At this point of the calendar, any Marquette Golden Eagles men’s basketball recruiting update probably has to start with Greg Elliott. The Class of 2017 shooting guard (6’3”, 165 lb.) from Detroit went on an official visit to Michigan State last weekend, but on Wednesday afternoon, things got a little interesting. Within 40 minutes of each other, four people on 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball all predicted that Elliott will end up at Marquette, including Jerry Meyer, 247’s own Director of Basketball Scouting, and Sean Scherer, who is a Michigan State insider for Spartan Tailgate, the MSU 247 sub-site. Look, things can go lots of weird directions, and Elliott, who is ranked #171 in 247’s composite, up from #304 just 10 days ago, still can’t sign a letter of intent until April 12. However, four guys all registering predictions in a 40 minute window sure does look like a mass text went out and people jumped on it. For what it’s worth, Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook’s Mark Miller has had Elliott to Marquette since January.
Elliott’s visit to Michigan State probably had the biggest impact on the possibility of a commitment starting to leak out into the world. However, if Elliott is in fact leaning towards the Golden Eagles right now, it’s entirely possible that news of Jemarl Baker’s release from California Golden Bears helped push things along. On Tuesday, the Twitter account for Baker’s AAU squad let everyone know who has been asking after him following his release, and yes, Marquette was included.
It’s reasonable to think that head coach Steve Wojciechowski let Elliott know that he was the first choice, but MU had to look elsewhere just in case. Once guys started popping loose from schools that changed coaches - for example Cuonzo Martin leaving Cal for Missouri - then the chances of Wojo finding another guard for the spot half-reserved for Elliott went way up.
2017 Jemarl Baker has re-opened his recruitment. Schools so far Kentucky, Maryland, Utah, Oregon, Arizona, Duke, Marquette, Virginia & ASU— Earl Watson Elite (@earlwatsonelite) March 28, 2017
Baker is a 6’2”, 165 lb., shooting guard according to 247 Sports, although ESPN says that the Los Angeles product is 6’4”. 247’s Composite rankings have Baker listed as the #73 player in the class of 2017, and from some rudimentary research, it appears that he has a reputation as a quality shooter. If he actually is 6’4”, then I see where Wojo’s interest comes from, but at 6’2”, I don’t know if he fits in well at MU, knockdown shooter or not. I know it seems silly to nitpick about two inches of height, but when Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey are going to play a ton of minutes, Marquette needs as much size as they can get elsewhere on the court.
Of course, it’s also possible that the contact was merely that, just contact, as an insurance policy against Elliott tilting towards the Spartans.
While Wojo deals with what to do with his three open scholarships for the fall of 2017, he also has an eye on how to fill open spots the following year. Assistant coach Stan Johnson was in Georgia on Monday to see Khavon Moore, who is one of the best prospects in the Class of 2018.
Marquette was in today to see 5-Star Khavon Moore @KhavonMoore of Westside (GA)— Shun Williams (@OntheRadarHoops) March 28, 2017
Moore is ranked #9 in the country according to 247 Sports. The 6’8”, 187 lb., small forward has four Crystal Ball predictions right now, all sending him to Kentucky. Moore’s list of interested schools is all of the expected usual suspects for a top 10 guy: Kentucky, Connecticut, Maryland, and Florida are all amongst his current suitors.
Remember: whatever Wojo does with his current three available scholarships for 2017 will affect how he approaches 2018, as those three 2017 scholarship spots are the only available spots he will have in 2018 as well. Andrew Rowsey will be the only senior in the fall of 2017, and Brendan Bailey is expected to finish his Mormon mission and essentially immediately occupy Rowsey’s scholarship the following fall.
Here’s what the scholarship situation looks like for fall of 2017 going forward.