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What Would Marquette Do If College Basketball Had A Trade Deadline?

There aren’t any game this week, so my basketball void must be filled

HoopHall Miami Invitational
What would Marquette have to give up to get a scorer like Miami’s Zach Johnson?
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

I love trade deadlines. There’s nothing better than refreshing Twitter every 5 seconds on July 31st, wondering when MLB insider Ken Rosenthal is going to finally drop a bomb instead of nibbling with words like “interested” or “kicking the tires.” Rumors and immediate reactions swarm through the air like locusts. It’s addicting, but it also doesn’t exist for college basketball. Sad! Let’s change that. To satiate my thirst for trade chaos, I’m going to go through an entire hypothetical exercise until my cup overfloweth.

The exercise is determining what moves Marquette Golden Eagles would make if there was a trade deadline for college basketball. If this was a reality, the deadline would likely be around New Year’s Day because of Mark Emmert’s secret obsession with U2. To lay out the ground rules, players can be moved around as if they had contracts and extra scholarships can be thrown in to sweeten the pot. Why? Because it’s my thought exercise and I can invent any rules I want. You want different rules? Write your own blog.

Before I get into what Marquette would like to receive, we should determine what we’d be willing to part with, because ‘tis the season. I have a massive pet peeve when fans throw out trade hypotheticals on radio shows. In an attempt to get a slam dunk player, fans will make up for the total value gained by just piling up mediocre talent. Trades don’t make sense when the total value gained and lost equals out. The efficiency of that value matters.

I’m going to put out some names as assets that we should be ready to part with and it will be uncomfortable for you. My response to you is to shove it. Here’s my roster breakdown:

Laugh In The Coach’s Face If They Ask For This Player:

  • Markus Howard. Everyone except this guy will be be in agreement.
  • Sam Hauser
  • Joey Hauser
  • Matt Heldt. You’ll have to pry him from my cold, dead hands. [Editor’s Note: Hey, wait a minute.....]

Yeah You Can Part With Them But No One Will Be Begging For Them

  • Joseph Chartouny. A Perfectly Fine Player, but 3 months of control for a sixth man doesn’t have much value.
  • Ike Eke. Still not entirely certain he exists.
  • The Walk Ons

There’s Value If You Want a Decent Role Player, But Don’t Expect To Get A Star From These Guys

  • Brendan Bailey. Having potential doesn’t have as much value as you think it does.
  • Jamal Cain
  • Sacar Anim
  • Ed Morrow
  • Koby McEwen

If You Want A Meaningful Player, Get Ready To Part With Them

  • Greg Elliott
  • Theo John

I didn’t spend sleepless nights thinking about the road Marquette should go down here. It’s pretty easy: Markus Howard needs a friend, in a basketball sense. I guess he needs a few in general, too. Friends make life worth living, ya feel?

I don’t think Howard has that many issues finding friends outside of basketball. He seems like a congenial fellow who would be the bright light in any room. Thus, we’ll focus on the friends we can find him during basketball games. He needs a specific friend, one that can score on his own. We saw during the Kansas State win that if anyone can take the attention off of Markus for even a second, he can go off. Right now he’s Brie Larson during the first half of Room and we need to find him his Jacob Tremblay.

So, more specifically, what should we be looking for? Well, I want a guard between the heights of 6’1” and 6’5”, since there’s higher defensive floor for tall people. I also want a senior, since the scoring will be better for Marquette next year anyway and it would bring down the asking price. I want a player from a high major conference, for the ease of transition. I don’t care that much about outside shooting, but I do care that he can drive to the basket and finish. I’d like him to have a sense of humor as well. And be a decent cook. Finally, he needs to take care of the ball since that’s been an issue for this team.

Those are my demands. Who meets them? Well, T-Rank has a gorgeous feature where you can filter players based on their numbers, so I’m using that. Inputting my fancy features, I get 5 players: Corey Davis, Jr., from Houston, Torin Dorn from NC State, DaQuan Jeffries from Tulsa, Zach Johnson from Miami (by way of Florida Gulf Coast), and Tarin Smith from UConn. Sadly, I was not able to filter any of them out by their ability to make shrimp etouffee. Get on that, Bart!

Corey Davis is by far the best of this group. He has the highest usage of them and shoots 58% at the rim while getting assisted on 9% of those makes, which is ridiculously low. He is a little overqualified for what Marquette needs, and I don’t want to leverage their future for him, so he’s out.

On the flip side, Tarin Smith has a rather low usage and, while he finishes well at the rim, he doesn’t shoot well from midrange and also takes a lot of those shots. Bad combo! I don’t know if he’d be much of a solution, and I don’t want to give anything to UConn because Connecticut is a dumb state (The Nutmeg State? No one likes nutmeg that much.), so he’s out.

Of the remaining 3, I think Zach Johnson (not the golfer) provides the best value for what Marquette needs this season without needing to cripple future teams in order to get him. The Dunk City transfer currently has the highest free throw rate on Miami and is in the 75th percentile in both pick-and-roll and transition offense, per Synergy (S/O Paint Touches for giving me that info). What he has struggled with this year is his outside shot, going 9-for-32 from deep to this point in the year. He’s a career 36.7% shooter, though, so there might be some improvements in the future.

Marquette doesn’t need a lockdown defender at this time (#PhrasesIDidn’tExpectToSayInOctober), but Johnson rates as an overall average defender, so he’s fine for our purposes.

So, we have our target. How do we woo Jim Larranaga into giving him to us? My initial suggestion of just putting Jim in a nursing home and kidnapping Zach would be unethical, effective as it may be. We’d have to do this the dumb old-fashioned way and offer Miami a player or two in return.

What helps Marquette’s case is that Johnson would only have 50ish% of one season to provide value and the Hurricanes are struggling hard this year, so they might not be in great tournament position once conference season rolls around. As it turns out, centering an offense around a 5’7” dude isn’t going to make for great results. I shouldn’t be that mean to Chris Lykes, actually. He still remains my inspiration that short guys can be whatever they want to be, except viable dating options.

Oh God how am I going to transition out of this labyrinth? I’ll just start a new paragraph and pretend that didn’t happen.

So Miami isn’t good, and they probably won’t be as long as Dewan Hernandez is sitting out, which may be forever because the NCAA is trash. My suggestion to him is that he switches his name back to Dewan Huell. Can’t charge ya if your name is changed. That’s what my great grand pappy told me on his deathbed.

Sweet Jesus I did it again. Whatever. New paragraphs solve everything.

Let’s find a player to give back to Miami! With 3 seniors on the ‘Canes now, including Johnson, they could stand to gather some young talent. I think Greg Elliott could be a good centerpiece for this package. There’s a good chance that this could turn out to be a net negative from Marquette’s perspective if Elliott turns out to be the star that I like to think he can be. His defense is already tremendous and showed some real offensive potential last year. From Miami’s side, however, Greg comes with a lot of risk and it’s all condensed into that left thumb of his. If he can’t overcome that injury, then he’s simply a very good role player for the rest of his career. That’s certainly not a bad thing, but it might not be worth completely punting on this season.

With the outlook of the team next year, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to remove a bit of the logjam at the guard position. Howard and Sacar Anim are due to continue their roles, Koby McEwen will get his share of minutes, and at least one of the Jamal Cain/Brendan Bailey duo will be developed enough to gather minute while the Brothers Hauser are on the bench. Landing that key third scorer can unlock a ton of potential for the team this year, while keeping most of the main contributors for next year. Miami in turn will churn out some value in an otherwise disappointing year that will hopefully bring some stability into the coming years.

So what say you, State of the U? Would you trade Zach Johnson for Greg Elliott straight up? Would you like to counter offer? Are you aware that students that go to the University of Minnesota also call their school “The U”? Does their attempted ownership of that phrase make as little sense to you as it does to me? Please give us your answers to all of these.