Hey, folks! Patrick Leary here. I’m a bit new around here, but Sam Newberry is not new, at least in the non-Andy sense. At any rate, Andy has bequeathed us the responsibility and blessing to start (restart?) The Anonymous Eagle Podcast and we have the first episode for you right here, ready to go straight into your earballs.
On the fence about listening to an hour of two dudes talking about Marquette basketball? Good news! We summarized some of what we talked about for you below! In our first episode, we took a look back at the entire Steve Wojciechowski era, from Buzz Williams leaving and #DoneDeal all the way through last year’s see-saw season which culminated in an NIT...success?
Next week, we’re going to breakdown this year’s roster player-by-player, answering important questions like:
- Does Marquette have enough guards?
- How does a Mormon mission effect one’s basketball career?
- Is Matt Heldt elite?
Until then, enjoy this deep dive on the first for years of Wojo.
On #DoneDeal Day:
Patrick: “We were in this state of being jilted and vulnerable after losing our coach, and the fanbase just thought that Marquette was a job that could attract these massive names. While Marquette is a great job based on how much the school cares about basketball and based on how much the athletic department spends on basketball, at the time, there was just no possible way that a Shaka Smart was leaving his spot at VCU to go to Marquette. As we saw, he went to Texas a couple of years later. I just think Marquette fans had no idea how to process a coaching search and at that time, we were just aiming for the skies as a fanbase with these big names and I think that that probably set us up for something like Done Deal.”
On an overmatched Marquette vs. Wisconsin in Dec. 2014:
Sam: “I just remember being in attendance for that Wisconsin game, where Marquette lost to Wisconsin at home 49 to 38. It’s like a PAC-12 football score and not an NCAA basketball score. That was the most brutal game of basketball to watch. I mean, Bo Ryan-inspired college basketball is in and of itself horrendous, and then you turn in Marquette’s worst performance possibly ever.
Patrick: “I will say, coming into that game, this is a Wisconsin team that was No. 5 in KenPom. They have Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker and Nigel Hayes. The game was ugly, and Wisconsin plays slow, but to hold Wisconsin to 49 points was kind of a victory in and of itself. There was a point in the game where it was at least semi-close. Again, Marquette at this time is tasked with stopping Frank Kaminsky, essentially with Deonte Burton. Juan Anderson plays the most minutes of any Marquette player in that game. Steve Taylor, Juan Anderson and Deonte Burton. It felt like a disaster created by the fact that the roster was so gutted by Buzz’s departure.
Sam: “You want a fun stat from that game? Matt Carlino scored 18 points, with the rest of the team scoring 20.”
On Henry Ellenson beating the Badgers in 2015:
Sam: “Henry Ellenson basically shoved a metaphorical middle finger up to the entire Kohl Center. Metaphorically, he didn’t actually do it. He went, ‘I picked Marquette, and guess what? We’re better than you now.’ We definitely weren’t for that season, but we’ll keep that under wraps.
Patrick: “No, definitely not. I think Henry Ellenson in the postgame intevriew said ‘I just wanted to show them who the best player in Wisconsin was,’ and that was just earth shattering at that time. For a guy that is not really fondly remembered, even though his statistical season was fantastic. I think, with a lot of things around the program at the time, he gets kind of a bad rap because he left after a year. That was sort of his defining moment, him leading that victory and chirping in the postgame.
Sam: “Without trying to get too much into that talk, it’s not every time that you’re going to be considered a lottery prospect. Go make your money. That’s Sam Newberry’s official stance on the Henry Ellenson thing. Please feel free to at me.”
On the South Carolina game in the NCAA tournament:
Patrick: “This is the first season where you see what’s going to dog Wojo until he can fix it, this terrible defense. They finish 165th in defense and 8th in offense. That inconsistency is what ends up dogging Wojo as a coach still today. They run into South Carolina in the first round of the tournament that year. South Carolina makes the Final Four. That was a close game for a half. South Carolina just put the pedal to the metal and bullied them in the second half of that game.
Sam: “There’s never been a scarier player to me than, in the second half of that game, Sindarius Thornwell.
Patrick: “Sindarius Thornwell was the encapsulation of the worst possible player for that Marquette team. 6’5”, 6’6”, 220-pound wing that could defend, shoot, create, just everything. He destroyed them that game. That was a representation of a team that Marquette was just completely ill-equipped to play.”