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 Arizona native who shoots the ball with a rate as hot as the summers of his home state....
Junior - #0 - Guard - 5’11” - 175 pounds - Chandler, Arizona
It is with great honor that I attempt to tell you what Markus Howard is going to do for Marquette this year. If you know anything about basketball or even remotely know something about Marquette, you know about Markus Howard. He’s been the face of the franchise so to speak ever since he stepped on campus and had the best three-point shooting percentage in the country his freshmen year. Since you definitely should know who this man is, I’m not going to use stats in this piece. For starters, I hate stats class. If you want to get all excited about his numbers just look here or here. It gives you every statistical category for your own personal eye candy.
Last season, Howard had the difficult task of playing alongside Andrew Rowsey. It was difficult in the sense that they are both prolific scorers that are extremely undersized and struggle mightily on defense. Verrryyy frequently when one player would “go off,” the other would stay quiet in the scoring department. Not so fun fact: Howard only scored 20+ points in six of the 18 Big East games last year. Only once (Senior Day against Creighton) did Howard and Rowsey both eclipse 20 points in the same game. As exciting as that team was to watch, Howard may be much better off without Rowsey.
Well, Howard has the most talented team surrounding him that he’s had as he enters his third year. It’s the best Golden Eagle team talent-wise since 2013. Enter primary ball-handler with exceptional defense Joseph Chartouny via grad transfer from Fordham. Just his presence on the court will help Howard. He’ll be able to play off the ball and be more creative as to how he wants to score. Chartouny is also a great passer and will give Howard a lot of easy baskets which didn’t happen too often last year.
It’s not just Chartouny’s presence that will help though. Big Red Ed (Morrow) will be stout in the paint and pull down many rebounds if history repeats itself. He did this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Nebraska. That will give the the Golden Eagles many second chance opportunities. And what better way to get some second chance points than for Howard to leak out behind the arc after a rebound and drain a three. I envision this happening quite a bit this season.
I expect Howard to finish in the top 5 in the Big East in scoring, top 3 in 3-point field goal percentage, first in threes made, and first in free throw percentage. He will finish on the All-Big East first team at the end of the year.
Reasons To Get Excited
Howard could be the best shooter in the country. So he won’t be needing the ball in his hands as much because he won’t be playing point guard when Chartouny’s in. Side note: Howard’s usage rate is going to be through the roof this season. That means that he can move around and get open and won’t be forced to always create his own shot. He’ll have more catch and shoot opportunities which will improve his shooting percentage.
Another thing going Howard’s way is that it’s not just a three-headed monster for Marquette. Alongside Howard you have Sam Hauser, Joey Hauser, Sacar Anim, Ed Morrow, and Brendan Bailey who can all post nice scoring outputs. Not to mention the occasional double-double by The Milkman Matt Heldt and Jamal Cain’s 15 point game on 5-7 from deep once every few games. Dream scenarios here.
“But what does this all mean, Besay?” Well, it will give opposing defenses fits that’s for sure. They can’t just focus on stopping two players because any of the MU players listed above can go off on any given night. We still have to see how Joey Hauser and Brendan Bailey develop, but I believe they will be double digit scorers by the end of the year.
Howard will excel because he won't be guarded as tightly or double-teamed. There’s just too much talent on the roster to do that. I think he’s simply going to be more open this year and will take full advantage by DESTROYING opposing defenses. Best shooter in the country and Big East Player of the Year are definitely within grasp for the Arizona native.
Okay so I’m going to be academic here and actually put some thought into this one even though I don’t want to. Let’s be honest, this is how we BS’d many papers in college.
Let’s talk about Howard’s defense. If it doesn’t even marginally improve this season, he could cause the Golden Eagles some trouble defending the pick and roll. Thankfully the rest of the team has the potential to be at the very least average on defense so it might not be noticeable. Thinking long-term, it would be of great interest for Howard to improve his defense if he wants a legitimate shot at a top end pro career. It can be any aspect of his defense really. On ball defending, steals, charges taken it doesn’t matter to me.
If Howard’s defense doesn’t improve his minutes could take a slight hit when Wojo needs a defensive lineup on the court. As mentioned above, Marquette has options on offense other than Howard. While having Howard on the floor is the preference, if Wojo feels he has a better defensive option without him, the Golden Eagles will still be able to score fairly easily.