On Sunday, Class of 2018 top 50 forward Joey Hauser announced his commitment to Marquette. As recruiting is the lifeblood of a college basketball program, thoughts naturally turn to what’s next in the pipeline for head coach Steve Wojciechowski and his assistants after that.
Class of 2018
Well, as it turns out, what’s next is devoting large quantities of manpower to watching Quentin Grimes play at this weekend’s adidas Uprising event. Grimes is ranked #22 in the country by the 247 Sports Composite model where he is a four star prospect. The 6’4” point guard from Texas was very popular on Thursday, both with the Marquette coaching staff and with other staffs as well.
Sean Miller now under the basket for Quentin Grimes with Lorenzo Romar in between two courts watching Grimes and Bryan Penn-Johnson— Matt Moreno (@MattGOAZCATS) July 27, 2017
Calipari, Miller, Notre Dame, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Texas, Virginia all front row for Quentin Grimes and Basketball U vs Juice All Stars pic.twitter.com/xXTpdqJWQt— Endless Motor Sports (@endless_motor) July 27, 2017
Sean Miller, Bill Self, John Calipari among the coaches watching Quentin Grimes— WildcatAuthority.com (@AZAuthority) July 27, 2017
Quentin Grimes drawing a massive crowd here at GASO. Marquette & TAMU are full staff + Sean Miller, Lon Kruger, John Calipari & more.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) July 21, 2017
You get the idea. The point here is that even after securing a commitment from Hauser, the Marquette staff has flung themselves full force into gaining another top 50 recruit for the Class of 2018.
Theerrrrre’s only one teensy detail.
Marquette projects to not have a scholarship available for Grimes.
It’s important to point out that at this time last year, Marquette projected to have three scholarships available for fall of 2017, but still somehow added two transfers and three freshmen to the roster. Things happen, and it’s the coaching staff’s job to be prepared to move forward when those things end up happening.
With that said, going four deep to watch Grimes in an effort to stand out next to the Arizonas and Kentuckys of the world is a heck of a lot of time spent on a tippy-top player. I get continuing to put in the leg work on guys in the class just in case, but going all out for a top guy* like they’re doing? That seems to indicate knowledge that there’s going to be a spot available by the time classes start up in August of 2018. Where that spot is going to come from.... I have no idea. I have some really interesting wild guesses/theories, one of which is Markus Howard making 155 out of 300 three-point attempts in 2017-18, winning Big East Player of the Year, and entering the NBA Draft, but as I said: wild theory. Paint Touches also made a solid point on Friday morning: Marquette has had someone transfer out of the program in each of the past four years. While I certainly don’t want to be accused of pushing someone out the door because I think everyone on the roster can contribute something to MU making the NCAA tournament again in 2018, it would be naivete of the highest order to presume that it’s impossible for that to not happen again during this coming school year.
This could all be a moot point in a few weeks, as Grimes might be close to making a cutdown on his list of schools recruiting him. But for now, we wait and we watch, and we look even further into the future.....
Class of 2019
As you can see from the chart above, Marquette currently projects to have two open scholarships in the fall of 2019. The Golden Eagles staff has been active in that class just this summer, with scholarship offers to Isaiah Stewart, Josh Nickelberry, De’Vion Harmon, Jalen Wilson, and Josh Green all on the first day that they were allowed to contact that class via telephone. Nickelberry has the highest profile of that group right now, coming in at #45 on the 247 Composite rankings, but they’re all in the top 80. Harmon and Wilson are interesting offers, as they both attend the same high school in Denton, Texas.
Harmon is also particularly intriguing because he is listed as a point guard. As you can see from the scholarship table, Marquette is running pretty short on guys that you would call point guards after the 2017-18 season. If MU falls short on Grimes, then they have to make a point guard a priority in 2019 for sure. There’s two other 2019 PGs in addition to Harmon. First, there’s Mark “Rocket” Watts, who picked up an offer from Marquette in April and plays for the same club program in Michigan as Jamal Cain, Ike Eke, and Greg Elliott. Watts is on the rise a bit, going from #143 on 247 when he was offered up to #117 right now. There’s also D.J. Carton, who received an offer from Marquette back in late June. Carton doesn’t have much of a recruiting profile at this point, but he’s receiving a ton of high major attention, so expect that to change relatively soon.
The guy to keep your eye on is Nobal Days, a 6’9” power forward from Racine, Wisconsin. Marquette has had an offer out to him since last summer, and they were the first school to offer him a scholarship. He’s currently ranked #78 in the class by 247, and sits as the #3 prospect in the state behind Marcus Domask and Deontay Long. While it always makes sense to get top 100 guys in your own state if they’re there, it seems that Marquette, at least for now, is not that interested in the 6’3” Domask nor the 6’4” Long.
Class of 2020
WHY YES, WE ARE ALREADY TALKING ABOUT THIS.
Marquette has three notable scholarship offers already out for the class of guys that just finished their freshman year of high school: Jalen Suggs, Jalen Johnson, and Nico Mannion. All three are already ranked in ESPN’s top 25 for their class, with Suggs topping the list of Marquette guys at #3. Johnson at #12 and Mannion at #19 is nothing to sneeze at, though. Suggs hails from Minnesota in the Twin Cities area, where Steve Wojciechowski has already reeled in Sacar Anim and Theo John. Mannion is from Arizona, and his father is long time friends with Thurl Bailey, former NBA player and father of Marquette signee Brendan Bailey.
Johnson is the obvious primary target for Marquette, as he attends high school in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. That’s the same high school as former Marquette women’s hoopster McKayla Yentz, as well as former Marquette men’s basketball signee Nick Noskowiak. While he seems to be the clear cut leader in the state for that class at this point, he’s also drawing attention from blue blood programs already and is planning on making unofficial visits to Duke and North Carolina in the fall. It is entirely possible that this ship has already sailed past Marquette’s lighthouse at this point.
The Golden Eagles also have a scholarship offer extended to Isaiah Jackson for 2020. Like Watts in the Class of 2019, Jackson plays for The Family club in Michigan, so there’s the connection between the Marquette staff and a rising sophomore who doesn’t seem to have much of a recruiting profile at all right now.
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(h/t to @MarkKahnWI for reminding me about Mark Watts and thus about Isaiah Jackson as well)