The 2017-18 college basketball season is right around the corner, so let's get into the Marquette Golden Eagles 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 four freshmen going in alphabetical order by last name, moving on to MU’s lone available transfer this season, and then wrapping up with the returning players, going in order of average minutes played per game last season from lowest to highest.
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, we turn our attention to the big Australian on the roster who won’t be able to play until December.....
Sophomore - #21 - Center - 6’11” - 250 lb. - Townsville, Australia
First, let’s go over Froling’s journey that landed him at Marquette. He played at the Australian Institute of Sport in High School. Froling clearly drew international attention with his play when he participated in the 2014 U-17 World Championships and helped Australia take the silver medal. In 2016, he was invited to play in the Nike Hoops Summit for the World Select team comprised of the 12 best international players of his class. This earned him a 4-star recruiting status by both rivals and scout. He went on to sign with SMU in May of 2016 with the hope of playing under legendary coach Larry Brown.
Unfortunately for Froling, SMU parted ways with Brown just days after Froling arrived on campus, and he didn’t feel too thrilled about playing for the new head coach Tim Jankovich. Playing under Brown was essentially the only reason he signed with the Mustangs. It wasn’t a surprise that Froling left SMU last December. He averaged 4.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 10 games with the Mustangs. After being pursued by both Oregon State and Marquette, Froling chose the Golden Eagles and it wasn’t a hard decision. In an interview with ESPN, Froling noted he was impressed by the playing experience of the coaching staff stating, “Most if not all had played pro or at high-level colleges, and I knew it was a place that was going to challenge me.”
Great news! Froling is excited to play for coach Wojo! With the combination of his experience, his upcoming recruiting class, and his current squad...who wouldn’t be? Froling will be another great addition to the already wealth of talent on MU’s roster. Let’s take a look at the impact he can make on the Golden Eagles this season.
Before I give my take...why not get Froling’s thoughts on his expectations? Here’s what Froling had to say in that same interview with ESPN:
“I know I'm not Henry [Ellenson], but we do have some similar attributes and the way Coach demonstrated how he changes the offense and plays to his team was awesome. As long as I hold up my end of the bargain and give it my all, there's no reason I don't see myself playing a huge role in the success of Marquette in the near and distant future."
Any time someone compares themselves to first round NBA draft pick Henry Ellenson, they are very confident about their game. I definitely buy his mentality and think he’s on to something. Froling has similar physical attributes to those of Ellenson. The only problem is that no one has seen Froling play in a competitive basketball game since leaving SMU last December. So what does this guy really have in him? I believe that with his combination of size and 3-point range he will be a key aspect for the Golden Eagles on both sides of the ball. Due to his mid-season transfer, he will be eligible to start playing for Marquette in mid-December. This doesn’t give Big East opponents much game film to study up on. Froling’s immediate impact will be a bit of a mystery for the Big East. Not just for them, but for us too. We trust he has been working hard in the gym and on the court in the practices leading up to the season. But you never really know what a player is capable of until they get real-game playing time. In his first few games, I see him filling in well for Matt Heldt when he needs a break and also being a quality spot sub when they need a boost defensively.
Why You Should Get Excited
Froling likened himself to first round draft pick Henry Ellenson so that should make you curious of just what he thinks he can do. I mentioned his ability to shoot threes twice already and you’re probably wondering why I think a 6’11”, 250 pound big man has any 3-point shooting ability. Well I’ve been doing my own personal scouting as a blogger should. Most recently, I was at Marquette’s open practice last Thursday and Froling was knocking down threes with ease. I was very impressed by his stroke and comfort he has shooting from behind the arc. If my math is correct, he made five straight threes at one point — none of them even grazing the rim. I know it’s a small sample size but definitely don’t underestimate Froling’s range. I don’t think he’ll hesitate to shoot it from deep if he’s open. That, combined with his potential to dominate the paint makes him a very scary player for opposing defenses. For us, it makes him the most compelling player to watch come January.
I really see two potential pitfalls that could impact Froling’s game this year. The first has to do with timing. Even though he’ll still be practicing with the team, he won’t get any game time until January. Who knows how the first semester is going to shape up? Marquette may have already built a certain chemistry with each other. It could be difficult for Froling to get in game rhythm and in Big East shape since he’ll miss all of the non-conference schedule. I don’t really see this being an issue, however, because he’ll still be practicing with the team and will be very involved on the bench even if he isn’t playing. The second potential struggle for Froling is his quickness and agility. Even after dropping a bunch of weight since transferring, he’s the tallest and bulkiest man on Marquette’s roster. That’s obviously great when he’s in the paint because he can dominate the glass. The flip side of this is that he could struggle covering someone on the wing or if he switches to the ball-handler on the pick-and-roll, and we know that this has been a problem for Marquette in the past. I’m not sure how fluid Marquette’s defense will be this season, but I don’t envision he’ll find himself in this situation too often. Wojo will likely try to keep him in the paint where he can bring down rebounds and help an MU defense that was below average (to put it lightly) last year.
I think Froling will be a big difference maker for the Golden Eagles next semester. I see him splitting time with Heldt at the center and being a key piece in Marquette’s defensive success this year. Aside from his ability to post-up and finish under the basket, I also see him emerging as a three-point shooting option in the rare situation where Markus Howard, Andrew Rowsey, or Sam Hauser haven’t already scored a three on any given offensive possession.