The 2017-18 college basketball season is quickly approaching, and thus, we turn our attention to previewing the upcoming Marquette Golden Eagles men’s basketball season.
As you may have noticed, we’ve got a few new voices here on the site since the school year started. We’re going to take advantage of that and do something new for the season preview. We’ve got a stacked up list of questions about the 2017-18 campaign, and each of the new contributors to AE are going to take a crack at answering them. There will be a new question every weekday afternoon between now and the start of the season, so be sure to stop back every day to find the new one.
Onwards, then, to the question of the day:
Who will lead Marquette in assists?
For context purposes, Markus Howard (2.3 assists per game), Andrew Rowsey (2.3), and Haanif Cheatham (2.2) are Marquette’s three top assist men from last season that are returning in 2017-18.
Ben Snider: I’ll go with Andrew Rowsey. I think he’ll be the one taking it up the floor the most since he has a more proven history of avoiding turnovers. Sidenote: I think the most important role will be who head coach Steve Wojciechowski trusts to take the ball up in late game situations when Marquette is only up by a possession or two. Remember how many times the offense would completely bug out when they thought that taking time off the clock and scoring points were mutually exclusive? Katin Reinhardt ended up being the guy who the staff turned to when they needed to avoid turnovers while running out the clock and still maintaining efficiency. I think Rowsey takes that role as a senior in addition to the primary assist guy.
Pistol Brad: Markus Howard will be your assists leader this season. I know he is not a traditional pass first point guard but I believe his ability to shoot the lights out will significantly help his assist numbers this season. With defenders desperate to get out on his jumper, Howard should have plenty of open lanes to drive in and as everyone knows open lanes lead directly to drive and kick or drive and dump opportunities. I see Howard getting the ball out to Andrew Rowsey and Sam Hauser for open threes very often this year after the defense has crashed on his drives. This along with the way he showed he could work along he baseline and find the open guy, I could easily see him leading the team in assists by a healthy margin.
NHammertime: Last year, Jajuan Johnson led the team in assists at 2.7/game. (Technically Traci Carter did, but he only played 8 games, so work with me here.) This was a surprise to me for two reasons. First, I didn’t expect JJ to lead the team in assists. Second, 2.7 is a VERY low number, it doesn’t even crack the top 250 in the country. However, as a team, Marquette ranked 20th in the nation at 16.4 APG. This tells us that the assists were spread around. I see the same thing happening again this year, with a roster full of capable ballhandlers. Having Sam Hauser, Andrew Rowsey and Markus Howard camping out on the 3 pt line gives ample opportunity for someone to drop some dimes. I’m going to choose Markus Howard to lead the team in assists this year. I see him developing into more of a leader on the floor. Another year in Wojo’s offense should give him a good understanding and great vision of what is developing on the court. The league is on notice, and they know he can shoot from long distance. Tighter defense should allow him to drive the lane, draw attention, and kick out to the open guy.
Besay: Haanif Cheatham is one of three returning players with 70+ assists last season. The other two were Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey. The difference? Cheatham is pass first/shoot second while Howard and Rowsey are more pure shooters.
CLagore: Markus Howard. If there was one thing Howard needed to work on in the offseason, as a guard, it was his ball-handling and passing. The court vision just wasn't always there, which is understandable for a shoot-first guard of his size and for a 17 year old freshman. This year, though, I think he makes a bit of a leap in that category. With the new additions all being some combination of big, quick or athletic, I think we see a lot of cutting to the basket and some pick-and-roll plays (Howard and Harry Froling should be fun), and Howard tallies the most simply by having the ball in his hands most often.
Broadway Brown: Markus Howard is going to run the offense this season so he will lead the team in assists. He had a great lob to Theo John on Sunday in the exhibition against UW-Milwaukee, so look for more of that during the season.
Let’s go look at that lob again!
Who will lead Marquette in assists in 2017-18?
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