Okay, we’ve got some catching up to do. We had a new scholarship offer pop up back on Sunday, but with a few other things going on, we never got an article written about it. As the days have drifted by this week, Marquette men’s basketball has handed out a few more scholarship offers. We’re up to five guys now, one from 2019 and four from 2020. The 2019 one is the most particularly interesting and pressing one right here, so we’ll start with that one.
2019 PG Dexter Akanno (Blair Academy) has been officially offered by Marquette University. pic.twitter.com/WeU9Qncpij— BTI Basketball Club (@BTIHoops) July 29, 2018
Blair ‘19 postgrad Dexter Akanno was offered this weekend by Marquette and Northeastern. Kansas State, Nebraska, VA Tech and Texas among others inquiring. @roberticart— Coach Joe Mantegna (@CoachMantegna) July 30, 2018
The first thing I do when I see that Marquette has made a new scholarship offer is run a search for “[prospect’s name] 247” to find their 247 Sports page. That tactic failed me this time around as Akanno does not have one. The backup is Verbal Commits.... and Akanno doesn’t have a page there, either. It’s a little weird, as Akanno is enough of a prospect that Marquette is offering him a scholarship at this point, but no notable recruiting service has bothered to put something together for him.
First, some details on Akanno. From this article on Akanno from PrepHoops.com in April of this year, we know that he’s a 6’4”, 190 pound guard. He has spent his prep career at Valencia High School in California, and that’s the one that’s northeast of Los Angeles, not the one out near Anaheim. As you can tell from the tweets embedded about his offer, he’s going to be doing a post-graduate year at Blair Academy, which is the boarding school in northern New Jersey, right near the Pennsylvania state line. Here’s Akanno describing himself in that article:
“I’m gritty with a chip on my shoulder,” Akanno told Prep Hoops So-Cal. “I’m relentless going at my defender, but I do make it a point to find my teammates. I can be unselfish with this group of guys and set them up.”
The Prep Hoops article says that Akanno was receiving interest at the time from high majors like Oregon State and Virginia, but perhaps more importantly to our conversation here, he was drawing attention from Ivy League schools as well. Translation: He’s a smart kid who feels he needs the year at Blair more from a physical basketball perspective than having anything to do with academics. This was only interest, though, as his only offer at the time was from Cal Poly. As you can see from the tweets above, his recruiting world is currently exploding with tippy top high major interest, so we’ll see where this all goes.
Of course, there is the question of how and why Marquette got involved at this point. The how is relatively simple, as it sounds like Akanno had a great game defending Nico Mannion recently. Marquette is, at least for now, still in the running for the top point guard prospect that just reclassified to 2019, and it stands to reason that at least one of the MU coaches saw that performance.
The why gets a little more complicated, as Marquette seems to have a number of irons still in the fire for 2019, particularly Dahmir Bishop who earned three coaches worth of attention recently. If that’s the case, why is Steve Wojciechowski out here offering scholarships to guys who could be categorized as diamonds in the rough? Maybe we all turn around in six months and Akanno is suddenly ranked in the top 100 and none of this matters. There’s also the fact that, well, if we’re being honest, Marquette doesn’t really need to make sure they have impact freshmen coming in for 2019. Matt Heldt and Joseph Chartouny are the only two scholarship seniors for 2018-19, which means we’re going to see a 2019-20 MU squad dominated by juniors (Greg Elliott, Jamal Cain, Theo John) and seniors (Markus Howard, Sam Hauser, Sacar Anim, Ed Morrow). No matter who ends up taking the spots vacated by Heldt and Chartouny, they’re not going to be asked to carry a heavy load, at least not as a freshman. It’s fine if Wojo et. al. are digging a little deeper for a late bloomer.
Onwards to the 2020 guys, then....
Hillcrest Prep 2020 G Dalen Terry, a transfer from Corona del Sol, received Marquette basketball offer— Richard Obert (@azc_obert) July 31, 2018
If you’re scrolling too fast on this page and thought that picture up there was Jamal Cain and not Dalen Terry, I’m not going to blame you all that much. 247 Sports lists Terry as a 6’6”, 170 pound small forward. He’s a four-star prospect according to their Composite system, and ranks #34 in the county. Hailing from Tempe, Arizona, Terry already has offers from the in-state Sun Devils, along with California and USC.
Terry attends Corona Del Sol High School in Tempe, where the Aztecs went just 15-13 last season after going 26-4 and reaching the Arizona 6A state championship game the year before. Corona Del Sol won four straight state titles earlier this decade, so that’s definitely a bit of a downturn for a squad that had just four players returning from that title game appearance. MaxPreps doesn’t have stats for Terry’s sophomore season, but in his freshman campaign, he chipped in 4.5 points and 2.7 rebounds per game to that team that reached the 6A title game.
I’m not immediately seeing any highlight packages available online that I can embed for you here, but he does have an extensive list of clips on his Hudl page.
Marquette has offered 2020 five-star Isaiah Cottrell. Another high-major offer for one of the best bigs in the class.— Jake (@jakeweingarten) July 31, 2018
Cottrell hails from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he attends Bishop Gorman High School. He’s listed by 247 Sports as a 6’8”, 200 pound power forward. Like Terry, he’s a four-star prospect, and Cottrell is ranked as the #47 player in the class of 2020.
Cottrell has a looooong list of interested schools at this point, including offers from **deep breath** Arizona, Creighton, Florida, Kansas, LSU, Oklahoma, St. John’s, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Oregon. And those are just the highlights. Marquette is very clearly fashionably late to the party here, so let’s definitely file this recruitment in the “well, let’s see what happens” department.
NevadaPreps.com’s stats page for Bishop Gorman is hilariously incomplete in terms of the whole roster, but it lists Cottrell has averaging 12.1 points and 10.3 rebounds last season. It also lists him with 132 blocks, which would average out to just over four per game. The team went 29-4 last year, including a Nevada 4A state title and, according to MaxPreps, was one of the best high school teams in the country.
We move a little closer to home for this one. Steward hails from Oak Park, Illinois, where he attended Fenwick High School. The 6’1”, 150 pound point guard is ranked #126 in the Class of 2020 by 247 Sports’ Composite system, but it’s important to note that they still have him as a four-star prospect that deep into the rankings.
For the most part, Steward’s recruiting attention has come from relatively local sources, with offers from Creighton, DePaul, and Illinois. He’s also picked up an offer from Florida, but that was back in April of this year.
You may have noticed that I used the past tense in terms of Steward’s education. Not long after Fenwick underwent a coaching change, Steward announced that he was transferring following the end of the academic year. Two things: This article from the Chicago Tribune says that Steward’s departure from Fenwick has nothing to do with the coaching change and 2) the new head coach says that he was aware that the change was coming for a while. The Sun-Times says that he made a visit to Monteverde Academy in Florida and as of August 1st, Steward still haven’t made a choice as to his next school. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that Steward’s recruiting will blow up a bit if he ends up at a major basketball academy in the vein of Monteverde, so who knows where this path ends up for the Golden Eagles.
While he’s listed as a point guard, it appears that Steward is a bit of a do-it-all player, averaging 18.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.0 steals this past season. He was also a major component in Fenwick’s run to the Class 3A state title game as a freshman, scoring 49 points in their final two games of the tournament.
Here’s a four minute highlight reel that was posted back in January.
Blessed to have received an offer from Marquette University ‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/kgLFbSPRlC— Julian Strawther (@JulianStrawther) August 1, 2018
We’ve got a bit of “save the best for last” here, but it’s really just the order I threw the tweets into the article to start with more than anything else. As it happens, Strawther is ranked #22 in the country by 247 Sports’ Composite system and he’s the #1 player in the state of Nevada for the Class of 2020, just barely nicking past Isaiah Cottrell.
The 6’7”, 190 pound small forward has a list of offers that matches his top 25 ranking: Arizona, Kansas, UCLA, Florida, Gonzaga, and Oklahoma, along with Creighton and DePaul as well. Two intrepid souls have gone so far as to predict that Strawther will end up at Kansas, even though he can’t sign a national letter of intent for another 15 months. Given the heavy hitters already in the field, I’m not exactly holding my breath on this one for Marquette, but hey, weirder things have happened.
Strawther averaged 23.9 points and 8.4 rebounds last season for Liberty High School in Henderson, Nevada. The team went 18-10 overall and reached the Nevada Class 4A regional semifinals, leaving them three games shy of a potential title game against Bishop Gorman and Isaiah Cottrell.
Here’s a six minute reel from this past January where Strawther put up 45 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in a game. It’s worth watching if for no other reason than to see the copyright infringement that Liberty High School is engaging in with their Patriots logo.
As always, we close with the scholarship chart. In regards to 2019 and Dexter Akanno, Marquette has two spots opening up for next fall and has no current commitments. For 2020, the Golden Eagles will be looking to replace four seniors, including Markus Howard and Sam Hauser. That’s a pretty steep hill to climb, so we’ll see where things go from here.