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.
Today, we’re going to talk about Marquette’s junior year assists record and the top 10, and we’re taking a crack at it to talk about what Tyler Kolek is up to here in 2022-23.
The top two spots in the Marquette junior year assists list are pretty wild, if you think about the process of how we got there. Think about this: In 1975, Lloyd Walton dished out 159 assists to set the all-time program record, and then, just four years later, Sam Worthen said “HEY WATCH THIS” and smashed Walton’s record by FIFTY ASSISTS, recording 209 helpers in 1979. That record then stood for 15 years! No one even got within 50 of Worthen for 15 years! That’s crazy!
And then do you know what happened?
Tony Miller broke Worthen’s record by SIXTY-FIVE ASSISTS. That’s crazy! The record went from 209 to 274! To make it even worse for Sam Worthen, that was the third straight year that Miller broke Worthen’s PROGRAM RECORD FOR ASSISTS. Right???
So yeah, that’s where we are today with the junior year assists chart: Four of the 10 best assists seasons in program history making up the top four spots on the list, including Tony Miller’s single season record, no matter what year in college, as the junior year record.
Thus enters Tyler Kolek.
Through 11 games this season, Kolek is averaging 7.8 assists per game for a total of 86 on the year. This is the third best assists average in the country as I write this in mid-December, trailing along behind Saint Louis’ Yuri Collins at 10.5 and Kansas State’s Markquis Nowell at 8.2 a night. 86 is of course nowhere near Dwyane Wade’s 145 that stands as the 10th best junior year in MU history, but at 7.8 per game, it’s also not very far away, either.
With 21 guaranteed games left to go in the year — 20 Big East games and one locked in Big East tournament game for Marquette — Kolek is on pace to finish the season with 249 assists on the season. This would be the second best junior year in MU history and just the third with over 200 assists. That would land Kolek 25 away from Tony Miller’s record.
It is not outside the realm of possibility that either Kolek bumps his average up a little bit as the rest of the season rolls along — 9.0 per game for the next 21 games does it — or Marquette does Kolek a solid and tacks on some postseason games to the season. One or the other, or maybe a little of both, lands Tyler Kolek with a shot to break Tony Miller’s junior year (and all-time single season) record of 274 assists.
Am I saying that Tyler Kolek needs to lead the country in assists to break Tony Miller’s record? Yes, that’s what I’m saying, but hey: Head coach Shaka Smart challenged him to do exactly that before the season started. It’s not crazy to think that it can happen!
Here’s the all-time junior year chart at the end of the 2022-23 season.
Marquette MBB Junior Year Assists Top 10 Chart