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:
What player do you want to have the ball in his hands in the final seconds for 1) a game winning three, 2) to create a bucket to win, 3) to knock down two free throws to win?
Besay: Andrew Rowsey, Andrew Rowsey, and Andrew Rowsey. Off the top of my head, I think Rowsey had four 4-point plays last year...which is just crazy. He's Marquette's most talented spot up shooter when he's on. He also doesn't seem to be fazed by the big moments. I know you're probably thinking “wWhat about Markus Howard? I see Howard focusing more on other areas of his game (like the dribble drive and mid-range) that might take him away from spotting up behind the arc as much as he did last year. I think Rowsey has more of the Mamba mentality in him when it comes to late game heroics.
Broadway Brown: I like this question and I think head coach Steve Wojciechowski likes this question because the team has a bunch of answers. For a game winning three I want the ball in Markus Howard's hands. He shot 55% from three last year, so odds are he makes it. To create a bucket to win the game I want it in Sam Hauser's hands and to knock down free throws I gotta go with Markus again. There are a bunch of answers for the last part of the question as Andrew Rowsey, Sam Hauser, Sacar Anim and Haanif Cheatham are all good from the charity stripe.
Sam Newberry: 1) Markus Howard. See also: 54.7% from three-point range last year. He has what might be the best shooting form I’ve ever seen and seems at home pulling up for three from any range. 2) Sam Hauser. This was actually my hardest pick. Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey are better pure scorers and, in my opinion, Rowsey is a better distributor of the ball (Howard and Hauser might be even on that). But Sam is so much more versatile offensively. He showed off a 3 point shot, post moves, slashing skills, pump fakes, mid-range jumpers, and every other way to score the basketball last year, not even including good vision to find shooters or playmakers. He’s the best player on this team, and I want him getting at least one touch on the last possession of the game. 3) Andrew Rowsey. Not close. Not even close. No one else shoots free throws as well as he does, and he has the kind of scrappy, unflappable, pitbull-esque attitude to have absolute ice in his veins when he steps to the line for these shots.
Pistol Brad: 1. Give me Andrew Rowsey. He isn’t the top three point shooter on the team percentage wise, but he has the nastiest pump fake in the league which allows him to either draw a 3 shot foul or get off an open look if the defender doesn’t jump. 2. If I want a guy to create a bucket to win it I’m going with Markus Howard. He can create his own shot from 26 feet and in, this combined with his ability to drive and kick allow him to find the open guy if a big man steps out on him after he dusts his man. 3. Rowsey is a senior and probably the best free throw shooter in the nation, no contest here.
NHammertime: A game winning three: Andrew Rowsey. The statistics say that Markus Howard was the best three-point shooter last year. However, Rowsey was not far behind and he adds an extra dynamic to the situation: The pump fake aka #TheThing. Rowsey made a habit of faking defenders into the air, drawing contact, and getting three the easy way from the free throw line. Having this in his arsenal gives him the option to pull it out of his pocket if he does not have a clean look at a three-pointer. I feel comfortable with Rowsey, Howard and Sam Hauser taking a game winning three, but with the pump fake in play, I’ll take Rowsey.
Create a bucket: Sam Hauser. I’m going to go with Sam Hauser based upon nothing I saw last year, but what I am predicting he can show this year. Last year, Hauser played within the offense, whereas this year I think he becomes more aggressive in creating shots for himself. Your three main scorers are Hauser, Howard and Rowsey. The vertical limitations worry me a bit in a “go get a bucket” situation. Trying to shoot over a taller defender creates a higher degree of difficulty, and driving in the land of the bigs is asking for the shot to get swatted. Sam Hauser’s height gives him the ability to shoot over defenders or finish strong at the rim. This is all predicated on Sam making the improvements this year that I believe he will.
Knock Down Two Free Throws: Andrew Rowsey. He was the 5th best free throw shooter in the country last year at a 92.6% clip. He’s as close to automatic from the charity stripe as they come. Rowsey also has a swagger to his game. He isn’t going to back down from anybody, even though he may be the smallest guy on the floor. The pressure of making two free throws in any environment should not rattle a confident player like himself.
CLagore: 1) Junior Cadougan, obviously.
Just kidding, definitely last season's national leader in 3-point percentage, Markus Howard. There's really no other answer. Your argument for Andrew Rowsey starts and ends with "did he have a higher percentage that Howard?" He didn't, in case you were wondering, because Markus Howard had a higher chance of making a three than literally anyone else (qualified) in the country.
2) Kind of a weird answer, but Haanif Cheatham. Last year might not be filled with good examples, but he's a pretty versatile scorer, especially if his shot comes back this year. He's crafty around the rim, long and quick enough to create some space in a pinch, and he's tough enough to absorb contact while still getting off a good shot. There's not much more to it. Here's a scenario: down two against Villanova (I know, wishful thinking) and the clock's winding down. He gets the ball at the free throw line extended guarded by Mikal Bridges (a good, long defender). It's tough to see any other Marquette player working that into a bucket. It's only something simple like a quick crossover and then going up and under Bridges’ long arms, but there's not anyone else on this team I would trust to be able to get that done. That being said, if Marquette is down two to 'Nova on the last possession, I don't care who gets it, just put it in the damn basket.
3) Andrew Rowsey. 92.6 percent from the stripe last year, 88.7% for his career. Moving on.
Ben Snider: Andrew Rowsey for all of them and it’s seriously for his ability to do The Thing®. End of game situations in college basketball have turned into these cookie-cutter possessions where the guard stands near mid-court for 15 seconds and then tries to Streetball his way to the basket only to vomit up some semblance of a fadeaway jumper as time expires. Defenses know that everyone wants to be a hero at the last second, so they get extra aggressive when the clock ticks under five seconds. Rowsey eats those people alive because he has such a great pump fake. He doesn’t even need to drive it to the basket and risk getting his pocket picked. Bonus points if he gets a four point play with his left hand like he did last year.