As reported by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman on Sunday night, former Utah State point guard Koby McEwen will be a Golden Eagle. This is the second transfer that Marquette Golden Eagles head coach Steve Wojciechowski has reeled in this week with the primary assist going to associate head coach Brett Nelson, as Joseph Chartouny, a grad transfer from Fordham who will be able to play in 2018-19 committed to MU on Friday.
Utah State transfer Koby McEwen is headed to Marquette, source told ESPN.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 23, 2018
Unlike Chartouny, McEwen will have to sit out a year, as traditional transfer rules dictate, although he will be able to play two seasons once he is eligible. McEwen shares more than just the designation of “transfer student” with Chartouny. Both hail from the 51st state also known as Canada, and more importantly to what Wojo is trying to do with the roster, Mr. McEwen also has an impressive frame as a guard, standing at 6’4” and weighing in at 200 pounds.
A plethora of schools, including Creighton, Ohio State, Oregon, Iowa State, Tennessee, and Grand Canyon had reached out to McEwen before he did the right thing and comitted to Marquette. This is obviously a big deal for Marquette as he should be expected to fill the shoes of Joseph Chartouny in the MU backcourt once McEwen is eligible in 2019-20. In his two years at Utah State, McEwen racked up some pretty impressive awards as he was the Mountain West Conference Newcomer of the year in 2016-17 as a freshman and third-team all-conference this past season. McEwen played mostly point guard at Utah State but with his large frame had no issue playing off the ball as well. McEwen averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game as a sophomore this past season. For those who are more inclined to tempo-free stats McEwen had an offensive rating of 96.9 (ni.ce), a defensive rebounding rate of 18.5% which translates to 367th in the country and is incredibly high for a point guard, and an assist rate of 20.6% which was good for 378th in the country. McEwen did most of his damage using his large frame as a slasher, finishing around the rim or getting to the line, which he did a lot in his two seasons at Utah State.
McEwen will have plenty to work on during his re-shirt season. A turnover rate of nearly 20% in both years at Utah State is something that really hampered his offensive rating and is a major no-no in Marquette’s high-octane offense, so I would imagine he will be putting in a lot of ballhandling work. However, the main concern with McEwen is his defense which has been a bit of an anomoly, his freshman year he was one of the better pick-and-roll defender in the country (86th percentile), however last season he dropped to the fifth percentile (thanks Paint Touches for that info). However, considering that defense is a communal part of the game and McEwen was not exactly surrounded with loads of talent at Utah State, I hope he will be able to regain his defensive form during his year off considering he will spend a considerable amount of time in practice defending the trio of Chartouny, Markus Howard, and Greg Elliott. Speaking of regaining form, it would be great for McEwen to revert to his freshman form and shoot 42% from three again rather than the paltry 32% he shot this year. Again, I expect this to improve as he will not have to shoulder nearly the load he did at Utah State as Howard and Sam Hauser will both be seniors when McEwen finishes up his redshirt season.
Overall, Marquette nabbed another high quality player with a massive upside for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 teams. With great size and build for a high-major point guard and the proven ability to score, McEwen should be a critical piece for what should be a very good Marquette team with only Matt Heldt and Joseph Chartouny projected as departures.
P.S. As the rock group Cage the Elephant would say “there ain’t no rest for the wicked.” Now that Wojo has all the scholarship spots locked up for this year, it seems like it is now time for him to go out and grab some talent for 2019 as he has been visiting/watching top players DJ Carton, Jalen Wilson, and possible 2020 reclassifier Nico Mannion (personal favorite of mine as a fellow redhead). As Marquette is done in the transfer market, Wojo and Stan Johnson should be able to spend all their recruiting time on high schoolers and hopefully this increased attention they can pay these guys will lead to a commitment in the future.
Here’s what the Marquette scholarship situation looks like going forward.