The 2019-20 college basketball season is quickly approaching, and thus, we turn our attention to previewing the upcoming Marquette Golden Eagles men’s basketball season.
To that end, we’ve got a stacked up list of questions about the 2019-20 campaign, and each of the contributors to AE are going to take a crack at answering them. There will be a new question every weekday afternoon between now and the start of the season, so be sure to stop back every day to find the new one.
Onwards, then, to the question of the day:
Who will lead the team in assists this season?
Last year, it was Markus Howard leading the way with 3.9 assists per game. However, Sam Hauser and Joey Hauser both averaged 2.4 helpers per game, and in theory, those assists are going to have to go somewhere else on the roster this season.
I don’t see Markus Howard leading the team again. With the entrance of Koby McEwen, Howard shouldn’t have to be so ball dominant. McEwen is primed to take on a drive and dish role, allowing Howard to spot up where he is one of (if not the) most deadly players in college basketball. Because of Howard’s diminished ballhandling responsibilities and McEwen’s ability to drive and kick, I expect Howard’s assists to go slightly down and McEwen to edge him out, let’s say 3.6 APG to 3.3 APG.
Markus Howard will lead this team in assists. He will lead the backcourt in minutes by a significant margin and focus more on facilitating after criticism last season about his shot selection.
I’m fully in favor of Markus Howard padding assist stats as much as possible to give him a leg up over Cassius Winston in the national Player of the Year race.
Dark horse time: I like Sacar Anim to do this. Now that he can transition back to playing more on the wing and not the backcourt, I like how he might be able to make plays to the scoring duo of Koby and Markus.
It’s almost certainly going to be Markus Howard, but that’s boring. In terms of a difference from last year, I’d love to see Theo John add a bit of passing to his game, and I think it’s entirely possible for him to do that if the guards outside of Markus can space the floor and get into spot up opportunities. As our friends at Paint Touches reminded us, Markus Howard has an eFG% of 70% on spot up shots career wise. That’s absurd. If Theo or any big can take advantage of that — hello offensive rebounding kickouts — it adds another dimension to the whole “get Markus the damn ball” plan.
I’m going to go to my grave insisting that Markus Howard was an underrated passer last season. You don’t get to be ranked #125 in the country in assist rate (per KenPom.com) on accident. The thing about that, though, is that Howard was lucky enough to be able to pass to two different 40% three-point shooters last season as well as a third guy that was raining in 39% from long range. That might not be the case this season, as the Hauser brothers have taken their sharpshooting elsewhere.
My instinct is that Howard is going to be focused on getting other guys involved in the offense when he’s the one creating the plays this season, but he’s also going to be the primary beneficiary of lots of other guys being able to keep track of the ball. Koby McEwen, Symir Torrence, Greg Elliott... that’s a lot of guys who can make Howard’s life easier, and potentially create situations where Howard doesn’t have to make the pass that gets the bucket.
At the end of the day, though, Howard’s too good to not create mismatches that lead to easy buckets elsewhere, so I’ve got Markus keeping himself in the post-season All-American First Team conversation thanks to leading the squad in assists..... but it’s going to be a close race.
Markus Howard right? Not so fast, my friend! [/extremely Lee Corso voice] Assuming Koby McEwen plays point guard the majority of the time like it seems he was brought in to do, he should end up with more assists than Markus. It won’t be by much. They’ll definitely finish first and second. Think about this: At Utah State, Koby averaged 3.1 assists/game and 3.2 assists/game in 2017 and 2018. Talk about consistency, and remember: Sam Merrill shot 45% and 46% from three-point range in those years for the Aggies. That sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it?
Who will lead Marquette in assists in 2019-20?
This poll is closed
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