Are you wondering what the Marquette men’s basketball coaching staff is doing to keep themselves busy during these coronavirus influenced times? Well, apparently the answer “offering scholarships to a whole bunch of dudes.” I wonder how much Justin Gainey’s hiring has to do with the new influx of offers that we’re seeing, and how much is just it’s that time of the year.
Let’s jump in and get caught up because we have SIX guys to talk about.
Kind of really excited about the idea of Marquette having a guy named SAMSON on the roster, if for no other reason than it will be fun to shout in faux-anger every single time he appears to have gotten a haircut.
ANYWAY, Johnson is listed as a 6’10”, 200 pound power forward in the Class of 2021 by 247 Sports. He currently doesn’t have any kind of rating or ranking from 247, and that’s both in their internal and Composite setups. I may as well drop in a quote from Bossi, since it’s his tweet and his article linked there.
The long and short of it is that he’s got good size at nearly 6-foot-10, he can really run, he’s got a great frame to build on and he’s dripping with potential as a mobile shot-blocker who can be a defensive disruptor with potential as a scorer.
As a kid who attends The Patrick School in New Jersey, it should not be a surprise to you that his offer list looks like a roll call of the 16 team Big East: UConn, St. John’s, and Syracuse are all in the mix with Marquette, and Xavier offers a fun new school Big East vibe.
Here’s a three minute highlight reel of a game in December 2019. It’s not just Johnson highlights, but you want to be watching #34 in green, as he finished with 22 points.
ICYMI, Malaki Branham picked up an offer from Marquette yesterday— SUVtv (@SUVtv) April 23, 2020
:42points, 11reb at @FlyinToTheHoop 2020@MalakiBranham @STVMAthletics @MichaelHirnPBP @slythesportsguy @MarquetteHoops @PaintTouches @AnonymousEagle @MUHoops #SUVtv #ABACE #FTTH2020 pic.twitter.com/srDHX2n4vD
Is this my favorite entry in this article purely because @SUVtv tagged AE in their tweet? MAYBE. You’ll never know.
Malaki Branham is a 6’4”, 175 pound shooting guard in the Class of 2021 according to 247 Sports. Hailing from Akron, Ohio, he attends St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, which raises a question: Do you ever wonder how it feels to be a Division 1 college basketball prospect and know that’s essentially impossible that you will ever be considered the best player in your high school’s history? I mean, don’t get me wrong, getting to say “the only guy better than me in school history was LeBron” is still pretty badass, but you see what I’m saying.
Anyway, Branham is much better than just a Division 1 prospect, as 247 currently has him ranked #26 in the country in their Composite system for 2021. That makes him a four star prospect for the moment. He’s the #4 shooting guard in the class, which puts him behind Trevor Keels, who picked up an offer from MU last summer. Branham is also the second best prospect in the state of Ohio, although the top player, Charles Bediako, is merely attending high school in Ohio and is actually Canadian.
Marquette will have no shortage of competition for Branham, with offers including Louisville, Ohio State, Xavier, Iowa, and Kansas State. He’s been a top 75 prospect in 247’s rankings since May 2019 and in the top 30 since September, so I’m honestly surprised that the list isn’t notably longer.
Here’s a highlight reel of Branham throwing in 42 in a game back in January.
Blessed to receive an offer from Marquette University All glory to god pic.twitter.com/EBvAN6GzYB— Juju (@Reese10Julian) April 23, 2020
What, Marquette’s interested in a lanky forward? Will wonders never cease.
247 Sports lists Reese as a 6’9”, 205 pound power forward. He has a hometown listed of Owings Mills, Maryland, but he attends St. Frances Academy in Baltimore. Reese is currently ranked #104 in the Class of 2021 by 247’s Composite system. That makes him the #20 power forward, trailing along behind familiar Marquette target Michael Foster (#4 in position, #9 in the country) and one spot ahead of MU prospect DaRon Holmes. Reese is the #5 prospect in the state of Maryland, three spots behind MU prospect Jordan Hawkins and one spot ahead of Ryan Conway, who has the Golden Eagles in his final six and will be announcing this weekend.
MaxPreps is all up to date on St. Frances Academy’s team, noting that they went..... 38-4? this past season. That is a hella ton of basketball games for a high school team. Reese was third on the team in scoring at 10.6 points per game, coming in behind two Division 1 signees. He also added 6.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 3.5 blocks per game. He appears to not be much of a shooter, attempting just 34 long range shots in 37 appearances....and also only connected on 24% of them.
I don’t know if you want to make anything at all out of this one, but Reese’s older sister, Angel Reese, is signed up to be a freshman at Maryland in the fall. The Terps are one of the biggest names to offer him a scholarship already, along with Seton Hall, LSU, Rutgers, and Virginia Tech.
I don’t have anything in the vein of usable highlight videos for him here. I don’t know if that’s because the two Division 1 guys on his high school team limited that or what. If anyone knows of any quality videos, put the links in the comments section.
Eric van der Heijden
STILL MOAR LANKY FORWARDS.
van der Heijden measures in at 6’8” and 200 pounds according to 247 Sports, but as you can see, his high school team says he’s 6’9”. If you would like to have a conversation about why a high school team is naming themselves “men’s” basketball, knock yourselves out.
It appears that we have a mix of opinions on van der Heijden at this point. 247 Sports says he’s the #140 prospect in the Class of 2021 according to their Composite system. However, their internal system has van der Heijden as the #79 prospect in the country. It’s a big difference as displayed in his positional ranking: #31 small forward in the Composite, #16 in the internal. He’s a top five prospect in the state of North Carolina either way, although it’s interesting to see where van der Heijden lands relative to fellow MU prospect and NC kid Carter Whitt.
Standing 6-foot-8, Van Der Heijden moves fluidly and is a good athlete. His passing ability, vision and shot making ability from long-range are all areas that he excelled in our viewings. Van Der Heijden credits his skill and ability to spending time playing with older players, like his brother who is a freshman at Bucknell.
Millbrook went 23-4 this past season, including an 11-1 record in conference play according to MaxPreps. It would appear that van der Heijden played a notable role in that, averaging 12.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game. That’s a whole bunch of stuff, and the assist numbers — second best on the team — are of particular note for a forward. He led the team in three-point attempts, and van der Heijden knocked down 45% of his 119 tries.
A North Carolina State fan put together a nearly 4 minute compilation on van der Heijden, so that’s pretty neat.
Blessed to receive an offer from Marquette University ❗️ pic.twitter.com/OfIUedtREe— D’Marco (@dmarcodunn) April 24, 2020
Okay, so stick with me for a minute here.
D’Marco Dunn has a home town listed on 247 Sports of Tucson, Arizona. However, he was at Westover High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina for the 2019-20 school year. He’s a 6’3” shooting guard and weighs in at 170 pounds, but that’s all that his 247 page is giving us for right now. He doesn’t have a ranking or rating in the Composite or internal systems yet, so for now, we’ll just presume that this is one of those “Steve Wojciechowski is ahead of the curve” thing that happens with prospects on a regular basis.
Westover ended up finishing 30-0 this season, or rather, this season ended with them sitting at 30-0. As you can see from the ol’ MaxPreps schedule page, they were set to face Freedom in the North Carolina 3A state title game. I presume that’s already been totally cancelled since it was scheduled for early March. That sucks. Dunn led the team in scoring at 20.4 points per game, and he shot 45% behind the three-point line, too. He also led the team in rebounding at 7.2 per game (again, 6’3”), as well as in steals per game with 2.7 on average. At that point, 2.0 assists per game is just icing on the cake.
This article from Phenom Hoop Report goes into his recruiting a little bit more in depth than just a list of schools that have offered him, so give that a read. With that said, it would appear that Marquette and Xavier are his two best offers right now, although Vanderbilt, Houston, VCU, and Wichita State aren’t terrible options.
I don’t have any cool embeddable videos for you here, but Dunn does have a Hudl page. It looks like there’s game highlights for all of Westover’s games, and then individual highlights just for Dunn for most of them.
All of the other ones on the list here went in chronological order in terms of when the notice of the offers popped up, but I nudged Musaka to the bottom because he’s a Class of 2022 prospect. Just a bit of organizational work there, that’s all.
He already has a 247 Sports page, which lists Musaka as a 6’11”, 200 pound power forward. NOTE: He is currently finishing his sophomore year of high school and is 6’11”. A native of the Congo, Musaka currently lives in San Jose, California, where he attends Valley Christian Schools. He doesn’t have any kind of rating or ranking from 247 Sports yet, but he does have offers from Georgetown, TCU, and USC. That’s pretty good company to be in here, so we’ll go ahead and presume that Musaka has a pretty good upside.
There’s also this article from ZagsBlog’s Jacob Polacheck which says that Musaka has an offer in hand from Kansas now. That’s pretty good.
Musaka ran the floor well and dunked everything around the rim. He was very alert and ready for Reggie Bass’ passes. He has thin legs, but his base held it’s own in the post. Although he scored all his points in the paint, he shows a workable jump shot. Defensively, he was the best shot blocker in the camp and did a great job of not fouling while contesting.
There’s nothing in the way of video online for him yet, it seems. These things happen with high school sophomores, I suppose.
Let’s drop in the ol’ scholarship chart here, shall we?
For the Class of 2021 guys in the article here, Marquette will be looking to replace Jamal Cain, Theo John, and Koby McEwen on the roster. In the case of Musaka, we’re looking at a projected senior class of Brendan Bailey and Greg Elliott heading out the door before the Class of 2022 comes in. We have to say “projected” because for the time being, Brendan Bailey is still in the 2020 NBA Draft as an early entrant. We have no idea when that might change, because the NBA hasn’t confirmed that they’re holding the draft as scheduled at the end of June. We’re really waiting for the NBA to decide how they’re going to end their regular season, because that would lock the draft order into place.