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The Anonymous Eagle Mailbag: Marquette in the NBA, Harry Froling, Grad Transfers, TBT, and more!


NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the Anonymous Eagle mailbag! Things got a little overloaded last week, so things got pushed off a little bit. That’s how it goes. Anyway, it’s not like any of these questions were 911 emergencies (okay, one of them was relatively time sensitive, but my answer didn’t change in the meantime), so here we are with a fresh new bag of Q’s for me to A.

Let’s get into it.......

From @TTrentC: Can you explain the triangle offense for us all and the pros and cons of it?

Off the top of my head? No. Luckily, I found this ESPN SportScience video!

The pros are pretty well laid out in the video: motion, spacing, premium on versatility in the players. The cons are kind of obvious: If you don’t have multiple players who can shoot from anywhere on the floor (Michael Jordan/Scottie Pippen; Kobe Bryant/Robert Horry; Kobe Bryant/Pau Gasol), or one of the most dominant centers to ever play (Shaquille O’Neal), the whole thing starts collapsing under its own weight. Defenses have to take at least two players seriously as a threat to shoot at all times to keep the spacing working properly, and if you can ignore a guy somewhere on the floor in order to collapse and double team, you can cut the passing lanes apart and thus dismantle the flow of the triangle.

I think that the biggest benefit to the triangle is that it would appear to be effective against both man-to-man and zone defenses. It’s designed to cause defensive confusion through motion and passing, which is exactly how you attack a zone defense. It would still work against man defense, as the theoretical constant motion would be hectic to chase, but it may be slightly less effective given the lack of emphasis on setting screens.

From @JoeMcCann3: Over/under: 5.5 Marquette men’s basketball alums to play in the NBA this coming season?

From @sgriffin_87to98: Seriously, why doesn't Vander Blue have an NBA contract?

These two kind of go together, as the second one will pretty much answer the first one.

We know that Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, Henry Ellenson, Wesley Matthews, and Jae Crowder will have NBA contracts. That gets us to five.

If your bookie is making you decide today on laying a bet, then just pass. There’s a lot of things in motion for the former Golden Eagles close to making it into the league. Jamil Wilson appears to be on the verge of signing a two-way deal with the Clippers after his fireball of a Summer League campaign, and Dwight Buycks was drawing attention from NBA teams as well. If Wilson gets that two-way deal, then it’s pretty much a lock to hit the over in Joe’s question. The Clippers would want to maximize the value of the two-way contract, thus giving Jamil a stand-by pass to his first regular season appearance in the NBA.

That brings us to Vander Blue. It’s been over two years since Blue was on an NBA roster, and while he’s been killing it in the G-League in the interim right up to being named league MVP this past season, that has not gotten him anything resembling a hint of a sniff of a chance from an NBA team.

Our friends over at Ridiculous Upside published a nice summary of Blue’s flaws as a player that may ultimately add up to a solid reason why no NBA team is willing to have him on the roster even as the third or fourth guard on the team. In short, he’s largely speaking a replacement level player at that level and most teams would rather spend the roster spot on a 19 year old lottery ticket instead of a 25 year old known quantity.

Via [REDACTED] in the email inbox: I have heard that Harry Froling was appealing his 1 year transfer “Suspension”. I have not heard anything about this recently, is the appeal ongoing? Was the Appeal every filed? Is there any chance he sees the court first semester next season?

This was reported originally by Fox Sports Australia when Froling committed to Marquette in January. At the time, I didn’t expect to hear anything about this until the summer because there’s no reason for the NCAA to hurry about it. If they elected to give him a waiver, the entire 2016-17 season would have been a redshirt season for him, thus giving him the entire 2017-18 season as his official freshman year. As such, the NCAA could wait until after the school year to end and doesn’t really need to make a ruling on that until October, to be honest.

Presuming that the appeal was filed, the argument for giving him the waiver is simple: Larry Brown left SMU Mustangs two days after Froling arrived on campus, thus leaving Froling in the awkward position of not enrolling in the situation that he had originally been promised by the Mustangs. The argument against the waiver is also fairly simple: Froling made a commitment to SMU, not Larry Brown (yes, I know that’s a dumb argument, but it’s the one the NCAA loves to make about collegiate athletes), and on top of that, Froling arrived in Dallas during the summer which would have provided him the opportunity to find another school to attend before the school year started. Very very late in the cycle, sure, but he could have left SMU but he did not.

In any case, at the very least, I think Froling has accepted that he will not be playing until December. It’s also possible that the appeal was filed but denied. There’s this tweet from July 9:

Since he’s talking about his motivation for working during his redshirt time this fall, it seems like he knows that he has to wait until December. A few days later, Froling quote-tweeted the AE account making note of his expected debut against Northern Illinois.

He doesn’t appear to be contesting the idea that he has to wait for the fall semester to end. I suppose it’s possible that the waiver could still come through, but it certainly doesn’t seem that way.

From @TTrentC: Which athlete on the current team would be the best two sport athlete?

Ok, so I suspect that you’re actually talking about men’s basketball here, but I can give you a real answer by saying Jenna Rosenthal. The women’s volleyball All-Big East middle hitter walked on to the track & field team for the outdoor season this spring and for someone who hadn’t competed in at least three years (she just finished her redshirt sophomore year in volleyball), she was pretty good! Rosenthal finished sixth in the high jump at the Big East Outdoor Championships and third in the discus throw. Both finishes were good enough to earn points for Marquette as they won their second straight outdoor conference title. I’d saying being better than all but five and all but two other athletes in the conference is a pretty strong showing.

I should point out that I suspect that the other Big East coaches are kind of annoyed at Bert Rogers just randomly adding a top field athlete. To wit: Marquette went 1-2-4-6-8 in the high jump and 2-3-5-7-8 in the discus.

From @sgriffin_87to98: Reasonable expectations for 2017-2018? 2018-2019? Will be a loaded roster for 2018-2019, I think challenging for BE title is possible.

2017-18? Make the NCAA tournament.

Yes, I’m keeping it simple here. Look, here’s the facts: Marquette has a starting five with notable collegiate experience for each guys and a six player bench with a grand total of 229 collegiate minutes played. Brace for growing pains as four of those six bench players are freshmen who are going to have to contribute, especially until Harry Froling is eligible! Making the NCAA tournament for a second straight season officially turns this into a thing that Steve Wojciechowski can do on the regular, so that’s a completely admirable goal for the season.

I’d have to say that I agree with your title contention thoughts for 2018-19. Marquette projects to return everyone except for Andrew Rowsey and they will add Ed Morrow and Brendan Bailey for sure. Generally speaking, when you return almost your entire roster and add two talented athletes, you’re going to be better than the year before. Don’t get me wrong, it would still be a hell of a challenge to win the Big East, but there’s no reason to think that the projected roster for that season wouldn’t be amongst the contenders.

This is also without considering that Steve Wojciechowski and his staff still have a scholarship available to use for the fall of 2018. Joey Hauser? Quentin Grimes? Khavon Moore? Those guys would just add to the likelihood of the Golden Eagles hoisting their third Big East regular season trophy.

From @SwaggyMo33: Who are your Final Four picks and Champion for the The Basketball Tournament?

Well, because we pushed the mailbag off a little bit, we went zooming past the start of TBT when this question was sent in and all the way to the Super 16 round. Oops.

Well, the good news is that I submitted an entry to the TBT Bracket Challenge, so I have a provable record of my picks, for better or for worse. My Final Four picks are/were Overseas Elite, Armored Athlete, Supernova, and Golden Eagles. You will notice that I am already out one F4 team because Villanova is a bag of jerks. Overseas Elite was an easy pick because do not pick against a two time champ in this kind of event, guys. I picked Armored Athlete because I felt that at least one non-top-two seed should be in the semifinals. Supernova got my pick because I thought it would be fun to have two Big East alumni teams in the Final Four so that the announcers would be forced to talk about the Big East on ESPN for five straight hours. The Wildcats have let me down, unfortunately.

My title game is Overseas Elite vs Golden Eagles, and yes, I picked YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles alumni to knock off the two-time champs in the title game. I don’t go homer-riffic in the NCAA tournament bracket, but there’s no reason to not do it here.

From @bensnider94: The grad transfer news has been a wasteland since the Ed Morrow announcement. This is weird with an open spot, right?

Nah, not really.

Sure, it would be kind of nifty to add a veteran presence to the Marquette roster that would end up leaving after one season. As mentioned above, MU is not exactly knocking them dead in the experienced depth department here. Raw talent? Pretty good. College experience? Not so much.

Steve Wojciechowski has said repeatedly that Theo John, Jamal Cain, and Ike Eke would all have been the best athlete on the 2016-17 Marquette team. Greg Elliott isn’t exactly lagging behind those guys in the athleticism department. In that regard, Marquette has upgraded their roster from last season, and as such, it’s in MU’s best interest to let those guys get their college hoops legs underneath them as fast as possible. Adding a graduate transfer is not going to help that happen. That goes double for Elliott, as the smart move would be to add a grad transfer who would play in the backcourt.

Here’s the other part of this: It’s not like there’s a lot of graduate transfers that can make a major impact in the Big East. Our SB Nation overlords compiled a list back in mid-May, and a large majority of these guys just were not impact players at their former schools and a lot of the guys that were major players were starring at low-major teams or, in one case, Division 2. Marquette kicked the tires on some of the big names, Cameron Johnson and Egor Koulechov most notably, but nothing ended up coming of it. That’s fine.

Do you have a question for the Anonymous Eagle Mailbag? It can be about Marquette hoops, any other Marquette sports, or whatever strikes your fancy at the moment. Tweet it to us (@AnonymousEagle) or email it to us ( The more the merrier!

(Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article totally blanked on Ellenson & Matthews in the NBA. My bad.)