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Marquette And Shaka Smart Keep Working The Transfer Lines

The Golden Eagles are in the top eight for a transfer on top of reaching out to some new names.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 19 Furman at Wofford
Will Noah Gurley end up picking Marquette out of his final eight teams?
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello and welcome to another Marquette Golden Eagles men’s basketball transfer recruiting update! This probably won’t be the last one, but we’ve got a couple of different things to discuss here. Not only is head coach Shaka Smart reaching out to four new players that we haven’t heard from yet, but one of those guys kind of accidentally informed the world about an assistant coach hire that hasn’t been made officially public yet AND the Golden Eagles are in the top eight for a transfer that we already talked about in a previous installment.

There’s a lot to get through, so let’s jump in.

NEW NAMES TO KNOW

Tyler Kolek

The 6’3”, 190 pound guard from Rhode Island played in all 22 games this season for George Mason, earning the start in 18 of the last 19 games of the season. Kolek averaged 10.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. All of those numbers went up during 14 games of Atlantic 10 play to 11.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.

Kolek was primarily an outside shooter for the Patriots, getting 148 of his 198 total shots on the year from behind the three-point line. That’s totally fine, as he connected on 35.8% of them overall and 37.2% of them in A-10 action.

I’m intrigued by Kolek’s ability to contribute on the defensive end. That 1.3 steals per game works itself out to a steal rate of 2.5% according to KenPom.com, which ranks Kolek in the top 500 in the country. That’s pretty good! Perhaps more impressively, Kolek was also in the top 400 for the lowest amount of fouls called per 40 minutes played. I will openly admit to not remembering watching any of George Mason this past season, but generally speaking, you’d think it would be pretty hard to be really good at creating steals and not committing fouls. Maybe there’s a specific way that GMU head coach Dave Paulsen coached the team that allowed for Kolek to do that, but it would seem to imply that he has really great hands on defense, and that’s always helpful.

Trey Wade

The 6’6”, 220 pound forward from Georgia spent one year at UTEP before transferring to Wichita State where he played the past two seasons. In terms of statistical output, he has mostly been the same player in all three seasons of college basketball. Wade averaged 7.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in 25 appearances with six starts for UTEP. After sitting out the 2018-19 season because he transferred, Wade went for 7.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game while playing in 52 games with 46 starts for the Shockers.

It certainly looks like Wade is more of a complimentary piece to a team than anything else. Part of that has to do with how much he has actually played in his 77 career games in college, as he is averaging 22.2 minutes per game in his career and 24.3 minutes per game at Wichita. That’s not really a lot, so there is some question as to what Wade could do with more minutes available to him.

In his two seasons in Wichita, Wade ranked in the top 500 in the country both years in offensive rebounding rate per KenPom.com, and he did the same thing in turnover rate as well. This past season, he was one of the 200 most sure-handed players in the country, ranking #184 in turnover rate at 11.9%. Wade also ranked just barely outside the top 400 in block rate, and this is the part where I remind you that he’s “only” 6’6”.

Tre King

Shouts to Jamie Shaw who actually tagged the AnonymousEagle Twitter with the picture in this tweet to let us know that Marquette is involved with Tre King. Since all of the other tweets here tell you all the teams involved, I will let you know here that King told Rivals that Georgetown, Xavier, and Virginia Tech are the other three programs that are putting in the most effort to get his attention right now.

Here’s what King said about Marquette, and I believe this counts as King accidentally letting Shaw make some news public:

“I really don’t know much about Marquette since their recent coaching change, but I have been in pretty regular contact with assistant coach Cody Hatt.”

Cody Hatt was one of Shaka Smart’s assistants at Texas and if you’re overly obsessing about who is following the Anonymous Eagle Twitter, then you may have 1) recently seen Hatt start following and then 2) Hatt change all of his profile stuff to indicate that he’s moving to Milwaukee with his boss. I believe this is the first public acknowledgement of any of Smart’s three assistants officially being on board at this point, so that’s fun. The other two remain a mystery at this point, and we’ll circle back to talk more about Hatt when the whole staff is finalized.

As for King, he just finished his third season playing for A.W. Hamilton at Eastern Kentucky. The Lexington native has started nearly every game for the Colonels since about midway through his freshman season, and his numbers keep going up every year. As Shaw mentioned in the tweet featured above, King averaged 14.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game, but he also chipped in 1.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game as well. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely interested in a guy who at least as the potential to assemble the near-mythical 5-by-5 stat line in a game.

King averaged 27.8 minutes per game for EKU this past season, so there is a little bit of potential for growth there. He had a teeny bit of a foul problem with 4.9 per 40 minutes, but that was a career low while posting a career high in minutes per game. Cleaning that up a little bit more could lead to more minutes played, and who doesn’t want a guy who can be top 500 in rebounding rate on both ends as well as top 250 in blocks and steals on the floor as much as possible?

The most interesting part about King’s game might be his three-point shooting. After averaging less than an attempt per game in his first two seasons while shooting just 18%, he made a huge step forward this past year. Two attempts from long range per game on the nose out of his 12.5 overall attempts per game, and King hit 33.9% of them. That’s basically exactly what you want from a guy who is playing the 4 or the 5 for you: Not relying on it, but exactly threatening enough that defense have to take him seriously.

D.J. Horne

D.J. Horne was inserted into the starting lineup in the eighth game of his collegiate career, and he essentially never left. He missed one game late this past season, came off the bench for the next two, including playing 42 minutes in a double overtime game, and then started in Illinois State’s Missouri Valley Tournament loss to Northern Iowa. He made a big jump from Year One (8.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists) to Year Two, where he scored 15.1 points, grabbed 3.7 rebounds, and dished 2.7 assists per game. This happened while boosting his minutes per game by just a little more than five per outing.

The 6’1”, 175 pound guard out of North Carolina is an incredibly accurate shooter, but he doesn’t rely on outside shooting to put points on the board. 261 of his 524 career attempts have come from behind the arc, and Horne has knocked in 41.4% of them while hitting at least 40% in both seasons. He just barely missed ranking in the top 150 most accurate shooters in the country in both of his two seasons as a Redbird according to KenPom.com. He’s at #152 as a freshman, but that’s because KenPom doesn’t count one game against a non-Division 1 opponent in there. I suspect the difference between 40.0% and 40.2% might have been enough to make him top 150 in both years.

Shooting like that should translate from MVC to the Big East because Horne had to hit a lot of shots in a lot of different gyms to get there. It’s possible that he might even be a little bit better at Marquette, since he may not be the focus of the offense. He led ISU in attempts and points per game this past season, but was still crazy accurate on his shots. In situation where defensive schemes aren’t listing him #1 on the scouting report? Might help him hit a few more shots.

Horne might be able to contribute on defense as well after ranking #257 per KenPom in steal rate this past season. He also made a pretty big leap forward in turnover rate, going from 19.4% as a freshman and 20% in MVC play to 16.6% as a sophomore. The turnover rate went way down while the usage rate went way up, so that’s a good sign for him being able to keep that going at the Big East level.

A NEW DEVELOPMENT

Noah Gurley

The 6’8” 210 pound forward transfer from Furman has no shortage of great options in front of him. On Sunday, Gurley announced that he is only considering Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Florida, Miami, San Diego State, and Tennessee for the final week of his transfer recruitment. In addition to that, Gurley is expecting to be able to make a decision followed by an announcement this coming Sunday, April 11th.

Gurley averaged 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game as a junior for the Paladins this past season. He was a high usage player for head coach Bob Richey the past two seasons, so there is some question as to how Marquette and head coach Shaka Smart would be interested in deploying Gurley on the floor. He has turned into a somewhat reliable three-point shooter for a 6’8” guy, although he went from 1.8 attempts at a 41% clip as a sophomore to 4.5 attempts per game at a 34% clip as a junior. Still, 34% is good enough to keep shooting from beyond the arc, so I’m not too worried about that.

There are obviously much more stable situations than Marquette available to Gurley with Duke and Alabama leading the way there. I’m not sure exactly what he’s looking for in a new program for his senior season, but there’s a reason why he’s interested in playing for Smart right out of the gate.

Let’s wrap up with the scholarship chart! There’s a lot of different potential classes in the mix here, so I will just point out that the Golden Eagles have at least three and maybe four scholarships available for 2021-22 depending on what happens with former walk-on turned scholarship player Tommy Gardiner for next season.