About a week ago, news came out that Nebraska forward Ed Morrow was transferring to Marquette for his final two years of collegiate eligibility. The paperwork necessary for that is finally wrapped up, so Marquette officially announced Morrow’s arrival on Tuesday.
Morrow was listed at 6’7” and 235 lb. at Nebraska, where he averaged 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds in an injury hampered sophomore season while playing as an undersized center for the Huskers. We don’t have a jersey number for Morrow as of yet, but he will have to sit out the 2017-18 season, and the #30 he wore for Nebraska will be available the following season after Andrew Rowsey completes his eligibility.
Matt Velasquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tracked down Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski to talk about the addition of Morrow to the roster, and he had some pretty interesting things to say along the way.
Reportedly, one of the reasons that Morrow moved on from Lincoln was his desire to not play center any more, which is why this quote from Wojo is interesting.
"I think he's pretty versatile," Wojciechowski said. "A lot of times on the floor he's not going to be the biggest guy on the floor (for us), which is different than what he experienced at Nebraska. But in certain situations, as we told him when he was here, there are some teams in our league that are smaller and there may be a time when he's the biggest guy on the floor. Talking to Ed, his thing is he wants to develop as a player and he wants to win and have a chance to play in March. He felt like we gave him the best opportunity to do that."
You have to like the coach telling the prospective transfer, “Hey, I get what kind of opportunity you’re looking for, and yes, we can give you that. But if match-ups say we have an advantage by playing you at center, then we’re doing it anyway.” With Matt Heldt (6’10”) and Harry Froling (6’11”) on the roster along with incoming freshmen Theo John and Ike Eke at 6’9”, it should be a pretty rare occasion to see Morrow as the biggest guy on the floor, but the door is open for it at least.
Wojciechowski’s other notable comment came in regards to the scholarship situation for the future. Here’s the current scholarship table:
As you can see, Marquette has just one scholarship available for the 2018-19 season at this point. Wojciechowski and his staff have been fearlessly recruiting for the class of 2018 so far this spring, including taking aim at some pretty tippy-top prospects. Here’s what Wojo had to say about the way his roster looks now and how things project for the future.
"We do really like who we have," Wojciechowski said. "I think the situation we're in now where we have a lot of good players is a lot different than where I started, so I'd rather be in this position than the one I started in. I think competition is good for everyone. I think we've addressed — at least on paper — some needs that we have to move forward as a program.
"I think we have really good guys who understand that in order for us to keep moving forward as a program we're going to have to keep adding guys who bring different things to the table. In terms of scholarship situations, obviously we're aware of them, but in today's day and age those things tend to work themselves out."
Wojo’s first point is incredibly important: Being loaded up with quality players to the point where observers are asking how they’re all going to get on the floor is much better than crossing your fingers and hoping that grad transfer Matt Carlino can carry the entire offense. His second point - the players understand that the coaches are just going to keep recruiting the best guys possible - is also important, but it’s the third and final item that explains why we’ll probably continue to see offers go out to 2018 prospects over the summer.
Marquette can’t afford to sit back and not be prepared for roster changes. When the 2016-17 season started, Marquette had three guys signed for the fall of 2017 and one available scholarship. That’s a pretty comfortable spot to be in when it comes to recruiting. However, by Christmas, MU had taken on a mid-year transfer but suddenly had two open spots on the roster for the following year. By April, the number of open spots had grown to three. Things happen. It’s in the team’s best interest for Wojo and his staff to keep as many 2018 irons in the fire as possible. Maybe the overall aim shifts as things continue to develop - a point guard should probably be the priority at this point - but the staff needs to focus on getting the best possible players that they can.