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The Impact Of Brendan Bailey’s Departure On Marquette’s Roster

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Both the roster for this coming season as well as for recruiting into the following year.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Marquette v South Carolina Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

As you may have heard already, Marquette sophomore forward Brendan Bailey has elected to remain in the NBA Draft and pursue a professional career going forward. If you want to read more about that specifically, go check out our original article about it.

What we’ve got here is a look at how Bailey’s departure impacts the Marquette roster for 2020-21 as well as what recruiting looks like going forward as well. Quite honestly, this was going to be part of the original Bailey article, but I wrote 300 words of this, pushing the first article well over 1,000 words and I was nowhere close to finishing what I wanted to say. So hey, why not break the look forward out into its own thing?

Let’s start with a look at the brand new Marquette scholarship chart so we’re all on the same page here.

Bailey’s departure leaves Marquette with two open scholarships for the 2020-21 season. While Marquette is currently looking at 11 guys on scholarship, head coach Steve Wojciechowski will potentially only have nine guys available and in uniform for the coming campaign. Jose Perez and D.J. Carton are transfers coming in, and the NCAA recently kicked the can down the road on eliminating the transfer redshirt rule. As such, the only chance Perez and Carton have of playing this coming fall is by way of a waiver from the NCAA. This is neither the time nor the place to discuss the possibility of either one happening, but for now, we have to presume that they will not be eligible.

That means that Marquette is going to need a lot from incoming freshmen Dawson Garcia, Oso Ighodaro, and Justin Lewis. At least for now, the trio of incoming guys constitute literally one-third of Marquette’s active roster. Their potential impact is even more important since all three could potentially play Bailey’s role at the 4 in Wojciechowski’s rotation. It suddenly occurs to me that we have to consider the possibility that Wojciechowski may have had a very serious conversation about playing time and/or role with Bailey, particularly if Garcia, the #34 prospect in the country, primarily slots in at the 4.

It’s possible that there are plans in the works for those two remaining scholarships. In theory, the possibility remains that MU target Karim Mane could opt to play college basketball. However, since he also took the option of declaring for the NBA Draft — he’s eligible as a Canadian that has never played in the United States — it seems wildly unlikely that he’s going to ever suit up for any college team, much less specifically for Marquette. There have been discussions about MU prospects Michael Foster and Micawber Etienne reclassifying from 2021 to 2020 recently, with Marquette making a big push for Etienne as of late. While it’s possible that either or both of these gentlemen could end up in Milwaukee, it feels like a bit of a long shot, at least for this coming fall.

If those two open 2020-21 spots roll over into the next season, then Marquette is looking at having five open spots for the Class of 2021. The coaching staff has been active in the spring in offering a few new scholarships for 2021 prospects, but it’s unclear if they were doing that with the idea that Bailey would not be returning. Even if they were operating with the presumption that Bailey would be a senior on the 2021-22 squad, I don’t think this really changes anything about the mindset of what the Golden Eagles need for that year. Marquette is losing Jamal Cain, Koby McEwen, and Theo John after this next season, so therefore the Golden Eagles need a wing, a guard, and a defensively minded big respectively. Maaaaaaaybe Bailey’s departure accentuates the need for a wing over the other two, but I’d make the argument that replacing John’s presence in the middle is much more important.