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 we wrap up this year’s reviews with the lone senior on the roster......
Redshirt Senior - #30 - Guard - 5’11” - 180 lb. - Lexington, VA
Andrew Rowsey Traditional Stats
Andrew Rowsey Fancy Stats
** - denotes KenPom top 500 ranking
Rowsey had a 24.4 percent usage rate according to KenPom last year. That’s a pretty solid number for a guy who played barely north of 50 percent of Marquette’s minutes. What’s really cool is that he led the Big East in Offensive Rating during conference play, which is when his minutes really started going up. I would expect his minutes this year to increase to between 25-28 per contest. It’s tough to see Wojo not having at least one of Rowsey or Howard on the floor at any given time, excluding a blowout.
How reasonable is it to expect Rowsey’s 3-point percentage to stay north of 40 percent? Fairly reasonable. Equal to his 44.7 percent from last season? Yeah, not that ridiculous to expect. North of that? Maybe? I can’t predict exactly where his percentage is going to fall. We know who Rowsey is at this point. He’s going to make a lot of shots, and most of them will be from beyond the arc.
What about the rest of his game? I’m just as curious as you are to see who does the majority of the ball handling when both he and Howard are out on the court. My guess would be Howard, but they’ll do a lot of sharing. Rowsey averaged 2.3 assists last year, which isn’t terrible, as he’s not that kind of guard. Hopefully that can change this year, even slightly. It’s worth noting that Rowsey threw together 11 assists in the charity exhibition against UWM. Marquette will rely a lot more on the three this year, so the floor will be spread. Considering all the new blood on the team, there’s a lot of inexperience. Rowsey by far has the most experience, so feeding new guys in spots where they can score will be crucial.
Why You Should Get Excited
There’s nothing I haven’t already said that can make you more excited for Rowsey’s season. He’s a lights-out shooter, he’s automatic from the charity stripe, he’ll get in someone’s face and he’s going to get the Bradley Center riled up. So, yeah, nothing else I can say.
But there’s something I can show you.
Wowsey. By the way, watch that a few dozen more times to watch Sam Hauser’s reaction. He knows it’s in before it starts to come down.
I don’t want to pick on a guy for being short. I’m short. I’m the same size as Andrew Rowsey, and a much worse shooter. But it could be a problem. I re-watched the 2017 Villanova win recently (Really bad first half, really good second half, lots of good tape there), and noticed some things related to his size.
First, on offense. As you might remember, Markus Howard only played seven minutes due to fouls, so it was primarily Rowsey and Duane Wilson running the show. Something else you might remember, Marquette last year (or any year ever, I feel like) didn’t handle the press very well. Aside from the Villanova game, they almost coughed up a lead against Georgetown because of it. Most players on both of these teams have generally longer arms than Rowsey. These are all facts you need to know. Back to ‘Nova. There was a point in the first half where ‘Nova was in a half court press and Rowsey received the ball a step into Marquette’s side of the court. The Wildcats sent two guys and swarmed him. Turnover.
It’s not the worst thing in the world. It was one turnover in the first half of a game Marquette eventually won. But it’s the principle that concerns me. Not many teams can press effectively at will, but when they do, trapping Rowsey or Howard is going to be a nightmare scenario for Marquette. I’m nitpicking, but I’m picturing a close game where Marquette’s getting pressed and their point guard can’t see over the opposing players.
On defense, it’s obvious stuff that you have to accept if you want Rowsey’s offense. He just doesn’t have the physical abilities to be a great defender. I love his toughness and #grit, but that only gets you so far. In that same Villanova game, Donte DiVincenzo jab-stepped one way and quickly crossed over, finding an open lane that Marquette had to collapse on and left someone wide open in the corner. First of all, Rowsey just isn’t quick or athletic enough to stay in front of guys. Second of all, he’s not quick or athletic enough to get beat and still be able to recover.
Third of all, he’s a lights-out shooter who’s going to do everything he can to win. He’ll be fine.
We are going to open the discussion of Andrew Rowsey’s final year of college hoops with what Connor wrote up there about his ballhandling, in particular, in conjunction with his shooting. As mentioned, Rowsey averaged 2.3 assists per game last year, but of course, he did have a boost in his minutes later in the year. That gave him an assist rate of 19.7% last year, which was pretty good, and according to College Basketball Reference, that worked out to 4.4 helpers per 40 minutes.
That’s a pretty good year, and if he had repeated that again this season, I think we all could have gone home happy. He didn’t, though.
Instead, Rowsey averaged 4.8 assists per game, which was the fourth best mark in the Big East. His rate? 28.6% of Marquette’s baskets while Rowsey was on the floor came by way of an assist from him, just barely short of ranking in the top 100 in the country according to KenPom. It’s a mark of 5.9 per 40 minutes.
That’s really, really good.
Like I said, I wanted to talk about his passing in conjunction with his shooting. Rowsey became the first player in Marquette history to attempt at least 300 three-point shots in a season this year. Hell, he became the first player to attempt more than 280 triples in a season. No Marquette fan has literally seen anyone shoot as many three-pointers as Rowsey did in 2017-18. He fell five overall shot attempts short of becoming the seventh MU player to ever attempt 500 shots in a season, and that’s a hell of a list that he missed out on: Don Kojis, Jerel McNeal, Lazar Hayward, George Thompson, Dwyane Wade, and Butch Lee.
The point here is that he shot the ball a whole hell of a lot this season, almost more than anyone else that’s ever put on the blue and gold. Rowsey connected on over 41% of his three-pointers, so you’re not going to hear me complain about a single one of his shots. If you can drop ‘em in at that rate consistently, knock yourself right out as far as I’m concerned.
So the question is this: How rare of a combination of shooting and passing did we see this season?
It turns out it’s very, very, very rare.
To be clear what we’re talking about here: 4.7 assists per game (went low to make sure we caught rounding up), 300 three-point attempts in a season (Rowsey had 301), and a three-point shooting percentage of .410 (Rowsey was at .415).
College Basketball Reference has a database going back to the 1992-93 season. In all of those seasons, there has been a grand total of ONE OTHER PLAYER to accomplish that much shooting and that much passing in the same season. Jay Williams, for Duke, in 2000-01. He had 6.1 assists per game while attempting 309 triples and connecting on 42.7% of them. Williams was named First Team All-ACC that season AND NABC Player of the Year AND was a consensus First Team All-American AND Duke won the national championship.
He’s the only one to do what Rowsey did this year. That’s it. That’s the list.
We can honestly say this about Andrew Rowsey’s senior campaign: When he was on, there were very few players in the country who could do what he could do, and there were even fewer players in the country who could stop him. His court vision, his sense of timing, his sense of spacing, his ability to catch fire, his ability to feed off of crowds... oh, my, his ability to feed off crowds.
I was only able to attend one of the NIT games at the McGuire Center, the one against Oregon. I have never seen a player so more connected with the 3.700 people watching him and cheering him on than I did when I saw Andrew Rowsey in that game. 6-for-11 from long range to finish with 29 points, nine assists, wildly gesticulating to the crowd after big plays, not just his big plays, but the big plays by any of his teammates.... it was a sight to see.
It almost — ALMOST — overrides the insanity that was the three straight possessions late against Creighton on Senior Day. Marquette in desperate need of a win to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive, the last game at the Bradley Center, maybe Rowsey’s last home game ever, tight game coming down to the final minutes.
And then this, on successive possessions:
From up one to up six in just 82 seconds, on three of the more absurd shots that you’ll ever see. The crazy part? No one — definitely no one on the second and the third — thought it was a bad shot for him. We talk about the “NO NO NO NO NO NO okay fine” type of shot. Rowsey never took those. Never.
Before we wrap up, we should probably talk about #TheThing. Connor brought it up in the preview, so we can’t just ignore it, especially since we were actually keeping track of them this season. Your final count on #TheThing, the greatest pump fake weapon possibly in recorded college basketball history: 28. 23 in the regular season, one in the Big East tournament, four in the NIT.
By default, we have to consider his 35 point performance at home against Georgetown, because it’s his Marquette career high. 6-of-9 from long range and a perfect 11-for-11 from the charity stripe is pretty good, but just one assist for Rowsey there. Can’t be that one, then. I think, instead, we have to look at the road overtime game against Georgetown. After toasting the Hoyas in Milwaukee, Rowsey fired away for 28 points in a must-win game following the road loss to DePaul. However, more importantly than that, Rowsey hauled in four rebounds and dished a season high 10 assists to help Marquette secure the overtime win. He also had a big triple in the extra session to help MU rally from a Georgetown burst that had the Golden Eagles down by four early, and he hit a pull-up dagger with 34 seconds left to lock up the W. That’s some pretty nice all-around work. Lots of points, lots of assists, big shots in big moments, a pretty good rebounding total for a diminutive guard, too.
Season Grade, on a scale of 1 to 10
I’ve gotten all the way down here without even mentioning that Rowsey broke the Marquette single season scoring record, as well as the single season made three-pointers record, surpassing Dwyane Wade and Steve Novak, respectively. This was, by any objective measure, a wildly successful season for Andrew Rowsey, and quite honestly, much better than we could have possibly expected from him. Yes, he was probably a defensive liability. No, I don’t care. I’m giving Rowsey a 10.