We’ve done a couple of rundowns of tidbits of Marquette’s impact on the high school recruiting scene since the Hausers announced their departure and/or the spring live period opened up. It’s also GRAD TRANSFER SZN, so it only makes sense that MU is suddenly very interested in adding veteran talent to the roster for the 2019-20 season.
We’ve got three names to keep an eye on. Two come from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Ben Steele last week, and the third comes from CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein on Monday afternoon. Marquette’s coaching staff already met with Alihan Demir and Akwasi Yeboah, while Jayce Johnson will visit MU this coming weekend.
Marquette is meeting today with potential transfers Alihan Demir (6-9 PF, 14.8 ppg and 6.4 rpg at Drexel) and Akwasi Yeboah (6-6 SF, 16.7 ppg and 7.7 rpg at Stony Brook). Both would be immediately eligible to play next season. #mubb— Ben Steele (@BenSteeleMJS) April 24, 2019
Source: Utah grad transfer Jayce Johnson will visit Marquette this weekend. 7-footer visited Nebraska last weekend. Averaged 7.1 PPG and 7.7 RPG. Immediately eligible.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 29, 2019
Given that Marquette just lost two players north of 6’7” from next year’s roster, the fact that Demir is listed on Drexel’s website at 6’9” and 232 pounds is pretty good news. The native of Turkey played 60 games in two seasons at Drexel after starting his American collegiate career at Central Wyoming College. He started in 55 of those games, averaging 12.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.4 assists.
This past season, he was one of two pretty high usage rate guys for Drexel. He was a quality shooter overall in terms of effective field goal percentage, but knocked down just 20 of his 71 (28.2%) of his long range attempts against Division 1 foes. He’s a quality rebounder, ranking in the top 250 in the country in defensive rebounding rate per KenPom.com, and considering that he’s 6’9”, he’s a great passer with an assist rate of 20.3% this past year. You’re not going to find a lot of 6’9”, 230 pound guys who can rank in the top 400 in assist rate, so that makes him a pretty intriguing prospect to add to a roster that needs guys who can distribute the ball.
It seems pretty clear that Steve Wojciechowski is not looking to add a notable three-point shooting component to the roster this coming season. At least that’s the impression you get from looking at these three guys, and given the level of three-point shooting that went out the door with the Hauser brothers, that’s very fascinating to see. Yeboah played for three seasons at Stony Brook, appearing in 95 games and starting in 72 of them, with 62 of the starts coming in the past two years. He has career averages of 13.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.1 assists, but Yeboah clearly had his best year as a junior. He averaged 16.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists this past season. As mentioned earlier, the 6’6”, 235 Yeboah isn’t much of a shooter, draining just 33.5% of his long range attempts in his career so far. However, he had a bit of a green light at Stony Brook, attempting over five three-pointers per game in his career and over six per game in 2018-19 while only connecting on 31.6% of them.
Like Demir, he was a high usage player at Stony Brook, so it’s hard to see how he fits in with Marquette’s orientation towards Markus Howard being ball-dominant. However, even at just 6’6”, Yeboah was a great defensive rebounder, ranking #245 in the country in terms of rate per KenPom. He also gets to the line incredibly well for an undersized power forward, and he can drain the throws when he gets there, too.
Johnson fits right into the same picture as Demir and Yeboah in terms of strengthening Marquette’s front line with the Hausers out of the picture. He’s a 7-foot tall center that weighs in at 235 pounds. He earned 32 starting assignments in 91 appearances for Utah, with 24 of the starts coming this past season. Considering that he averaged just 16.8 minutes per game for the Utes, his 5.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks as career averages are pretty tantalizing. He went for 7.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this past season, adding 1.1 blocks per game. Johnson is an elite rebounder, ranking in the top 30 in both offensive and defensive rebounding rate per KenPom, and he was top 150 in block rate, too.
The question is whether or not he can stay on the court to be effective. He played in just 50.9% of Utah’s minutes this past season, averaging 3.0 fouls per game in just 21.9 minutes. To swing it in a different direction, that’s a foul every 7.4 minutes or 5.4 per 40 minutes. Because I know you’re wondering right now: Theo John committed a foul every 5.4 minutes for a rate of 7.4 per 40 minutes. It would be logical to have two great rebounders and shot blockers on the roster. It would be problematic if both of them can’t stay on the court because of fouls. Adding Ed Morrow into the mix does help with all of this, but he’s not the rim protector that John or Johnson are.
Which potential grad transfer seems like the best fit for Marquette in 2019-20?
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