Honestly, if you haven’t heard that Class of 2020 top 80 forward Justin Lewis committed to Marquette men’s basketball last Wednesday, I think it’s time to start asking yourself some hard questions about your priorities in life. Do try and catch up by at least reading our collection of reactions and statements about Lewis, who he is as a prospect, and what he adds to the Golden Eagles roster for next fall.
In this article, we’re going to move on from Lewis, or at least move forward. The best thing to do at this juncture is drop in the very up to date scholarship table so we’re all on the same page.
Marquette has four seniors for the 2019-20 season: Sacar Anim, Markus Howard, Ed Morrow, and grad transfer Jayce Johnson. On top of those four scholarships popping open for the fall of 2020, head coach Steve Wojciechowski currently has one scholarship sitting open and available.
While there’s always the possibility of a mid-year transfer for that spot, odds are that it will sit open until the 2020-21 season. That would give MU five total spots to fill, and as talented as he might be, Justin Lewis is only one man and only fills one spot. Wojciechowski and his staff appear to be headed towards a future where they have four more roster spots to fill. Perhaps more importantly, as we look at the 2020-21 roster with more than a year’s lead time, we can honestly say that the only proven commodity on that nine man roster is Theo John on defense. Sure, we all expect someone to step up and show what they can do on offense in 2019-20 to make us all feel better about the future, but that’s more hope than it is actual reliance on anything that we know for sure.
The point is that it’s very possible that Marquette might need a big splash from their 2020 freshman class. At worst, they’re going to have to help contribute to the loss of Markus Howard, who will likely become both the Marquette and Big East all-time leading scorer by the time his collegiate career is done.
So, who’s next on the radar for Wojciechowski?
Let’s start with what impact Lewis makes on the recruiting class. Or, rather, I think, lack of impact. The scouting report on him is that he is developing into a versatile wing player, capable of attacking from the outside or mixing it up inside. If he is truly capable of sliding between roles as a 3 or a 4 with occasional spot duties defending a 2 or a 5, then you can kind of recruit whatever kind of player you want around him and then figure out what role is best for Lewis later on.
We can start with Nimari Burnett and Myles Stute, both of whom recently included the Golden Eagles in a cutdown list. Stute has MU in a final seven, while Burnett has Marquette in a final 12. Burnett, a 6’3”, 185 pound combo guard, is clearly the splashier recruit, as he currently sits at #23 in the country according to 247 Sports. Stute, a 6’6”, 220 pound small forward, is currently ranked #225 in the country by the same service, but he has all high major squads in his final seven along with MU.
If we wander back a few more days, we find Osasere Ighodaro including the Golden Eagles in his final four schools. Ighodaro is listed as a 6’9”, 190 pound power forward at this point by 247 Sports, and he’s ranked #100 in the country. There is reason to believe that Ighodaro is much more than a traditional 4, as his own club team referred to him as a 6’10” guard. That sounds totally bananas, but you can see why a kid with that height and anything even resembling strong ball-handling abilities is a top 100 prospect.
Let’s talk about some visits, shall we? Dudley Blackwell recently visited Marquette, which means we have to take note of him here. Blackwell is a 6’5”, 185 pound small forward out of Florida, but he’ll be attending Huntington Prep when school starts in the fall. 247 Sports currently ranks him #95 in the country.
RJ Davis, Coleman Hawkins, and DJ Steward have all taken unofficial visits to Marquette this summer. That trio of dudes are ranked #85, #199, and #27 respectively. I don’t put a lot of weight into unofficial visits, but Davis, a 5’11” combo guard, is from New York and Hawkins, a 6’8” power forward, is from California. I know these guys do a lot of summertime travel for hoops, but it does mean at least a little bit that they paid their own way to come to Milwaukee to see what they could see. Steward, a 6’3” combo guard, is from Chicago, so that means a little bit less. I don’t know what you want to make of Hawkins attending the same prep school as Nimari Burnett, but that connection is there.
We really can’t wrap this up without mentioning Jalen Suggs, a top 15 combo guard out of Minnesota. He’s been a Marquette target for a long long long time, and the sound of things is that he wants to at least take an official visit before he makes a decision. Of course, he also hasn’t ruled out playing college football, where he is a three-star quarterback prospect.
I think we also have to drop in a mention for Dawson Garcia, a top 40 power forward out of Minnesota, and Jamari Sibley, a top 80 power forward from Milwaukee. Marquette seems to be right in the thick of things with Garcia, at least for now. Sibley recently announced that he is transferring from Nicolet — where he played with Duke commit Jalen Johnson last year — to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but my gut tells me that if Sibley wants to leave Milwaukee for his last year of high school, he might not want to come back for college.