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2016-17 Marquette Men’s Basketball Player Review: #1 Duane Wilson

And now we turn our attention to the final player review for the newest Aggie.

2K Classic Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

With the 2016-2017 season now in the books, let’s take a few moments to look back at the performance of each member of YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles this year. While we're at it, we'll also take a look back at our player previews and see how our preseason prognostications stack up with how things actually played out. We'll run through roster in order of total minutes played (lowest to highest). Next up, we turn our attention to the Milwaukee native that will finish his eligibility down in College Station.

Duane Wilson

#1 - Redshirt Junior - 6’2” - 185 lb.

Duane Wilson Traditional Stats

Games Min FGM FGA FG% 3PT M 3PA 3P% FTM FTA FT% OReb DReb Reb Ast Stl Blk Fouls Pts
Games Min FGM FGA FG% 3PT M 3PA 3P% FTM FTA FT% OReb DReb Reb Ast Stl Blk Fouls Pts
30 16.4 1.8 4.3 42.2% 0.5 1.6 29.2% 0.7 1.1 68.8% 0.1 1.7 1.8 1.6 1.0 0.1 2.0 4.8

Duane Wilson Fancy Stats

ORtg %Poss %Shots eFG% TS% OR% DR% ARate TORate Blk% Stl% FC/40 FD/40 FTRate
ORtg %Poss %Shots eFG% TS% OR% DR% ARate TORate Blk% Stl% FC/40 FD/40 FTRate
101.7 17.1 17.7 47.7 50.3 0.8 11.9 16.4 16.7 0.6 3.3 4.8 2.7 25

What We Said:

Reasonable Expectations

At the end of the day, Wilson ended up averaging roughly 12/2/2/1 last season, and that’s actually pretty good, if you just isolate on that. The problem was that it was essentially the same thing he had done the year before that, which makes it seem like it’s not actually that good.

If Marquette’s going to play up tempo and make a lot of substitutions, that kind of stat line is probably unrealistic to expect from Wilson this season. His playing time is probably going to come down from the 28 minute neighborhood, and as a result his stats are probably going to take a bit of a dip, too. Last year was a bit of a disappointing plateau from his freshman year, and it’s entirely possible Wilson might dip a little bit from last year. While that doesn’t sound promising off the jump, but it stands to reason that Wilson can play his part for this team exactly perfectly under those scenarios.

One thing to keep an eye on is Wilson’s defense. He’s been ranked in the top 425 in the country in steal rate according to KenPom for both of his years, and that is something that should continue again this season. In fact, Wilson maintaining that level of takeaways might actually be important to this team. Anything that alleviates Marquette’s need to play half-court defense and thus exposing Luke Fischer to potential foul trouble is going to benefit in the long run.

Why You Should Get Excited

Part of Wilson’s backslide statistically last year was clearly the fact that he shot 22% on three pointers through the first six games of the season. After that, Wilson shot an incredible 39% on long balls. As a freshman, Wilson shot 44% on threes in MU’s most difficult games.

I honestly believe that these shooting numbers are the real Duane Wilson.

Stack Wilson up next to the cadre of three point shooters that are now on the MU roster, and all of a sudden, Wilson is just one in a lineup of guys who can knock it down. I believe that he can be one of the best three point shooters in the Big East this season when you combine his ability and the space that his teammates will help him get. He might not lead the team in scoring or anything like that, but if we get to a point where it starts to feel like a 50/50 proposition that Wilson’s long range attempts are going in, that’s going to be awfully fun to watch.

One other thing to watch: Wilson improved his two point shooting from freshman to sophomore year, going from 43% to 51%. I don’t think he’s got another eight points worth of jump in him. That would start sending him into Luke Fischer territory, and let’s be honest: It’s just easier for a seven footer to shoot and make two pointers than it is for a guy of Wilson’s size. The potential for excitement here lies in the idea of defenses needing to honor Wilson’s drive and shot. If he can finish at the rim at the same rate, or perhaps even a wee bit higher, then that’s just going to make MU’s offense more efficient overall.

Potential Pitfalls

I don’t really think we’re going to see regression from Wilson. I think he is what he is as a player at this level. Let’s be honest: if he was something more, we would have seen it last year. This is fine, by the way. 12 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal is a very healthy stat line and everyone should be proud to cheer for him along the way.

What I worry about with Wilson is that people are going get the impression that he’s not doing enough to help Marquette this season. The idea that he’s due a big bounce back after having a sophomore season that was perceived as lackluster is a reasonable idea to have, but I just don’t see Wilson having an explosive kind of season. Other guys have a bit of leeway in expectations: We don’t really know what to expect from the four new guys, Jajuan Johnson only really boosted his stock towards the end of last year, Luke Fischer’s offense is dependent on the other guys getting him the ball, and so on and so forth. That doesn’t really exist with Wilson, so I dread the idea of people complaining that he isn’t doing enough to help this team win. Nothing will be further from the truth.

Sooooo.......

I think that two things about Duane Wilson’s 2016-17 season are true.

  1. Duane Wilson was the heart and soul of the 2016-17 Marquette Golden Eagles.
  2. Duane Wilson was not particularly good in 2016-17.

Hey, I don’t like saying it just as much as you did not like reading it. The fact of the matter is that on a team stocked to the gills with three-point shooters to the point where Marquette finished the season with the best three-point shooting percentage in the country, Wilson had a season long mark of 29%. That’s down from 35% as a sophomore and 36% as a freshman.

It’s probably much too harsh to judge Wilson on merely his three-point shooting. However, when Marquette couldn’t play anything resembling passable defense for much of the season and Wilson couldn’t provide even a 30% shooting percentage, he was a massive weakness on the floor. His weakness wasn’t limited to just the shooting, either, as his fouls called per 40 minutes rate was a career high, and not by a small margin. Wilson went from mid and low 3s in his first two seasons to nearly 5 fouls per 40 minutes, and thus became a liability on defense, the place where Marquette most needed a burst of production. Think about it: How often this season do you remember Duane Wilson committing a needless or unnecessary foul a pretty solid distance away from the hoop? It’s a lot, isn’t it? That’s how you end up averaging nearly a foul ever eight minutes.

And yet.....

Marquette doesn’t make the NCAA tournament without him. I don’t really know how, but somehow, Marquette took off over the final five games of the regular season when Wilson was inserted into the starting lineup along side Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey. This was a lineup that no one really figured would work, due to playing three guys that stand 6’2” or shorter at the same time. You’re inviting massive matchup issues on at least two defensive assignments on a regular basis. Yet somehow, it jumpstarted Marquette’s season, going 4-2 down the stretch in the regular season.

Hell, Wilson’s primary contribution to Marquette’s return to March Madness probably came way before that. DID YOU KNOW: Duane Wilson made just one two-point basket in five attempts during the upset win over #1 Villanova? You didn’t, did you? But you can picture that one basket clear as day in your head, can’t you? You’re going to remember that stutter-step hesitation layup for the rest of your effing life, and the crazy part is THAT WASN’T HIS BIGGEST CONTRIBUTION TO THE WIN! He drew the foul on a rebound with 47 seconds left and the game tied, and even though he had just split a pair of freebies about three minutes earlier and even though he shot just 69% from the line this season, Wilson coldly knocked down both free throws to give MU its first lead of the game.

Marquette doesn’t make the NCAA tournament without that win, and Marquette doesn’t win that game without those plays by Duane Wilson. Pure and simple.

Part of the reason why Duane Wilson may have had a slip backwards in terms of his stats and playing time this season may have been a lingering groin injury. Wilson left the Big East opener against Georgetown after seven minutes of action, and then missed all of the next two games. Is it a coincidence that Marquette lost both of the games that Wilson didn’t play in? Maybe, maybe not. Anyway, it stands to reason that Wojo put a bit of a cap on Wilson after that injury in addition to the overall decrease in playing time that Wilson was seeing from his previous two seasons. For example, look at the road loss against Providence, aka the wet floor game. That was after the starting lineup and rotation got re-jiggered, and yet, perhaps because of the unsure footing and perhaps because groin injuries have a nasty habit of not quite going away without long periods of rest, Wilson only played 10 minutes in MU’s only loss since the shift. He only played the first four minutes after halftime and then sat the rest of the game. Again, is it a coincidence that Marquette lost a game that Wilson had a minimal impact on? You decide.

Best Game: Oh, it’s the Villanova game for sure, as you probably already guessed. He had more points on two different occasions, and he had three games with better offensive ratings and even picked up one KenPom game MVP along the way. You can’t argue with having such a massive impact on Marquette’s only regular season win over the #1 ranked team in the country in program history.

Season Grade, on a scale of 1-10: This is kind of difficult. He had the stats backslide that was expected, going from 12/2/2 to 5/2/2. His steal rate went up, though, from 2.5 to 3.3, however because Wilson didn’t play enough this season, he didn’t qualify for a national ranking, which would have been in the top 100 if he had played more. His shooting was borderline abysmal, but you have to wonder how much of that was merely his groin injury affecting his lift. Then again, it might not have been all that much, as he was shooting 31% in non-conference action.

The upside is that no one doubted Wilson’s ability to contribute to this team, and let’s be fair: even with a massive minutes cut, only his scoring went down. I’m going to give him a 7 for the season. A 6 seems wholly unfair given his non-scoring and intangible contributions, but any higher is probably a little absurd.