The 2019-20 college basketball season is right around the corner, so let’s get into the Marquette Golden Eagles basketball roster and take a look at what to expect from each player this season. We’ll be going through the players one by one: First MU’s freshmen, then the lone graduate transfer, followed by the two guys who were on the team but sat out all of 2018-19 for one reason or another, and then wrapping up with the returning players, going in order of average minutes played per game last season from lowest to highest.
We’re going to organize our thoughts about the upcoming season as it relates to each player into categories:
- Reasonable Expectations
- Why You Should Get Excited
- Potential Pitfalls
With that out of the way, we shine a spotlight on perhaps the swing man in the two-bigs lineup..........
Redshirt Senior - #30 - Forward - 6’7” - 235 pounds - Chicago, Illinois
Ed Morrow is coming off a year where his role mostly consisted of backing up Theo John when John would get into foul trouble and/or needed a breatHAHAHA oh man, I almost made it through that. He averaged 15 minutes a game (tied with Joseph Chartouny for 6th on the team) and put up 5.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Looking at some advanced statistics via KenPom.com, Morrow pulled down rebounds at a 15.5% clip on offense and 18.3% on defense. His block rate was 4.5% (solid for 6’7”) and he had an offensive rating of 105.5. This put him about in the same ballpark as Joey Hauser, Brendan Bailey, and yes, Theo John. Though in all honesty, both Ed and Theo ended up getting around the same amount of playing time by the end of the year because they would both get in an awful lot of foul trouble. KenPom has Morrow being used on 20.7% of the possessions—five percentage points above Theo’s 15.8 mark. For Morrow, surprisingly enough, the usage was second on the team behind Markus. Not surprisingly, turnovers were a big part of that higher usage.
The biggest question for Ed is how Wojciechowski will use him this season. A secondary thing to watch out for is how the minutes will be distributed between him, Theo, and grad transfer Jayce Johnson. I will rummage through my preseason thoughts on how Ed will perform this season.
We can reasonably expect Ed to get more playing time than he did last season. The Hausers have departed which will conceivably leave some room for Ed to play the 4. Sam was more of a traditional 4 than Joey but that’s still two large chunks of playing time that will need to be filled. Wojciechowski has also been open to/constantly blabbing about the idea of playing a two-big lineup. Will that actually happen? It remains to be seen. But if it does, we will assuredly see an uptick in Ed’s minutes.
More minutes means more problems for opposing players. When Ed was in the zone, he was absolutely relentless in the paint. It was his lair and if you dared to enter, you were often punished. As previously mentioned, his 18.3% defensive rebounding rate was second to only Sam Hauser for those that played more than 15% of the team’s possessions. He also managed 17 steals and 21 blocks last year: both respectable tallies.
Let’s say Ed doesn’t start right away and Wojciechowski doesn’t implement his two bigs lineup. Okay, his role will likely be switching in and out with Theo—highly dependent on who has less fouls. If he’s able to increase his time on the court, even marginally, I think he could average near double-double range for the season. But if Wojciechowski uses this two big lineup Ed will get more playing time and could develop into consistent scorer and phenomenal rim protector.
Reasons To Get Excited
I’m excited for Ed’s offensive potential. Specifically, the posterizing dunks that we’ve been missing dearly after a long summer without basketball. Ed has the physique and mentality to pull off highlight reel dunks this season. I’m a huge fan of a filthy dunk (see the picture at the top) over a deep three, so the more Ed can dunk the better. It’s just a matter of getting in the right positions to score down low. His offense was inconsistent at times last year (mostly due to the other scoring options on the team, honestly) but I think he’ll make leaps forward after one year playing for Marquette. I also see him getting more consistent time on the court than newcomer Jayce Johnson since he has a year of experience in the system.
Another part of his offensive arsenal to watch out for is the mini sky hook that he executed at times last season. He’s enough of an athletic freak to muscle his way through defenders and get to the rim. The difference in his game this year will be how successful he is at finishing at the rim. Last season he had a 58.8% effective field goal percentage which is pretty freakin’ good. If he stays at that level and sees increased playing time, there’s no reason to think he won’t improve his scoring as well.
There are many different parts of his game that need improvement and that I could rehash here. We know what he struggled with the most last season: turnovers, fouls, and free throws. I’m not going to address free throws since you either have it or you don’t with those. So far, he hasn’t shown that he has the stroke from the charity stripe to make them consistently. Can this improve? sure. But it often doesn’t change drastically from year to year.
Turnovers were Ed’s kryptonite last season. He had a turnover rate of 23.7% which was higher than Markus Howard’s...yikes. His job on the court was either to grab the ball and pass it to a wide open man or grab it and throw it through the rim, so there’s no reason to be turning the ball over as much as he did. I expect these ball security issues to have already been worked out in the offseason. But if for some reason things pick up where they left off last year, then it will seriously impact his playing time, particularly with Jayce Johnson just looming over there.
I’m really worried about Ed’s foul troubles. Countless times we saw Wojciechowski have to take Ed out do to an accumulation of fouls. He averaged 5.7 fouls per 40 minutes according to KenPom. Which means that, yes, he would have fouled out every game had he been in there for its entirety. Doesn’t paint a pretty picture, does it? What gives me hope is the addition of Jayce Johnson to spread out those fouls three different ways down under instead of two ways. I can see a scenario where he uses Jayce and Ed interchangeably to sub for Theo. I could also see Ed start alongside Theo and Jayce coming to relieve the both of them. Regardless of how the minutes are spread between the bigs...If you’re Ed, you have to find ways to get in better position defensively to avoid silly fouls. If he can do that then he gives himself the best opportunity to stay on the court and contribute on both sides of the ball.