What have you been doing with your weekends during the coronavirus quarantine? Is it hard to tell the difference between the week and the weekend? Well, I don’t know about telling the difference between the two for the Marquette men’s basketball coaching staff, but they’ve been staying busy. Last weekend, they handed out a few scholarship offers. One of the offers was for the Class of 2021, which is head coach Steve Wojciechowski’s current priority. The Golden Eagles currently do not have any freshmen committed to sign a national letter of intent in November for that recruiting class, but that’s not really a problem at this point of the calendar. Four more offers were made for the Class of 2022, so those are a bit more long term projects for the MU coaching staff.
We’ll start with the chap for 2021, then look at the 2022 guys. Don’t worry, there’s headers to make it all make sense for you.
Hailing from Arlington, Massachusetts, which is a suburb of Boston, Bensley Joseph is listed at 6’1” and 165 pounds by 247 Sports. He is a point guard and is ranked #111 in the 247 Composite system at the moment. He’s the #17 point guard in his class, which has him trailing behind Marquette prospects Carter Whitt and Tyrese Hunter. Joseph’s state ranking is a little complicated. He attends Putnam Science Academy, which is in Putnam, Connecticut. He’s the #2 prospect in the state of Connecticut behind fellow MU prospect Micawber Etienne. However, if you shuffle Joseph back to his home state of Massachusetts, where he attended Cushing Academy back in Arlington this past school year, he’s the top prospect in the state, easily beating out Casey Simmons at #142.
Confused yet? No? Good.
Joseph has an interesting list of scholarship offers at this point. 247 shows him as on the radar for Georgetown, Iowa, Miami, Penn State, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Rutgers. There’s more than a few other high major programs with interest but not an offer yet, including fellow Big East rival Providence.
It would appear that Joseph averaged 15.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and two steals per game for Cushing. That seems pretty good, especially at just 6’1”. He tallied 23 points, seven assists, and six steals in a high profile game at the Hoophall Classic back in January. Joseph has also been on the radar for the USA junior national team, getting a chance to participate in minicamps last July and last October.
Here’s a two minute reel of EYBL highlights published last May:
And how about 2019 Peach Jam highlights?
We have never not been at war over recruits with The University Of Marquette.
247 Sports lists Gayle as a 6’4”, 160 pound shooting guard. He hails from Youngstown, New York, where he attends Lewiston Porter High School. I highly encourage you to check out the map as to where his school is at, because depending on the angles, he might be able to look out a window and see Toronto.
In any case, there’s going to be a lot of high major coaches heading north of Buffalo in the near future, as 247 Sports has Gayle ranked as the #42 prospect in the Class of 2022 at the moment. That makes him the #9 shooting guard in the class and the top prospect in the state of New York. It’s early in the cycle for 2022 prospects, but Gayle appears to be the top shooting guard prospect that Marquette has offered a scholarship to so far.
Gayle’s offer list is surprisingly short so far. He has Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Rutgers, and Syracuse on there along with a few other high major names. 247 has had him as a top 50 prospect since last September, so he’s not exactly a suddenly exploding secret that Wojciechowski has suddenly latched onto on accident.
I can’t track down stats on Gayle from this past season, but as a freshman, he averaged 22.0 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.4 steals. If it seems like Gayle is doing it all for LPSHS, then I should point out that they went 21-4 that year, but just 12-9 in 2019-20. Again, because I don’t have stats for this past season, I can’t tell you how much help Gayle did or did not have, or how his numbers were affected by the team struggling more.
Here’s a two minute highlight reel from his freshman year:
If you’d like some sophomore year clips, I encourage you to go check out Gayle’s Hudl page.
And now we move along to a guy that hasn’t quite launched himself into the national spotlight quite yet. Elvis Nnaji currently does not have a 247 Sports page, much less a rating or ranking at this point. This article from the Minnesota Rivals site talking about the Gophers offering him a scholarship lists him at 6’9” and 210 pounds back in late October 2019. The always useful and informative Star Tribune Minnesota Basketball Hub has him at 6’7”, and Nnaji’s own Twitter bio says he’s 6’9”. Prep Hoops [go here, scroll down, select 2022] says that Nnaji is the fourth best prospect in the state in his class behind two guys — Prince Aligbe and Tre Holloman — who also have Marquette offers right now.
In case you were wondering, yes, Nnaji is the younger brother of Arizona big man Zeke Nnaji. Big brother ended up at 6’11” and 215 pounds, and his skills made him a top 50 prospect in the class of 2019. Zeke ended up averaging 16 points and nine rebounds per game for the Wildcats as a freshman, so you’d like to believe that little brother could scratch the surface of his elder sibling’s production.
On a Hopkins squad that went 21-5 in 2019-20, Nnaji averaged 6.4 points in 19 appearances that are recorded in the Star Tribune’s Hub. They only have rebounding stats for one game, but grabbing six rebounds in a game is pretty good. Hopkins was the defending champs from 2019, and they won their sectional title game in their last game, but didn’t get a chance to finish off the state tournament before the pandemic shut things down. The point I’m making is that Nnaji was a sophomore on a state title contender, so quite honestly, getting playing time was a big deal.
Not much in the way of information for you because of the lack of recruiting site pages, but somehow, I still have two videos for you. Here’s a two minute clip from October 2019:
And another two minutes from November 2019:
If you’d like more current stuff, check out Nnaji’s Hudl page for Hopkins game film and some individual clips.
Truly blessed to receive an offer from Marquette University! ✊ pic.twitter.com/fJiRl6an4k— Prince Aligbe (@prince_buckets) May 3, 2020
We stay in Minnesota for our next scholarship offer, as Prince Aligbe attends Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because that has come up before when we have talked about Chet Holmgren and Jalen Suggs. 247 Sports lists Aligbe as a 6’6”, 185 pound small forward. They have him currently ranked as the #55 prospect in the country in their Composite system and the #15 small forward in the Class of 2022. Aligbe is also the #2 prospect in the state of Minnesota, tracking behind Camden Heide, a power forward from Wayzata, who is ranked #37 in the country. Aligbe is just ahead of Tre Holloman in the Minnesota state rankings, and Holloman already has a scholarship offer from the Golden Eagles.
The Star Tribune Basketball Hub tells us that Minnehaha Academy went 22-3 this past season. However, when it comes to individual stats for Aligbe, there’s only 23 games played. Still, averaging 10.1 points per game on a squad with Jalen Suggs and Chet Holmgren on it is pretty dang good. They only have three games worth of rebounding stats, but averaging seven per game in three games is pretty solid. Remember, he was a sophomore for this season, so it’s safe to say that there’s bigger days ahead for him on this team.
And yes, I just said “there’s bigger days ahead” for a guy who is a top 60 prospect in his class.
A few videos for you. Here’s a freshman year reel that runs about three minutes.
And how about summer 2019 highlights that got published in August?
And finally, two minutes of clips from this past season against Park Center and Sierra Canyon. Yes, that Sierra Canyon, and that game is at the Target Center.
beyond blessed to announce that I have received a offer from Marquette University!! pic.twitter.com/7kjGHTroM1— Ty Rodgers (@Ty_rodgers20) May 4, 2020
Rodgers is listed on his 247 Sports page as a 6’4”, 180 pound small forward. However, he made sure to update me on his current measurements of 6’6” and 195 pounds when I quotetweeted his scholarship offer. I like the attention to detail, especially bright and early on a Monday morning. For whatever it’s worth, Rodgers was listed as 6’5” and 175 pounds in this article from his freshman year of high school. Generally speaking, being 6’5” at 14 years old tends to get you attention in basketball.
The Grand Blanc, Michigan native is currently regarded as a four-star prospect in the 247 Sports Composite system, where he is ranked #56 in the country. That makes him the #16 small forward in the country, one spot behind Prince Aligbe both in position and nationally, and the second best player in Michigan. Being the second best prospect in your state behind Emoni Bates, the best player in the country, is a pretty solid accomplishment.
I’m not exactly sure what 247 is doing in terms of Rodgers’ interests list. Right now, it shows Louisville, Michigan, and Wisconsin as interested but not having offered him a spot. However, this video clip from WEYI TV in Flint says Rodgers already has offers from Rhode Island and Houston. I’m not entirely sure how a top 60 recruit in Big Ten country doesn’t have more scholarship offers or attention at this point, but here we are.
I can’t tell you anything about stats for him for this past season, but I can tell you that Rodgers had 15 points and 12 rebounds in a 74-60 victory in the Saginaw Valley League championship game back in late February. That seems pretty good.
Here’s a two minute highlight reel of Rodgers from this past October.
If you’d like more highlights to watch, check out Rodgers’ Hudl page. It was last updated on March 12th, so it’s very current and there’s a lot of highlights to watch.
Okay, that gets us through that, so let’s head to the scholarship chart.
That’s freshly updated after Jose Perez committed to the Golden Eagles on Thursday, so it gives us a good look at what Marquette is looking at for 2021 and 2022. I threw out the question to the Twittersphere after Perez’s announcement about what Marquette should be looking for the most in 2021, and the best idea I saw was a stout interior defensive presence. Joseph doesn’t qualify in that regard, but it’s also never a bad plan to recruit as many point guard type players as possible.
For 2022, Marquette is projected to be replacing Brendan Bailey and Greg Elliott. We have to say “projected” because Bailey’s future is up for grabs for the time being as he has put his name into the 2020 NBA Draft pool. While I don’t see him as a draft prospect at the moment, the fact of the matter is that he will be turning 23 soon and may be eyeing a professional future sooner rather that later. In any case, we’re looking at Marquette needing a guard and a wing/stretch four in the Class of 2022, and that definitely seems to be the case with the new crop of offers here. I don’t know if MU will only have those two scholarships available, because MU is looking at having four spots open in 2021 and it seems unlikely that all of them will get filled.