Hi! It’s been a couple of days since we talked about Marquette Golden Eagles men’s basketball recruiting, so we’re back again to do some more of that. The Golden Eagles coaching staff has handed out two more Class of 2021 scholarship offers since we last talked, as well as one in the Class of 2022. As always, we’ll go in chronological class order to chat about these.
Nisine Poplar, a class of 2021 guard from Math, Civics & Sciences (PA), just picked up an offer from Marquette.— Pat Lawless (@PatLawless_) May 5, 2020
Here’s the good news: Nisine Poplar has a 247 Sports page, so we know that he’s a 6’4”, 180 pound combo guard out of Philadelphia. Here’s the medium news: At the moment, Poplar doesn’t have a rating or a ranking in the 247 Sports Composite or internal systems. We’re calling that medium news, because he apparently already has offers from a laundry list of schools that includes DePaul, Auburn, Maryland, Temple, Penn State, and Wichita State amongst others. If that many high end schools are putting Poplar on the radar, then clearly it’s only a matter of time before those ratings and rankings show up for him in the Class of 2021.
Max Preps is their usual helpful self as they let us know that Poplar’s high school team — Mathematics, Civics, and Sciences Charter School, which we will shorten to MCS — went 24-5 in 2019-20. They advanced as far as the Pennsylvania Class 2A Quarterfinals before the season was shut down due to the coronavirus. Poplar led the team in scoring, yes, as a junior, with 21.2 points per game, making him one of just two guys to average more than 10 points per game. He also chipped in five rebounds, three assists, and 1.4 steals per game, which is pretty good. If we drill down, Poplar shot 38% from behind the three-point line, and any time you’re over 35% as the #1 scoring option, you’re doing pretty good.
Okay, ready for the kicker that helps explain his lack of ratings or rankings?
Poplar still is learning everything about basketball. That’s why he’s such an unusual prospect in the Class of 2021.
Poplar is playing basketball in organized fashion for just the second season. He didn’t play in elementary or middle school. He didn’t even play as a freshman.
“I was all baseball,” Poplar said. “I played [pickup] basketball but never really worked out or took it very seriously. I didn’t really care about it that much.”
So there’s that.
Here’s Poplar’s sophomore year highlight reel. Again, this is from during his first real competitive basketball setting.
He also has a Hudl page, but it hasn’t been updated since January. Still, that’s more recent footage than the 2018-19 season, so check it out if you’re interested.
247 Sports lists Lesmond as a 6’5”, 190 pound shooting guard in the class of 2021. He’s not popping into the Composite rankings yet, but internally, 247 Sports has him as the #75 player in the country. That makes him the #16 shooting guard behind guys like Trevor Keels, Malaki Branham, Langston Love, Jordan Longino, and Jordan Hawkins, all of whom already have offers from Marquette. Lesmond attends Notre Dame College Prep in the north suburbs of Chicago, and 247 has him as the #5 prospect in 2021 in the state, but with Bryce Hopkins (Louisville) and Ahamad Bynum (DePaul) already committed, Lesmond is the #3 available prospect in Illinois right now.
There’s a pretty big list of schools after Lesmond already. Illinois, Nebraska, and Oklahoma are all listed as having offered him a scholarship on his 247 Sports page. This look at Lesmond from 247’s Brian Snow has him mentioning that Xavier has offered him a scholarship as well, and that was back in February.
I’m not going to lie to you: The picture currently on Lesmond’s 247 Sports page is of interest to me. Most notably, he’s wearing a uniform that makes it very clear that he’s originally from France. In fact, he played for France’s U16 team in the 2018 Division A European Championship. According to this here website, Lesmond averaged 6.3 points and 1.4 rebounds per contest in France’s seven games in that event. Not too bad, considering he was only playing 12.9 minutes per game. The other part that jumped out to me from that picture is the fact that he’s wearing #77. I’m not trying to tell you anything for certain here, but let’s be honest: That feels like a pretty good sign for Marquette.
The highly versatile Lesmond offers physical tools, an appealing skill set and is clearly a rising talent. He’s a player who couples outside shooting with some legitimate and exciting long-term upside.
At a shade over 6-5, Lesmond’s shooting touch and skill level is tangible. He can handle it and really shoot it with smooth, natural shooting mechanics, both with his pull-up mid-range game and three-point shooting.
Looks like the best we can do for video here is this 90 second clip. The Good news is that it went up in late March 2020, so it is theoretically pretty new footage. It also appears to be teleported straight here from a camcorder in 1998, so who can say?
Since you can see Farrell’s Rivals card in Corey Evans’ tweet, it’s probably not a surprise to you that Farrell doesn’t have a rating or a ranking from 247 Sports in their Composite or internal systems. He does have a page, though, but somehow it doesn’t even include his weight. So, with that in mind, we’ll note that Rivals clearly has him as a 6’7”, 180 pound small forward in the Class of 2022. That’s a lot of height and weight for a sophomore in high school already.
The Maryland native doesn’t appear to be catching on a lot of radars yet. If we’re taking 247 Sports as the one true source on these things, then Marquette is just his third scholarship offer after Maryland and Wake Forest. Rivals recently included Farrell in a list of guys who could have made a push for a national ranking if there had been a spring grassroots circut this year. In that rundown, Eric Bossi also includes Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Seton Hall, Vanderbilt, VCU, and St. John’s in the group that has offered Farrell a scholarship.
He also included this scouting report:
Farrell is an always-on athlete who plays with a motor and enthusiasm. He finishes breaks, gets on the glass and can defend multiple positions. He’s tough, and he has the capability of playing either the three or four.
I have a question about why Farrell is playing with a grassroots team based in the Bronx, but is attending prep school in Maryland. This is probably very simply explained, but it definitely sounds like there’s not a lot of attending of team practice going on there.
I managed to track this Twitter video down of Farrell from a thread on a UConn message board, so it seems that he has an offer from the Huskies, too.
Okay, enough of that. Let’s get to the scholarship chart.
For 2021, which is Marquette’s current priority without anyone committed, the door is kind of wide open on what Steve Wojciechowski can/should focus on. Jamal Cain, Theo John, and Koby McEwen will be gone by then, and it seems that the easy answer is a guard, a wing, and a defensively minded big. It seems that Poplar and Lesmond fit into the guard motif more than anything else.
As for 2022, Marquette will be looking at replacing Greg Elliott and Brendan Bailey, presuming the latter withdraws from the 2020 NBA Draft and finishes his eligibility at Marquette. It seems that Farrell would probably be more of a Brendan Bailey type than a Greg Elliott type.