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Where Are They Now: Marquette Transfers In NCAA Basketball

What happened to your favorite (or least favorite?) former Golden Eagles after they left Milwaukee?

Appalachian State v Duke Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

If you look at the list of Marquette transfers that are still playing in the realm of the NCAA, there is not a single thing in common except they all suited up in blue and gold at one point or another. Guys like Jamal Cain, Theo John, and Traci Carter (no, seriously, still playing!) were some of my favorite players when they played here. Symir Torrence, Dexter Akanno, and Joey Hauser were all incredibly frustrating during their time in Milwaukee, while Jose Perez and walk-on Luke Fizulich were, for better or worse, irrelevant for the Golden Eagles.

Let’s take a look back at this eclectic group of players and how they’re all doing this season.

Jamal Cain

21.3 pts | 10.5 rebs | 1.8 stls | 36 mins | Oakland

I have been saying that Jamal Cain needed more minutes for YEARS, check the date on this old Instagram post I made.

Cain is absolutely killing it for Oakland this season. He’s averaging a 21 point double-double, and leading his team to the #15 spot in the Mid-Major rankings this far in the season. Cain has been a big contributor for Oakland all season, helping his team to upset a very good Oklahoma State team with a 14 point, 12 rebound effort.

Cain is playing the 25th most minutes per game in the NCAA according to KenPom.com, and nearly all of his numbers are up from last season. His assist average is down, but he’s in a much different role for Oakland than what Steve Wojciechowski had him playing. He’s scoring a lot more, shooting more, rebounding more, blocking more, stealing more, and shooting nearly 60% from the field. He’s also #9 in the NCAA in points per game, which I’m sure none of us would have expected.

Cain has a real shot of making the NCAA tournament come March with Oakland seeming to be the likeliest winner of the Horizon League automatic bid. If Cain keeps playing like he is, I’m going to be so happy picking Oakland in the first round. If you want to watch him play again, and consider what could’ve been, Oakland visits UWM at Panther Arena downtown on January 20th.

We’ll never know what would’ve happened if he actually got those minutes at Marquette, but, if his time at Oakland is any indication, we might’ve ended up having a guy with real NBA upside.

Theo John

3.2 pts | 2.6 rebs | 13 mins | Duke

Marquette’s favorite big boy (is massive man more apt?) Theo John went to Duke this offseason. I’ll be honest and say that I was surprised and a little disappointed. I wanted John to be able to be THE GUY on a smaller team and see what he could do with more playing time and ever so slightly worse competition. I thought that John could get near three blocks a game, and turn into the three point threat that he showed himself to be in two games last season.

This season John’s averages are a lot like his freshman year numbers. He averages half a steal more, half an assist more, half a point less, while also having significantly fewer turnovers. Now, John is playing about half as many minutes per game for Duke as he did his senior year at Marquette, so the downturn in numbers makes sense. Per 40, most of his numbers are up from last season. He’s only shot one three pointer so far this season, and he missed which brings his career percentage down to a paltry 60%.

John does seem to be enjoying himself at Duke, at least if this TikTok is any indication:

@4randos

Hello Mr. Theo John thank you for joining us #fyp #foryou

♬ KeyKey Palmer - Tejas C

Koby McEwen

17.5 pts | 4.5 rebs | 1.5 asts | 1.1 stls | 33 mins | Weber State

What to say about Koby McEwen... I don’t really know where to start. He showed flashes of greatness in his time at MU, but he could never put it together for a full season or even a run of games. He was really frustrating for me because I knew that he had all the tools to lead the team to be good last season. He just couldn’t get it all together. Though he left more than six months ago, his unbridled confidence lives on at Marquette through one Kam Jones.

McEwen left Marquette for Weber State for the second transfer of his collegiate career. McEwen is scoring a lot more this season than last season, seven points per game more. He’s passing for 1.5 fewer assists than last season and he’s shooting 54% from the field, but other than that his numbers are pretty much the same.

Weber State has a chance of getting the Big Sky automatic bid to the NCAA tournament in March. KenPom.com projects them to have the best regular season record in the conference, but there are five or six teams that all seem to have a realistic shot of winning the conference tournament. All I know is that I’d love to watch McEwen in an NCAA tournament setting.

Here’s a cool dunk of his from December 30th, a night where he scored 31 points:

Dawson Garcia

10 pts | 5.5 rebs | 21 mins | North Carolina

Probably the highest ceiling guy out of this bunch, Garcia is making his impact felt at North Carolina. He’s been out for the last two games after getting a concussion two minutes into a game vs. Boston College on January 2nd, but he’s put up good numbers all season. He’s been a regular starter for North Carolina, 12 out of the 13 games he has played were starts.

It’s also worth noting that he changed up his hairstyle, since his time at Marquette. He looks like a completely different person:

Despite the look change, Garcia is doing really similar things to what he did at Marquette. He’s scoring 3 points per game less, but he’s also not asked to be a much of an offensive force as he was under Wojo. I don’t know why that is, because the haircut has led to a huge increase in his three point percentage: 35.6% to 45.8% this season. Other than the 3 point shooting jump, nearly every other stat is the same despite a decrease in his minutes.

Maybe we’ll see Garcia in the NBA draft this year, but probably not. All of the 2022 NBA mock drafts and prospect rankings haven’t had Garcia included, we’ll certainly see his Tar Heels in the NCAA tournament though.

Poll

Which MU player currently active in CBB would you most want to see on the Marquette TBT team?

  • 0%
    Dexter Akanno
    (5 votes)
  • 40%
    Jamal Cain
    (236 votes)
  • 1%
    Traci Carter
    (8 votes)
  • 1%
    Luke Fizulich
    (6 votes)
  • 19%
    Dawson Garcia
    (114 votes)
  • 11%
    Joey Hauser
    (67 votes)
  • 24%
    Theo John
    (143 votes)
  • 0%
    Koby McEwen
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Jose Perez
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Symir Torrence
    (3 votes)
588 votes total Vote Now

1.7 pts | 1.6 rebs | 3.1 asts | 12 mins | Syracuse

I really really wanted Symir Torrence to be good. He was the only non-walk on/redshirt in my class at MU and I wanted to have a star for all four years that I would be at Marquette. It got to the point his sophomore year where my friends and I would yell “we love you sy boogie” (his instagram handle) whenever we thought he was in earshot. I also had this very fun, albeit a little strange, Instagram interaction with him:

Clearly he didn’t actually love me back. Sad. He could’ve gone anywhere, but it had to be Syracuse. That’s probably the college basketball team I have the most disdain for. I would have much more preferred he go to Notre Dame, Seton Hall, or even the Brooklyn Nets (I know they’re not college basketball, I just really don’t enjoy them).

Personal opinions aside, Torrence is doing really similar things for Syracuse that he did for Marquette. His shooting is still not at his freshman season level, he’s shooting 28.6% from three, he’s only playing a bit above 10 minutes per game, and he’s scoring just a bit less. He is assisting 1.4 times per game more which is cool, but he’s helped by the fact that Syracuse has the 25th highest 3 point percentage in the NCAA.

Who knows where we’ll see Torrence next. Right now Syracuse doesn’t look to be a NCAA tournament team, that 2-3 zone isn’t what it used to be (bordering on falling into the 200s in adjusted defense on KenPom), but there’s a small chance that they squeak in.

Jose Perez

14.1 pts | 3.1 rebs | 5.5 asts | 30 mins | Manhattan

We never got to see everything that Jose Perez could’ve offered Marquette, he only played in 10 games and only averaged 11 minutes in those games. At Manhattan he’s back to being the player he was at Gardner-Webb, if not better. He’s putting up 14 points per game and 5.5 (!!!) assists per game.

His time at Marquette was disappointing for everyone involved. He was supposed to redshirt and missed 16 games but injuries forced him to play in the final eight games of the season before he ultimately transferred away. He’s a New York city native, so he’s back home playing near to his family, which is pretty important since his mother is battling cancer. We’re not very likely to see Manhattan in the NCAA tourney so we might not see much of Jose Perez from here on out.

Dexter Akanno

3.8 pts | 1.6 rebs | 15 mins | Oregon State

Another guy who didn’t play much for Marquette, and who saw lots of improvement in his transfer year simply by virtue of actually playing. Akanno has already played in more games for Oregon State than he has for Marquette. He’s had three games this season in which he scored more points than his career total of eight points at Marquette.

He pulled out this dunk in game #1 to kick off what has been a productive season so far:

After playing spoilers last season and making the Elite Eight as a 12 seed, Oregon State started off the season at #73 in KenPom.com‘s rankings. They then proceeded to lose 10 straight games to drop them down to #155. Even though the Pac-12 isn’t amazing this year, Oregon State probably won’t see the NCAA tournament, but that’s what we said last season, isn’t it? Akanno still has a few more years of eligibility, so we might see him again.

Luke Fizulich

2.1 pts | 5 mins | Albany

You might not know who this is, why he’s on this list, or anything about him. Luke Fizulich, affectionately called Luke Fizz by some students, played just one total minute for Marquette in 2020-21. In that minute, he managed a steal and a turnover, so overall pretty productive.

He followed former Marquette assistant coach Dwayne Killings to Albany, which is closer to home for him, and is playing more consistent basketball. He’s played in 8 games so far for the Great Danes, getting around 5 minutes and scoring 2 points per game. He even scored 9 points in a win over Lehigh, going 2-2 from three.

Albany is projected to be second-last in the America East, so we probably won’t get to see Luke Fizz get March Madness minutes, but we do have a chance to see him matchup against another one of Marquette’s transfers: Traci Carter. More on him in a minute.

Joey Hauser

6.9 pts | 6.5 rebs | 2.0 asts | 22 mins | Michigan State

Like me, I’m sure many of you have tried to forget that Joey Hauser ever played for Marquette. I only ever think about him once per year in the lead up to the annual UW-Madison/Marquette basketball game. In Hauser’s lone matchup with UW Madison, Brad Davison did this:

It must be pointed out that he did this while down two in overtime and while Marquette had the ball. Sure, Marquette didn’t score on the possession after Joey hit his two free throws, but there was a real chance that Davison turned that game from MU +2 to MU +7 when he made this decision.

Where were we? Oh, right.

For Marquette, Hauser was pretty good relative to his status as a redshirt freshman. He averaged about 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. This season, Hauser is scoring a good bit less: Only about 7 points per game. He’s playing about seven minutes less than for Marquette, but his rebounding has increased. He’s developed into a really good rebounder; he’s nationally ranked in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage according to KenPom.com.

This season has been a rough one so far for Hauser. Lots of Michigan State fans aren’t pleased with his play (feel free to search “Hauser” on Twitter during a MSU game) despite their team having only lost twice. There’s a really good chance we’ll get to see some of Joey in the NCAA tournament, and if you want to really want to watch him in person, Michigan State visits UW-Madison on February 8th. Downside: You have to go to the Kohl Center.

Traci Carter

4.5 pts | 2.5 rebs | 4.5 asts | 2.5 stls | Hartford

One of the most experienced players in college basketball at this point, Traci Carter transferred from Marquette after playing 8 games in the 2016-17 season. To contextualize that a little bit, I had just turned 17 and was a junior in high school the last time Traci suited up in blue and gold. I’m now just two semesters away from graduating college, and Carter’s still going strong. Crazy.

Carter has had an up and down collegiate career. He originally transferred to La Salle where he would only play for one season. He thought about quitting basketball after knee surgery and family problems, but ultimately decided to return to the game and transfer to Hartford. What a good decision that has proved to be. Last season, he led Hartford to their first ever NCAA tournament averaging 11.7 points, 5 assists, and 2.5 steals. He was #6 in the nation in steal percentage according to KenPom.com, and it certainly appears that head coach John Gallagher won’t stop talking about Carter if you give him a window.

This season he’s only appeared in two games so far after he was finally approved to play in mid-December. He played on December 18th and 22nd, but since then all of Hartford’s games have been cancelled due to Covid issues. Hartford isn’t likely to make the tournament this season, they’re projected to be in the bottom half of their conference.