The 2022-23 college basketball season is right around the corner, so let’s dive into the Marquette men’s basketball roster and take a look at what to expect from each player this season. We’ll be going through the roster one by one: First MU’s three freshmen in last name alphabetical order, then the lone transfer on the squad, moving on to the guy coming of a redshirt freshman year, and then finally the returning active players from last season, going in order of average minutes per game last season from lowest to highest.
We’re going to organize our thoughts about the upcoming season as it relates to each player into categories, as we always do:
- Reasonable Expectations
- Why You Should Get Excited
- Potential Pitfalls
With that out of the way, it’s time to talk about our third and final freshman.......
Freshman - #5 - Guard - 6’4” - 195 pounds - Dallas, Texas
Officially, Chase Ross hails from Texas, specifically from Dallas. That’s what’s listed on his official team bio and everything. However, Ross did not finish high school in Texas. He was at Cushing Academy in Massachusetts, up near New Hampshire, for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years after starting off his prep experience at Plano West in the DFW area.
That move to Cushing definitely resulted in Ross going from a Class of 2021 prospect to a Class of 2022 prospect, and it might have ended up causing him to go a little bit under the radar as well. Because of the pandemic, Cushing didn’t actually play all that much competitive basketball for a while, so that means a lot of time where recruiting types didn’t get to see Ross play. When he committed to Marquette in September 2021, just a couple of months after he got an offer from Shaka Smart, Ross wasn’t rated or ranked in the 247 Sports Composite system.
Today, as his freshman season inches closer? They have him at #173 in the country. That makes him the #23 shooting guard prospect in the country, and because he’s actually from Texas, 247 says he’s the #3 prospect in the Lone Star State. Internally, 247 likes him a lot more, ranking him at #131 and bumping him up to a four-star prospect from the three-star rating that the Composite gives him. ESPN marks Ross as a four-star guy and the #34 shooting guard prospect. Both Rivals and On3 have pages for Ross, but neither one goes deeper than tagging him as a three-star prospect. Like I said, maybe ever so slightly overlooked because Cushing was shut down for a while.
In his final year of EYBL club participation, Ross averaged 12.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Pretty good stuff, and that matches up really well with what he did as a senior at Cushing last season: 15.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.4 steals. I have to say, the 3.0 assists as a senior at Cushing while still projecting as a shooting guard prospect is highly intriguing to me.
This is one of those things where you have to try to balance optimism about a guy that Marquette head coach Shaka Smart very clearly made a high priority almost immediately upon taking the Marquette job with what you normally expect from freshmen in general as well as freshmen that aren’t getting a lot of recruiting trail buzz. Think about it this way: T-Rank says, once we factor in Emarion Ellis’ recovery from stress fracture surgery, we should expect Ross to play a very bit part on this team, averaging less than seven minutes a game. That’s after the original projection had him south of four minutes a night and averaging 1.9 points and 1.1 rebounds.
But that’s an algorithm spitting out a projection partly based on what’s on MU’s roster as a known returning quantity and partly based on Ross’ recruiting rankings... and that second part miiiiight be a little bit undercooked. It’s probably a mistake to think that Ross is going to explode onto the scene and take up a big chunk of playing time. If he’s a shooting guard, then he’s sitting behind Kam Jones in the rotation at the very least. Ross would have to prove that he’s at least as much of an offensive threat as Jones is while also showing that he can defend better than Jones, and Jones has a head start on both categories since he’s been playing for Smart for a year already.
Between Jones and Tyler Kolek taking up the primary backcourt roles, Stevie Mitchell established as a defensive pest with the ability to knock down shots, and Sean Jones lurking to pull whatever minutes he can get at point guard, things might be tough for Ross to get on the floor. If he proves he can guard 1 through 3, that might provide the Golden Eagles with some roster flexibility. One thing we know for sure, though: Ross is going to have to defend if he wants to play at all.
Why You Should Get Excited
I’m pushing the boundaries here, because as we’ll get to in a second, I’m not preparing myself to see a lot of Chase Ross this season. However, the fact of the matter is that Marquette is not getting a lot of preseason buzz as an NCAA tournament caliber team because there’s just not anyone on the roster that looks like an immediately obvious go-to-guy threat.
I’m not going to say that Chase Ross can be that guy and that’s why you should be excited for his freshman campaign. That would be a little silly to put out into the universe. There’s a chance of it though, because we’ve seen weirder things happen, but that’s not what I was trying to get to here. Maybe this Marquette team doesn’t have a dominant star like they did with Justin Lewis last season. Maybe this is a “sum is greater than the parts” team. Maybe this is a “12 guys all pulling together and doing a little bit to help the team win” squad, and if that’s the case, there has to be some kind of role from Ross. If we’re seeing a positive outcome to the season and we’re seeing useful contributions from Ross, then that’s a highly productive freshman season for the young man, no matter what the stats look like at the end of the year.
There’s no other way to say this: Chase Ross is the freshman that I’m expecting to see the least amount of playing time this season. Sean Jones has an obvious path to the floor: Whatever backup minutes Tyler Kolek is allowing. Same goes for Ben Gold with a shot at backing up Oso Ighodaro as well as fitting into whatever Marquette’s plan at the 4 is this season. I don’t seen an immediate way to get Ross onto the floor like I do for those two guys. That’s probably not ideal, but hey: He’s a freshman, and it’s supposed to be hard for freshmen to get on the floor, right?
The primary reason why it’s hard for freshmen to get on the floor for Shaka Smart? You have to defend. What if Ross just isn’t prepared for the speed and physicality of college hoops even though he reclassified back a year when he transferred to Cushing Academy? There’s nothing wrong with that, as Smart has made it pretty clear that his recruiting plan is to get guys who can contribute to his team for four years. Maybe Ross’ major impact for Marquette is just down the road as he develops as a high major Division 1 player. Nothing wrong with that, it just means we might not see him all that much this season.