With the 2016-2017 season now in the books, let’s take a few moments to look back at the performance that 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). Let’s turn our attention to the junior transfer from UNC-Asheville......
#30 - Redshirt Junior - 5’10” - 180 lb.
Andrew Rowsey Traditional Stats
Andrew Rowsey Fancy Stats
(* - denotes top 500 ranking via KenPom)
This is two-fold.
1) Andrew Rowsey will continue to be a crazy good outside shooter.
2) Andrew Rowsey is not going to average 19.7 points per game like he did at Asheville.
Both of those things will be caused by the same thing: Marquette is deep as hell at guard/wing this season, and they’re all at least responsible shooters. Merely having five or six teammates who can drain threes on a regular basis will make things easier for Rowsey to get his shots off accurately. However, because of all of the other guys at his position and head coach Steve Wojciechowski’s interest in going 10 deep and attacking, Rowsey’s minutes and shots will be, at least on some level, artificially limited.
There’s probably going to be a few games this year where he replicates what he was doing at UNCA. He’ll hit a shot or two early, get on a roll, and Wojo rides with him for most of the game.
There’s one more thing we should probably talk about. Rowsey’s not a dominant point guard, not to the point where he’s going to take Traci Carter’s job. Yes, he led UNC-Asheville in assists both of his two seasons. However, that’s kind of a technicality. Both years, He averaged 2.9 helpers, but two more guys averaged more than two assists per game. Rowsey had assist rates of 17.0% as a freshman and 18.8% as a sophomore. Duane Wilson had an assist rate of 17.2% last year, and Jajuan Johnson was at 16%. Are either of those guys taking Traci Carter’s job this season? No, they are not. Neither is Andrew Rowsey.
Why You Should Get Excited
Well, if you can’t get excited about a guy who has a career three point percentage better than any Marquette team since 2009-10, I can’t really help you.
However, I could understand that even knowing that Rowsey’s a shooter, you might get worried about his ability to contribute at this level of college basketball at his size. Totally makes sense to me that you could be there.
I completely disagree with you, though.
Flashback to last year’s Legends Classic at the Barclays Center. Ben Simmons draws a charge on Henry Ellenson with just under two minutes to play. And now, a story about what happened next, told in six tweets.
Yes, that’s right, the 5’10” Rowsey started yapping at the 6’9” Ben Simmons, the future #1 pick in the NBA Draft, about how he flopped to draw the foul on Ellenson and, when Simmons went back at him, Rowsey had no backdown in him.
Now, here’s the two key parts of this story. First, as a transfer last year, Rowsey was obviously ineligible to play in the game, but that had absolutely no impact on his competitive nature when he believed that his teammate got completely hosed. Second, and this is probably the best part about this story, transfers are ineligible to play, obviously, and as an ineligible player, Rowsey was not allowed to have his transport paid for by the university. Thus, Rowsey paid for his own trip to New York in order to be with the team and yap at Simmons.
That sounds like a guy who’s going to be highly competitive regardless of the situation and a guy that I want on my team. I didn’t really need a reason to steal Ronda Rousey’s nickname for the guy, but I’m feeling pretty good about the idea of “Rowdy” Andrew Rowsey.
There’s no reason to think that Andrew Rowsey’s shooting ability doesn’t translate from the Big South to the Big East. It’s the same distance, it’s the same height, it should all work. Even if he’ll be seeing better players in terms of opponents, Marquette’s ability to spread the floor around him should balance that out.
In his two years at Asheville, Rowsey played just three games against teams that finished in the top 100 of the end of season KenPom rankings. He shot just 35% from three in those games, well short of his career mark. It’s still clearly inside the efficiency cutoff of 33.3%, mind you, but it’s still not as good as the rest of his numbers. If you want to be worried about Rowsey’s production for Marquette, there’s your reason why.
I have to offer a caveat on that, in fairness to Rowsey. Two of those games - vs Kentucky and vs Duke - came in Rowsey’s first four collegiate games, including his collegiate debut against the Wildcats. The third game was early on in his sophomore year... and he was 6-for-12 from long range against South Carolina.
I think it’s safe to say that Andrew Rowsey’s transition to high-major Division 1 hoops was a success. In fact, you might even say it was a rowsey-ing success.
Oh, shut up.
It’s not crazy to think that Marquette got the best possible version of Andrew Rowsey in his first year since transferring from UNC-Asheville. The 5’10” Virginia native posted career bests in offensive rating, effective field goal percentage, true shooting percentage, defensive rebounding rate, assist rate, turnover rate, free throw rate, free throw percentage, two-point field goal percentage, and three-point field goal percentage.
To be clear, his traditional counting stats (points, rebounds, assists, field goals, steals, minutes, you name it) are all down from both of his seasons with the Bulldogs. That’s not surprising, not even in the least. He wasn’t going to be a 30+ minute a night guy for head coach Steve Wojciechowski and the Golden Eagles. Rowsey made up for that decrease in totals by becoming ruthlessly efficient in the minutes that he was playing. Perhaps most impressively, he was at his best in Big East play, the true test of his ability to transition a level up, as Rowsey had the best offensive rating (132.2) in the entire conference for the 18 game league schedule. In other words, no player in the Big East was more efficient at producing in conference play for their team than Andrew Rowsey.
Think about it.
It wasn’t all seashells and balloons for Rowsey, though. For example, he didn’t hit any of his first six long range attempts, and that streak carried him through to Marquette’s fourth game of the season, as he only played one minute and didn’t attempt a shot in the blowout loss to Michigan. After scoring a team high 20 points in the loss to Pittsburgh, Rowsey only managed five points total in the next two games and played just 24 minutes total.
Things kind of got on track for him after that, though. Rowsey played fewer than 14 minutes just one more time the rest of the season - the home overtime win against Seton Hall, where he had just three minutes but still knocked home his lone triple - and over the final 22 games of the season, Rowsey was identified as KenPom’s MVP of the game five times, including his 23 point, four rebound, two assist outing in the home loss to Providence.
Rowsey was one of the guys inserted into the starting lineup when Wojo needed to shake up the lineup to save the season, and he responded with fantastic numbers. He averaged 15.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in that final seven game stretch while shooting over 40% from long range and missing just three of his 33 free throw attempts. That is a major component in MU’s push to the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance under Wojciechowski.
We really can’t call this a review of Andrew Rowsey’s season if we don’t talk about #TheThing. No one’s actually keeping track of this kind of thing, but I stand firm and resolute in my opinion that Rowsey led the country in “fouls drawn by pump-faking his defender into the air.” Have you ever seen anyone continually bait defenders into the air over and over and over again with such regularity? How does he keep doing it? It’s such a common occurrence that it’s officially been named #TheThing on Twitter, and you have to figure that if we’re noticing it happening, then opposing coaches are putting it on the scouting report. And yet! It keeps happening! Guys just can not stop themselves from flying into the air to defend Rowsey’s pump-fake, and he jumps into them to draw the foul. It’s like the inverse of baseball players refusing to run on Jon Lester even though they know that he’s not throwing over to first. The most famous one is when he threw up a one-handed lefty shot on the foul and it went in against Providence in the Bradley Center. That shot and the following made free throw suddenly dragged Marquette back into the competitive balance of the game even though they ended up taking the L.
Best Game: You could make an argument that it is that game against the Friars: 23 points, four rebounds, two assists, and a steal, 5-of-8 from the floor, 3-of-5 from distance, and a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe. You could also go with his high scoring game for the season, which was the home game against DePaul: 24 points, a rebound, and four assists. However, I think I’m going to go with the home date against Xavier. With Marquette reeling and desperately in need of a win, Rowsey threw together 18 points and a season-high seven assists. He was only 3-of-10 from long range, but that’s close enough to fine. Rowsey also made 9-of-10 free throws in the game as MU won big, 83-61.
Season Grade, on a scale of 1 to 10: I’m going to give Rowsey a 9 for the season. He was a major component of what Marquette accomplished this season, and while he had the expected dip in his counting stats, he had marked improvements almost everywhere else on the floor when you dig a little deeper. I can’t go all the way with a 10 here because I think that should be reserved for the circumstance where he did score like he did at Asheville, but other than that, I don’t think Marquette fans could have expected anything better from Rowsey this past season.