Yesterday we found out that Emarion Ellis was switching his college choice from Texas to Marquette to play college basketball for Shaka Smart. Today, we got another one of those, as David Joplin announced that following his release from Texas, the Class of 2021 prospect will be enrolling at Marquette this fall to play for Coach Smart and the Golden Eagles.
I don’t know how conversations went with other programs, but Joplin had no shortage of high major coaches reaching out to him after he was released from his letter of intent. At the very least, Minnesota, Wake Forest, Virginia, Missouri, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech all made their voices heard in the short time available to them.
Joplin is listed by 247 Sports as a 6’7”, 215 pound power forward. He is a four-star prospect according to 247’s Composite system, and they have him as the #114 ranked player in the Class of 2021. That makes him the #19 power forward and the #3 player in the state of Wisconsin behind #4 overall Patrick Baldwin, Jr., and #36 overall Tyrese Hunter. Yes, that’s right, Joplin is a Wisconsin kid, in fact, he’s a Milwaukee area kid, attending Brookfield Central. Steve Wojciechowski never offered him a scholarship. I guess in fairness to the former coach and his staff, Joplin didn’t vault into the top 120 in the country in the Composite rankings until after he was already committed to Texas.
Where were we?
247’s internal setup is a much bigger fan of Joplin, ranking him #74 in the country and #17 amongst power forwards. Interestingly, while Joplin is much higher nationally, he’s actually 4th in the state in 247’s internal rankings, falling behind recent Illinois commit Brandin Podziemski. ESPN sees Joplin as a three star prospect, ranking him #34 amongst power forwards and #7 in the state. Rivals has Joplin as a top 100 chap, coming in at #93 nationally and #17 in the power forward section. He’s a four-star prospect there, but you probably guessed that already.
We turn now to WisSports.net for details about how Joplin’s senior season at Brookfield Central went. The team went 19-6, reaching the WIAA Regional finals before bowing out to Wauwatosa East and recent Marquette scholarship offer recipient Leon Bond. Joplin averaged 25.6 points per game for the Lancers, shooting a robust 53% from the field and 37% from behind the arc on just under five attempts per game. He was a double-double machine, averaging 10.5 caroms per contest, and in his free time, Joplin averaged 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.9 blocks per game. That’s not just “well, he’s a senior” stuff, as he averaged 23.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game as a junior, as well as chipping in 17 points per game on a team that won a Division 1 state title during his sophomore season.
Here’s what Jerry Meyer, 247 Sports’ Director of Basketball Scouting said about Joplin in an August 2020 evaluation:
A four man who is undersized length wise but has great strength and shooting ability. Good but not overwhelming athlete. Controls horizontal space. Dangerous shooter who can also score against contact. Comfortable with the ball and sees the court. Will grind out a rebound. Good defensive abilities and versatility.
Feels like he could have been a valuable contributor at Marquette no matter who the head coach was. Ah well, what do I know?
Here’s three-plus minutes of highlights from his senior season that was published on March 1st:
And hey, why not three-plus minutes of junior year highlights, too:
And now, the scholarship chart!
With Joplin on board, Marquette now has three top 125 prospects committed in the Class of 2021 as well as perhaps underrated guard Kameron Jones. Adding Joplin to Marquette’s recruiting class moves the Golden Eagles up to #20 in 247 Sports’ recruiting class rankings. Somehow, that’s still only fourth best in the Big East behind Villanova, UConn, and Georgetown. I get the feeling that the battle for conference Freshman of the Year might be a little stiff next season.
Marquette now projects to have at least one scholarship available in this recruiting class. That might be two, depending on what happens with former walk-on Tommy Gardiner’s recovery from his season ending knee injury. With just one spot for sure available, things start to tighten up in terms of what Shaka Smart can or even wants to do. Top 60 prospect Tamar Bates was signed to play at Texas for Smart, but he has since been released from his letter of intent. There’s been a number of transfer possibilities that MU has reached out to since Smart was hired, so there’s options out there. There’s also the possibility that Smart pockets the scholarship and expends it for his first full and official recruiting class next year.