With the 2014-2015 season now in the books, we take a moment to look back at the performance that each member of YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles this year. While we're at it, we'll also take a look back at our player previews and see how our preseason prognostications stack up with how things actually played out. We'll run through roster in order of total minutes played (lowest to highest), and that means we start with MU's lone true freshman, Sandy Cohen.
#5 - Freshman - 6'6" - 180 lb.
What I Think We'll See
Given the current constitution of the roster, I think we're going to see a lot more of Sandy Cohen that we expected to see 7 months ago. With just nine active players between now and December 15, Marquette will need contributions from every member of the team, and that includes Cohen. At 6'6", Cohen's in a tie for the third tallest guy on the team right now, and until Luke Fischer is cleared to play, Cohen and Juan Anderson are the second tallest guys on the team. I don't know if Cohen's physically able to withstand the defense required to defend guys like Tennessee-Martin's Myles Taylor (6'7", 250 lb.) at this point in his development, but anything he can contribute to guarding anyone on the floor is going to be welcome.
Scoring is almost secondary of importance to what Cohen can add at this point. With Deonte Burton and Matt Carlino, not to mention guys like Duane Wilson and Jajuan Johnson who have to be ready to explode to show what they can do, Wojo's not going to be calling Cohen's number on offense all that much. But with the pressing defense that Wojciechowski wants to deploy, minutes from Cohen to keep everyone fresh are going to be important.
What I Want To See
Over the summer, I recapped episodes of the first season of The O.C., because of the name shared by both the freshman basketball player and Seth Cohen's dad. The long term point was to actually watch the show to build up a storage of jokes and references about Sandy Cohen, because, really, you can't let an opportunity like that go past you. While there were a few things that you could stretch to make them relate to basketball, there was one thing that came up that isn't a stretch: Yoga-lates.
It was some weird, perverse combination of yoga and Pilates that Kirsten Cohen was subjecting herself to, and Sandy spent an entire cold open of an episode saying it over and over because he found it funny. Thus, much like and "Bane" last year, all I want to see this year from the Sandy Cohen in blue and gold is the opportunity to make "YOGALATES!" a recurring gag on Twitter and in the comment section of our Game Threads. Defense, great hustle plays, alley-oop dunks, one handed monster jams, cold hearted three pointers with a hand in his face, ANYTHING.
What I Don't Want To See
Really, it's just the opposite of what I think that we will see. Let me explain it this way: Think of three words to describe Juan Anderson's physical appearance. You used "lanky," or "thin," or "slim," or something similar, right? According to the official MU roster, Anderson and Cohen are the same height, but Anderson outweighs Cohen by THIRTY-FIVE POUNDS, 215 to 180. It's completely within the realm of possibility that Cohen's slight frame at this point in his physical development isn't up to the task of defending guys with a significant weight advantage on him, and he's relegated to second or third string minutes at guard or wing while Marquette is already pretty deep at those positions. I want to see him succeed at contributing, mind you, I don't want to see him languishing on the bench on a team that doesn't have the depth to allow a guy to languish on the bench.
It was a bit of a weird year for Sandy Cohen. At the beginning of the season, he was one of Steve Wojciechowski's five starters, as he scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds in his Golden Eagles debut. However, following the loss to Nebraska-Omaha, Wojo came to a realization about MU's overall team defense, and that left Cohen out in the cold. He went from playing 20 minutes a game to struggling to get on the court at all, only breaking double digits in minutes played four times over Marquette's next nine games. This culminated in Marquette's 61-58 loss to DePaul to open Big East play when Cohen didn't get on the court at all.
For the rest of the season, Cohen became a regular rotation player for Marquette. You might say to yourself, "Well, of course he did, Wojo only had 8 guys." Except in the very first game with eight guys, Cohen only played 3 minutes, and that DePaul game was game #5 of the 8 Player Era. Whether a light went on for Cohen or Wojo figured out how to mask his *ahem* lesser attributes, it resulted in a lot of playing time in Big East games for the freshman from Seymour. In fact, Cohen even ended up back in the starting lineup for four games, although that largely had more to do with both Matt Carlino and Juan Anderson being out with injuries.
With Anderson and Carlino back in the starting lineup, Cohen returned to the bench for the season finale against DePaul and went all the way back to his little used status. He played just six minutes against DePaul, and even more shockingly, played just one minute as Marquette blew the doors off of Seton Hall in the first round of the Big East Tournament. Did a heavy minute load for everyone else in a blow out have an negative impact on the Golden Eagles 12 hours later when they got slammed by Villanova? Probably not. But it would have been nice to see a few more minutes for Cohen in a game that was clearly in hand.
Here's what we learned about Sandy Cohen this season: He showed promise as a three point shooter, finishing the year at 33% from long range. His defensive rebounding was pretty good for a guy who is still developing the size and strength to compete at this level. His ability to keep track of the ball falls somewhere between Matt Carlino and Jajuan Johnson, so we'll file that as "work in progress." He shows good instincts at shot blocking and steals for a guy of his size. He's a little prone to committing fouls, but that's something that can improve after a full summer in the McGuire Center. He didn't get to the line all that much, but his offensive contribution was heavily tilted towards shooting open three pointers, so we'll let that slide.
Best Game: Hard not to go with the win at home against Providence. It may have been the high point of the year for the Golden Eagles, as it goes in the books as the only top 50 KenPom win of the season, and it was the high point of Cohen's scoring for the season. He knocked in 12 points while sinking all six shots he attempted, with two each from the 1, 2, and 3 point categories. Cohen added a rebound and two assists in 12 minutes and, according to KenPom, finished with a ridiculous single game offensive rating of 234. From that kind of performance, you can kind of see how KenPom's algorithms compare Cohen's rookie campaign to the freshman year that Darrun Hilliard assembled for Villanova.
Season Grade, on a scale of 1-10: Sandy Cohen in the starting lineup for seven games? That's way more than I expected to see of him this season. Relegated to bench status for a large swath of the season as Wojo figured out how to best deploy him? Kind of saw that coming, unfortunately. Regular outbursts of YOGALATES as a result of something nifty that Cohen did? Nope. I think I used it once for a three pointer that Sandy buried early on in the season, possibly against Morgan State when he went 3-4 from distance. It was a pretty uneventful year for Marquette's true freshman, but I can't hold that against him, really. I'll give Cohen a 5. He got his chances and that meant he was trying his best to do what Wojo wanted from him. It just didn't result in anything particularly memorable.