By now, you should be more than familiar with our series of regularly updating leaderboards for various Marquette Golden Eagles sports accomplishments. Keep checking back to that link in the previous sentence for our charts as the seasons continue to churn through history and MU’s various teams continue to create new memories and accomplishments.
Here, we’re going to talk about the best shot blocking senior years in Marquette history, and specifically, how Kur Kuath stacks up on that list.
SPOILER ALERT: It is kind of bonkers.
The list of the 10 best senior year blocked shot seasons is a pretty great who’s who of great MU big men. Obviously the list is led off by Jim McIlvaine’s 142 swats which helped him earn Great Midwest Conference Player of the Year honors back in 1994. But there’s also Faisal Abraham, the only MU senior other than Mac to record at least 60 blocks. Amal McCaskill and Luke Fischer are in there, Ousmane Barro had a great finale to his Marquette career to rank fifth, Marcus Jackson makes it in there, as does Walter Downing who had 40 blocks back in 1986 and is still seventh best all time. Theo John had 40 himself last season, and he snuck past Mike Bargen and Jae Crowder, who used his 35 blocks to help his case for Big East Player of the Year in 2012.
And that brings us to Kur Kuath, MU’s grad transfer from Oklahoma.
As of Wednesday night’s game against Kansas State, Kuath has recorded 27 blocks.
No, that’s not a typo. Kuath is currently EIGHT blocks away from tying Crowder for the 10th best senior year blocked shots season in MU history.... and there are at least 22 games left in his season.
You know what the wild part about this is? We knew we were getting a quality shot blocker in Kuath when he transferred from Oklahoma, but he’s going waaaaaay past what we were expecting, at least this early in the season. He had an absurd block rate once he started getting regular minutes for the Sooners in 2020, but just didn’t have enough minutes to qualify for a national ranking from KenPom.com. Then, last year, in just 17.1 minutes per game, Kuath ended up ranked #28 in the country in block rate at 9.4%. That was 1.5 per game, exactly what he had the year before just with more minutes played.
So, it was reasonable to think, well, if Shaka is going to try to get him to play at least 20 minutes a night, maybe he’ll take a teensy step back in order to avoid fouls, but hey, top 50 in block rate would still be really great.
Yeah, the other thing is happening.
Kur Kuath is averaging 2.7 blocks per game through 10 games this season. AND he’s only doing it on 18.3 minutes per game, barely more than a minute more than he averaged at Oklahoma last season. This has led Kuath to a 14.2% block rate, which is currently ranked #12 — TWELVE! — in the country. If anything, the existence of Oso Ighodaro has a legitimate option in the middle when Kuath isn’t on the floor has increased Kuath’s confidence in going after blocks.
2.7 blocks per game puts Kuath on pace for another 59 blocks this season. At that rate, he would be at 86 on the year, and give him the second best senior year shot blocking season in MU history. We should point out the caveat of “well, maybe things slow down in Big East play because he can’t feast for five blocks against Jackson State.” That’s fair!
Kuath also had five blocks against Illinois and four against Ole Miss. Overall, Marquette has played six of their 10 games against Big East caliber opponents, so it definitely seems possible that Kuath can average over two blocks per game without missing a beat.
In case you were wondering: Kuath needs to average 3.3 blocks the rest of the season — if MU’s season ends in the first round of the NCAA tournament, that is — to become just the second Marquette senior and second MU player ever to record 100 blocks in a season.
Here’s what the chart looks like after Marquette’s January 19th game against #11 Villanova.
The Marquette Men’s Basketball Senior Year Blocked Shots Chart