that, the classes are pretty well balanced.
- That's a lot of open scholarships.
You want to see the classes as balanced as possible. Three or four guys graduating every year is completely reasonable and easy enough to recruit to replace. Where you get into problems is through transfers and so forth where the classes get unbalanced. Taking on a seven person freshman class is nearly impossible to pull off well. I mean, think about bringing in the entire roster from the last three Marquette games all at once and expect them to all be happy with their place on the roster immediately. On top of that, you get the issue of losing all of those recruits all at the same time four years later, and then you're just in a nasty cycle of roster decimation.
So we have four open scholarships, and it's really likely that Wojo isn't looking to bring in four more freshmen in addition to the three guys who are already signed. So how might Marquette fill the roster for next season? Let's look at the possibilities in what I think is the preferential order.
1. Graduate Transfer
In Trent Lockett and Matt Carlino, Marquette has had a lot of success bringing in transfers who completed a degree at another school but still have a year of eligibility to use. With just one senior on next year's roster, adding a player who will be around for just one season makes a lot of sense. It will help balance the classes out, and it will (theoretically) add veteran leadership to a team in desperate need of it. A guy like Trent Lockett would be perfect, as Marquette probably doesn't need a dynamic scorer between what will be expected of Duane Wilson and Henry Ellenson.
The problem here is that I have no idea who might occupy this spot. Anyone who's a redshirt junior right now is a possible candidate, but they're not guarantees to finish their degrees this year. If someone else was picking up the tab on your entire college education and they were happy with you sticking around college for one more year, wouldn't you take one fewer class per semester and finish in five years? There might even be a traditional junior or two that manage to finish in three years, so those guys would be eligible as well. We probably won't have any idea as to who is available until May.
2. Junior College Players
Upside: They come in with a bit of experience past high school, so they're a little more ready to contribute to the team immediately. Downside: Marquette doesn't really need to add people to their sophomore or junior classes. I guess the preferential choice would be a guy who had the grades to get into an NCAA D1 school coming out of high school and can jump to Marquette as a sophomore, much like Darius Johnson-Odom and Jimmy Butler.
3. Traditional Transfers
These are guys who would be looking for a new home for whatever reason after the end of the season. They'd be able to practice with Marquette next season, but they wouldn't be able to play per NCAA transfer restrictions. As is the case with graduate transfers, we won't have any idea who might be available until May. Until then, there's no reason to spend a lot of time thinking about who *might* be looking to transfer. With that said, if Harry Giles or Josh Jackson have an older brother playing college ball right now, then let's fire up the ice cream truck.
4. High School Seniors
Steve Wojciechowski has said repeatedly that he wants guys at Marquette who want to be at Marquette to succeed. He's not going to just start snapping up available high school guys just because.
With that said, there's been a run of predictions for Sacar Anim going to Marquette on 247 Sports, including those from Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook's Mark Miller, 247 Sports' Director of Scouting Jerry Meyer, and Badgers 247's Evan Flood. That seems like a pretty solid likelihood, if that makes sense. Other than that, 247 doesn't have a lot of info on possibilities. A careful perusal of who Wojo might exchange a DM or seven with on Twitter indicates that he might be interested in Traci Carter (6'/165 lb), and Adam Zagoria reports that MU has offered him a scholarship in the last two weeks. Of course, included in that list is also Stevens Point Pacelli senior James Gollon, who committed to Ohio University a couple of days ago.