The 2016-17 college basketball season is right around the corner, so let's get into the Marquette basketball roster and take a look at what to expect from each player this season. We'll be going through the players one by one: First the freshmen, moving on to the two transfer players, and then wrapping up with the returning players, going in order of average minutes played per game last season.
We’re going to organize our thoughts about the upcoming season as it relates to each player into categories:
- Reasonable Expectations
- Why You Should Get Excited
- Potential Pitfalls
With that out of the way, today’s preview is the first for one of Marquette’s major contributors last season......
Sandy Cohen III
Junior - #5 - Forward - 6’6” - 200 lb.
Usually we go with a bit of preamble about the player here, but Cohen presents an interesting case that kind of affects what expectations are for him, so let’s just jump right in here.....
I have no idea what to reasonably expect from Sandy Cohen. None. If you look at his stat lines on his official Marquette roster page, you might think you see a guy who is slowly turning into a quality contributor on a high major Division 1 team, and you’d be mostly right.
The problem with just looking at Cohen’s year to year growth is that it doesn’t come anywhere near to giving you a full picture of what he’s been up to, namely it doesn’t show his second half slowdowns. Last season, for the second year in a row, Cohen got out of the gate hot. 28 minutes a game, nine points, four rebounds, shot 42% from long range. I’d take those averages for this season in a second, less than a second, even. Three shakes of a lamb’s tail.
However, that was just his numbers before league play started. In Big East action, Cohen dropped down to 20 minutes a game, including a one game suspension for a violation of team rules. His points dipped down to just five a game, plus three rebounds and he shot a horrifyingly bad 25% on three-point attempts. DO NOT WANT.
I don’t know what to expect from him. Really, all I want to see is consistency. Preferably the good kind.
Why You Should Get Excited
Well, it’s probably going to be hard to tune up your thrill-o-meter after those last few paragraphs, huh?
I have two things that leave me on the optimistic end of things for Cohen. First and foremost is this: Head coach Steve Wojciechowski seems to like him. From Day 1, Wojo saw something in Cohen that he liked. You don’t throw your only true freshman into the starting lineup on your first day ever as a head coach if you don’t see something that you like. Wojo keeps going back to Cohen in the starting lineup, first for all of the games on the European trip last summer, then 15 times in the middle of last season, even if he ultimately ends up having to go in a different direction eventually. Even coming off the bench last season, Wojo kept giving Cohen minutes even if his shot wasn’t falling. Having the trust and faith of the head coach can sometimes go a long way.
The other thing that makes me optimistic is that Cohen might be the most athletic guy on the entire team. No one is going to confuse what happened in the dunk contest at Marquette Madness as a good thing. Sacar Anim and Markus Howard were spectacular failures in their attempts to throw it down. However, the same can not be said for Cohen. He buried both of his dunk attempts in reasonably simple and easy fashion.
The takeaway here is that those were the three guys that the team picked out as the best possible showmen in a dunk contest..... and only one of them - Cohen - actually delivered. If Cohen can translate that into productive minutes on the court, I think we could see something very special from him this year.
Sandy Cohen has been on the roster for four games against DePaul in his collegiate career. He has played a grand total — that’s right, total — of 18 minutes. What is it about the Blue Demons that makes Wojo keep Cohen nailed to the bench relative to the rest of the season? Operating under the previously stated idea of “Wojo likes him as a player,” why doesn’t he trust him against DePaul? It’s been two games each against two different head coaches, so it’s not a case of system match-ups or opportunities.
This bothers me more than it probably should, to be honest. But when you’re looking at a player that’s gone through slowdowns in the back half of the schedule in both of his years with the team, you can’t help but wonder if Cohen’s difficulties getting playing time against DePaul are somehow indicative of some kind of larger issue that could hold him back this season.