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2018-19 Marquette Basketball Player Preview: #12 Matt Heldt

Our Pope nears the end of his reign

Marquette v VCU
We need more and better pictures of Matt Heldt.
Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

The 2018-19 college basketball season is right around the corner, so let’s get into the Marquette Golden Eagles basketball roster and take a look at what to expect from each player this season. We’ll be going through the players one by one: First MU’s lone true freshman, then the lone graduate transfer, followed by the three players who redshirted last season for one reason or another, and then wrapping up with the returning players, going in order of average minutes played per game last season from lowest to highest.

We’re going to organize our thoughts about the upcoming season as it relates to each player into categories:

  • Reasonable Expectations
  • Why You Should Get Excited
  • Potential Pitfalls

With that out of the way, we turn our attention to the only four-year senior on the roster.….

Matt Heldt

Senior - #12 - Center - 6’10” - 245 pounds - Neenah, Wisconsin

Unfortunately, our time with Matt Heldt opening the walls of our cold hearts and truly showing us how to love unconditionally is entering its final chapter. America’s Favorite Milkman has carved a legacy for himself after spending two years as a warm body when Henry Ellenson and Luke Fischer needed breathers*. His journey is the idealized version of the prototypical NCAA athlete and the Marquette population has taken notice. Being the only “program” senior on the team (Joseph Chartouny will only be on the team for one year), all eyes will be on him over the final stretch of the season.

*Remember the movie Warm Bodies? It came out at the tail end of the “All the teens love vampires now!” phase and the movie was just Twilight with an attempt at making the main character Jesse Eisenberg in Zombieland.

I’m going to do my best to frame our expectations of him, but I’ll be honest; it won’t surprise you. He plays a lot of minutes and his role is fairly straightforward, so we’re all going to notice similar things. I do have a personal goal that I want to share with you before that, though. I want Heldt to be referred to as “The Milkman” by a TV broadcast this year. Much like “#TheThing” last year, this nugget of folklore found in the crevices of our collective was able to spread to articles and broadcasts alike last year based solely on the volume of tweets whenever Andrew Rowsey launched himself into defenders. This year we have the added advantage of a signature…move? dance? jig? I don’t know how to describe it, but you know it. Here’s a gif of it. I just really enjoy when the micro-passions of a community can be brought to light with a brief peeling back of the metaphoric curtain.

There’s not much I can do to advance this goal. All I have is a subpar Twitter account and plans to go to the game against Southern. The rest is up to fate that I have no choice but to accept.

Reasonable Expectations

Heldt will likely enter the year as the starting center. With him being the only senior, the cynic could reference the Peter Principle as the sole reason for his expected playing time. I then would ask that cynic to find another player in the school who is 6’10” and can also play basketball. I don’t think the cynic would have an answer for that.

I don’t see any reason why Heldt’s role on the team will change. He’s a large body that provides adequate defense and a well above average rebounding ability. On offense, he serves as the Fredo of this basketball team, meaning his job is to not screw anything up. But while Fredo let his ego get the best of him and made dumb mistakes by turning over key information to Hyman Roth, Heldt has molded perfectly to his role and refused to turn over information (the ball) to Roth (basketball players not on Marquette).

One of the many reason why Marquette’s defense was bad last year is that oftentimes Heldt was either the best or second best defender on the team, which was never a good sign. He’s a fine defender, but he should never be one of the guys that a possession hinges on. He’s like the Kiss Me Thru The Phone of Marquette. If you’re looking for optimism this year’s defense, Heldt will almost always be the third or fourth best defender on the floor. While that doesn’t absolve him of assignments like Jessie Govan and Udoka Azubuike, this will allow him to dedicate himself more to those assignments instead of having to constantly help out at the last minute when a guard inevitably drives through Marquette’s first line of defense.

Why You Should Get Excited

Look at this at the :20 mark. Looks like Our Milkman developed himself a little midrange shot. It’s not really that surprising, considering his 87.5% FT% last year, but it’s a nice little treat to have. He doesn’t need to be Thomas Welch on the baseline, but it’s something Wojo can hopefully rely on if they need a gimmick bucket in a tight game.

There’s not really much else you can do to improve on the second highest Offensive Rating in the nation, so that’s about all I got there. Hopefully on defense he either stops hedging on ball screens or gets way better at it. With better guard defenders this year I can’t imagine he’ll be expected to do that with the frequency he did last year.

I also want him to get an alley oop this year. I would rip out my own lungs if that happened.

Potential Pitfalls

I think his rebound numbers will fall a bit overall, but I figure that will be more of a symptom of the players around him, like Ed Morrow, than anything else. Really that just decreases his chances of another double-double, which would be quite disheartening but not necessarily impactful to the team’s success.

I don’t know. Maybe his turnover rate increases a bit? Maybe he refuses to chuck up 17 threes on senior night, despite our rampant requests? Maybe he gets Eric Hinske’s back tattoo*? Maybe he tries to lick a referee? Again, we have a pretty good idea of who he is and what his role will be. I’m just ready for it all to begin.

*I ask a lot of you as readers, but this is one thing I really need you to do right now. Go look up “Eric Hinske Back Tattoo”. Like, now.