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2020-21 Marquette Men’s Basketball Player Review: #13 Oso Ighodaro

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I’ll be honest with you: This isn’t going to take very long.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 11 Marquette at UCLA Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the 2020-21 season long since in the books, let’s take a few moments to look back at the performance of each member of YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles this year. While we’re at it, we’ll also take a look back at our player previews and see how our preseason prognostications stack up with how things actually played out. We’ll run through the roster in order of total minutes played going from lowest to highest, which means today we start our reviews off with the guy who played the fewest minutes of anyone on the team this past season........

Oso Ighodaro

Freshman — #13 — Forward — 6’9” — 205 pounds — Chandler, Arizona

Oso Ighodaro Traditional Stats

Games Min FGM FGA FG% 3PTM 3PA 3P% FTM FTA FT% OReb DReb Reb Ast Stl Blk Fouls Pts
Games Min FGM FGA FG% 3PTM 3PA 3P% FTM FTA FT% OReb DReb Reb Ast Stl Blk Fouls Pts
5 7.6 0.6 0.8 75.0% 0 0 0 0.0 0.2 0.0% 0.4 0.8 1.2 0.4 0.2 0.2 1.2 1.2

Oso Ighodaro Fancy Stats

ORtg %Poss %Shots eFG% TS% OR% DR% ARate TORate Blk% Stl% FC/40 FD/40 FTRate
ORtg %Poss %Shots eFG% TS% OR% DR% ARate TORate Blk% Stl% FC/40 FD/40 FTRate
104.6 9.9% 7.7% 75.0% 67.0% 6.5% 11.3% 9.9% 31.1% 2.8% 1.5% 6.3% 1.6% 25.0%

WHAT WE SAID:

Reasonable Expectations

I go back and forth on this a lot. On one hand, I wonder if Ighodaro’s body is ready to handle the physicality of Division 1 college basketball. On the other hand, Marquette has just 10 scholarship players available this season, and the Golden Eagles can’t really afford to have someone on the roster who isn’t really contributing at all.

Where I end up landing is that Ighodaro is the freshman that I’m expecting the least from this season. We’ll get into it more when we talk about Justin Lewis tomorrow, but for now, we’ll just say Ighodaro’s #3 of three and move on. If that’s the case, I can’t help but see him at the far end of the rotation for Marquette this season. He’s probably going to have to play a decent amount just because of the pure lack of available bodies this season. I just don’t know if expecting a major role or maybe even a notable role from Ighodaro this season is the right move.

That’s where T-Rank ends up, too. The algorithm projects Ighodaro for three points and 1.5 rebounds per game while playing in just 19% of MU’s minutes. I don’t know if the minutes will be that low, but I think the general tenor of the points and rebounds there should be the reasonable thing to expect from him this year.

Why You Should Get Excited

This comes back to the fact that Marquette has a 10 man roster this season. In addition to that, only five of those 10 guys are coming back from last year’s active roster, and if we’re being honest, none of the five had what you would call a completely successful 2019-20 season.

As such, there’s reason to believe that there’s a pathway to a notable, perhaps even major role for Ighodaro this season. It appears that three roles on the team are likely set for the year: Theo John as the primary rim protector, Dawson Garcia as the mobile/secondary big man, and D.J. Carton as the point guard. Everything else in the rotation is up for grabs. That means if Ighodaro is the best option at the 3 for Marquette, then he absolutely needs to be playing as much as he and the Golden Eagles can handle. Is that a job that is maybe Jamal Cain’s to lose right now? Maybe, but through three years, we haven’t seen Jamal Cain get consistent playing time from this coaching staff, and just believing it into existence isn’t a thing. Thus, the door is cracked open for Ighodaro there. Maybe Marquette works best with Garcia as a highly mobile 5, which opens the door for Ighodaro to slide into the 4 spot and attempt to surpass what Brendan Bailey gave the squad last year from that position.

If he can do something like I described there, if he can defend his position well enough and if he can find ways to make an impact on both ends of the court..... Well, there’s no reason to believe that Ighodaro can’t start stealing minutes away from the returning guys since those guys don’t exactly have things on lockdown.

Potential Pitfalls

Ighodaro is a freshman, and he’s a relatively skinny freshman at that. Sometimes that combination creates situations where guys don’t play all that much while they’re really focusing on improving their own physicality to become a better player. If Ighodaro can’t hold up his end on defense for Marquette, perhaps literally physically holding it up, then he probably shouldn’t be getting a quality amount of minutes. Defense has been a constant issue under Steve Wojciechowski’s direction, and part of the collapse at the end of last season was the fact that the defense went completely in the trash. Go look at T-Rank’s graphs for Adjusted Defense if you don’t believe me and/or have blocked it out of your mind.

The other major potential problem for Ighodaro’s rookie campaign comes in terms of the rest of the roster as well. With just 10 guys available to MU this season, that seems to indicate that Ighodaro is going to have to make some kind of contribution if the Golden Eagles are going to succeed. Even if you think that a basketball rotation should really only go eight or nine deep, that only leaves one or two guys on MU’s roster to not be an every night contributor. What if Ighodaro’s not really ready for a notable role...... but Marquette doesn’t have the option to not play him because he’s one of two or three guys who aren’t getting it done? There’s a particular version of the 2020-21 season where Wojciechowski and his staff have to leave Ighodaro out there to take his lumps because it’s the only way he’s going to get his mistakes out of his system and it will pay off in the long run. Unfortunately for both Ighodaro and those of us watching, that wouldn’t be a fun experience this year.

Oso Ighodaro played 38 minutes this past season.

  • 13 minutes in the opener against Arkansas Pine Bluff
  • 3 minutes against Eastern Illinois
  • Nothing in the next three games, then 7 minutes against UCLA
  • Nothing in the next three games, then 5 minutes against Villanova
  • Nothing in the next seven games, then 10 minutes against Butler

Then he suffered a leg injury in practice and didn’t play for the remaining nine games of the season.

38 total minutes. 22 minutes after the first two games of the season, which were also Marquette’s two more lopsided games of the season in terms of expected competition level of the opponent. Ighodaro played in three games after the first two games of the season, mostly because of Steve Wojciechowski’s decision to not play him, but also because of what turned into a season ending injury.

You can go ahead and make whatever judgment calls you want to make about the coaching decision to not play Ighodaro all that much up through February 2nd. Marquette was 9-9 on the year and 5-7 in Big East play after that game, the last one that saw Ighodaro getting any playing time. Would getting him a few minutes here or there have helped Marquette win a couple of those games that were nine losses? Maybe. I don’t know.

And that’s where I land with a review of Ighodaro’s season: I don’t know. You don’t know, either. He played 38 minutes. Essentially one full game’s worth of minutes. That’s not anywhere close to even resembling an amount of time that’s actually worth judging how the season went for him, and I don’t want to say anything positive or negative about any of it.

Best Game

Ighodaro played in two games where he played enough minutes to generate an Offensive Rating by KenPom.com. The season opener against Arkansas Pine Bluff saw him play 13 minutes, score four points by hitting both his shots, grab four rebounds with two on each end, and dish an assist for an ORtg of 139. The other game was his season finale, where he had two points against Butler on his only shot of the game and a steal in 10 minutes. Thanks to one of his two turnovers of the year, his ORtg in that one was 63. By default, Ighodaro’s best game of the year was the opener against Arkansas Pine Bluff, and I don’t even like saying that much in a declarative fashion about his season.

Season Grade

Incomplete. That’s the only fair thing to do here. Through 18 games or up til he suffered his season ending injury, Ighodaro played in just over 5% of Marquette’s minutes. That’s way, way below even the 19% that T-Rank had projected for him before the season started. Hopefully we get to write very nice things about him a year from now, but there’s nothing we can do about what 2020-21 looked like for him.