With the 2017-2018 season in the books, let’s take a few moments to look back at the performance of each member of YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles this year. While we’re at it, we’ll also take a look back at our player previews and see how our preseason prognostications stack up with how things actually played out. We’ll run through roster in order of total minutes played (lowest to highest), which means today we wrap up our discussion of this past season’s freshmen.....
Freshman - #5 - Guard - 6’3” - 170 lb. - Detroit, Michigan
Greg Elliott Traditional Stats
Greg Elliott Fancy Stats
** - denotes KenPom top 500 ranking
I’d like to turn your attention to this one segment of an article on Endless Motor, which is an interview/scouting report on Elliott after his commitment to Marquette.
MESSAGE TO MARQUETTE NATION
EM: What type of game are you bringing to Marquette when you step on the court next year?
GE: Detroit PSL [Public School League] basketball. Tough, gritty basketball and play with a chip on my shoulder like no one is better than me.
I think this quote from Greg Elliott perfectly sums up what to expect from him in his freshman campaign.
His playing time will be earned on the defensive end of the floor. His length and athletic abilities should allow him to guard three different positions. Wojo put an emphasis on a recruiting class full of long, athletic players that would have the ability to come in and instantly improve a porous defense. Most of his playing time will coincide with giving Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey breathers on the bench. I think he will always be on the floor with one of the two aforementioned players. This will be a nice role for him to help cover up the defensive deficiencies of Howard and Rowsey, and be able to guard the opposition’s best perimeter player. On the offensive end, Elliott boasts an above average jump shot that ranges beyond the three-point arc. In high school, he proved to be a good ballhandler with great ability to get in the lane and either finish at the basket or distribute to open teammates. However, I’m not sure that aspect of his game is ready to be effective at the college level. In his freshman campaign, I think we can expect to see a 3 & D role from Greg Elliott. If he can bring his Detroit grit to Milwaukee, he should be able to carve out a nice niche in Marquette’s rotation, and get 10-15 minutes/game.
Why You Should Get Excited
As I mentioned earlier, it seems as though Greg is only scratching the surface of his potential. You see this all the time in high school, college, and even the pros. Something just clicks for a player, and they are able to gain confidence and reach their full potential. [Editor’s Note - See also: Butler, Jimmy] If Elliott can fulfill his defensive role with the team, he will gain confidence in his ability to play on this level and the coaching staff will also have to consider expanding his role. Height is definitely something that Marquette lacks from the guard position right now. His height and physical stature bring a different dimension to this backcourt, and his skillset could allow for an added dimension to the Marquette offense. Greg Elliott is part of one of the most athletic Marquette recruiting classes to date. Elliott has the potential to be a complete two-way player. Powerful dunks, mid-range jumper, three-point touch, skilled ballhandler, lockdown defender…these are all things Greg has the POTENTIAL to bring to the table. Athletic basketball players are fun to watch and have boatloads of potential. I get excited about watching an athletic basketball player with big potential. You should be excited too!
Greg Elliott is still a skinny dude. Can his junkyard dog mentality make up for the physical play of the Big East? Look, Greg Elliott’s main role as a freshman is going to be to defend. There are scenarios where Greg finds himself buried on the end of the bench…
He fails to pick up on the defensive scheme. Defense is not all about how long and tough you are, there is also a mental aspect to it. If Greg has a hard time with defensive calls and rotations, he may become too big of a liability to have on the floor.
He fails to adjust to the speed and physicality of Big East basketball. It is going to take some time for him to morph his body into a stronger frame.
His offensive mistakes outweigh his defensive play. If Greg begins turning the ball over and becomes an offensive liability, it may get to the point where it doesn’t pay to have him out there just for defense.
Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey are going to play A LOT. Barring foul trouble, these two should each be on the court for 30 minutes/game. That means there is not many extra minutes to go around to other guards. Haanif Cheatham and Sacar Anim are both more than capable of being good perimeter defenders and could end up vacuuming up all of the minutes that could end up going Elliott’s way.
Overall, I think Greg Elliott will have an opportunity to earn playing time this year as a freshman. As I stated, I think he is underrated when it comes to his recruiting rankings. If he can prove that he can hold down his role, he will earn more playing time in the future. In the meantime, it is important that he makes the weight room his second home. If he can gain experience on the court in a defined role as a freshman, while also gaining muscle mass during that time, I think the “Why To Get Excited” section should write itself going into his sophomore season.
It looks like your good friends here at Anonymous Eagle have done it again, another player preview that was so accurate it might as well have been the post-season review (Shoutout to NHammertime for this one). However, after carefully considering it, Brewtown Andy has decided that we do in fact have to do a post-season review no matter how Nostradamus-esque the preseason preview was.
As we expected, Greg Elliott earned his minutes on the defensive end, ranking in the top 500 in the country and second on the team in both steal percentage and block percentage, quite the feat for a 6’ 3” freshman (the 6’6.5” wingspan that we mentioned in the preview probably played a role). Something that actually surprised me was the amount of minutes that Elliott saw as a decidedly skinny freshman. Elliott led all three active freshmen, playing 45.2% of all available minutes, although that does have to do at least somewhat with the fact that both Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey sometimes enjoyed fouling the opposing players as much as they like making threes. However, it is not my job to rain on his parade here, so good job Greg for getting in the game so much.
Elliott excelled in the areas where we expected him to have at least some impact. As mentioned before, he had a great steal rate due to his long arms and above average athleticism, his block rate was perhaps more impressive as he managed not just catch a couple of opposing drivers from the weak side but constantly challenge, and block, shots as a primary defender. This ability was crucial as Elliott got a finger on a game winning attempt at the rim against Eastern Illinois (Just thinking about that game brings up terrible memories so I am going to move on from this). Elliott’s jump shot this season was not the prettiest thing I have ever seen, although he shot the ball at a 37% clip from three which is more than adequate for anyone, much less for a freshman so i really can’t complain. Honestly, after watching Howard, Hauser and Rowsey drain threes over the last two years I (we) might just be a little spoiled when it comes to pure shooting form.
I have been told that I can be a rather cynical person, also known as I enjoy declaring how bad things are and why they deserve to be bad and now I am going to do that to Greg Elliott! Ok maybe not, I really like how Elliott played and the chip he seemed to have on his shoulder so I won’t go all Simon Cowell on him. That being said, Elliott was not perfect this year. He is skinny and that hurt him sometimes against fully grown upperclassmen (See Kelan Martin). That’s actually all I can really say against the guy this year. I was fully prepared while writing everything above to bring up his huge turnover percentage but honestly 19.9% of possessions as a freshman, while a little high, is not terrible, and is much less than I anticipated it. It’s made even better especially when considering that he played nearly the entire year on what head coach Steve Wojciechowski referred to as a “broken hand.” I have also heard torn ligament floating around campus, but either way, we’re all very familiar with Elliott openly refusing to use his taped up hand to dribble when pressured.
Overall, Greg Elliott had a very fine freshman season, he was among the top defenders on the team (yes, it’s a low bar, shush), he was efficient on offense (116.0 offensive rating) even though he did not put up a high usage rate. Elliott did exactly what was required of his this season and hopefully with a healed thumb, he can take a big step forward next year by expanding his offensive game, enhancing his ball handling, and putting on roughly approximately 100 pounds of pure muscle, give or take 90.
As much as I didn’t want to talk about it above, I guess I have to talk about the Eastern Illinois game down here. Elliott didn’t put up eye popping offensive numbers as he went 2-6 from the floor with 7 points. However, as we know, Elliott’s job is not to be a scorer, and that’s why this one gets the nod. Against the Panthers, Elliott tallied four blocks and four steals, which includes the game saving block at the end of regulation. If Greg Elliott doesn’t come through in that game, our season would have been a heck of a lot shorter, although I would not have been nearly as mad after losing to that team that is kind of in Chicago and has the really bad head coach and the possibly corrupt administration and is under NCAA investigation and we are not supposed to lose to. So practically speaking, this could have been Elliott’s worst game as it made me suffer through my school losing to DePaul in an important game. Excuse me, I need to go get a new keyboard as I have broken this one.
Season Grade, on a Scale of 1-10: 7.6
This is honestly a little higher than I would like to go as I hate grade inflation unless we’re talking about my grades. However, as Jamal Cain was graded at 7.5 and even though Cain has a higher ceiling, Greg Elliott was the more effective player this year, so he must be put ahead of Cain. Therefore: 7.6. Elliott was much more productive than I personally predicted he would be (Good thing I didn’t write his preview!). His ability to sub in and suffice when Howard or Rowsey got into foul trouble was crucial to keeping this team afloat. I am looking forward to Elliott getting healthy and showing us all what he can really do not season.