Back in early April, Maryland guard Darryl Morsell announced that he was both entering the NBA Draft without an agent and also entering the transfer portal in order to keep all of his options open. There seems to be some debate about whether or not that NBA Draft part ever actually happened, but the transfer portal part definitely did. After a Saturday night announcement of an announcement, Morsell finally made his 2021-22 destination known on Monday afternoon: YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles.
This seemed like a likely landing spot for Morsell ever since Marquette officially announced that former Maryland assistant coach DeAndre Haynes was joining new head coach Shaka Smart’s corps of assistants in Milwaukee. Sure, Haynes had nothing to do with recruiting Morsell to Maryland, as Haynes was only in College Park for the past two seasons and Morsell was a four year starter for Mark Turgeon. Still, when a guy is looking for a landing spot for a final year of college hoops — this will be Morsell’s COVID-bonus season — going somewhere with a familiar face is a very obvious option.
It doesn’t hurt that Marquette kind of desperately needs a player like Morsell on the roster. The 6’5”, 200 pound guard out of Baltimore posted a career high 2.8 assists per game this past season and a career best assist rate of 19.3% to rank in KenPom.com’s top 500 in the country. Both numbers were good enough to lead Maryland in each department as the Terps 1) worked out how to deal with the graduation of Anthony Cowan and 2) finished with a 17-14 record and reached the NCAA tournament for the fifth time in the last six tourneys.
Sure, the former top 75 prospect isn’t what you would call a prototypical point guard, or at least he wasn’t deployed in that fashion at Maryland. Most of that has to do with Anthony Cowan being around for three seasons. But when the coaching staff — including Haynes — wanted to cobble together an NCAA tournament caliber offense — #37 in the country in KenPom’s efficiency rating — without a true point guard, then they made use of the skills that Morsell did have to get that done. That definitely seems to be in Marquette’s future, as MU’s starting point guard options before Morsell’s commitment were 1) Greg Elliott and his injury history, 2) freshman Stevie Mitchell, 3) maaaaaaaaybe sophomore transfer Tyler Kolek, and 4) pray for rain.
That’s just talking about Morsell’s fit in general terms. Specifically? I think it’s a very good thing for Marquette’s chances in 2021-22 to add the 2020-21 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year as voted on by that league’s head coaches. The facts of the matter are Marquette is going to be a very inexperienced team next season, both in terms of “minutes of college basketball played” and in terms of “minutes of college basketball played together.” Having a lockdown guard/wing defender available will help make things a little bit easier for all of the freshmen who are going to have to carry heavy minutes and so on and so forth down the roster.
Here’s what Marquette’s scholarship chart looks like right now.
In terms of down the road recruiting ideas, this doesn’t change anything. Morsell will be in blue and gold for one year and then will be gone. MU still has four open scholarships for the fall of 2022 now that Dawson Garcia is most likely not returning to Milwaukee.