clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Get To Know A Marquette Basketball Opponent: North Carolina Central

What do we need to know as the Golden Eagles look to bounce back from Saturday’s loss to Wisconsin?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 North Carolina Central at Duke
My guy needs to stop skipping arm day.
Photo by Michael Berg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Name: North Carolina Central University

Location: Durham, North Carolina

Dang, how many schools are in that area of the state, anyway? Gonna presume it’s even more than we realize.

Founding and History: The school was chartered in 1909 and started classes in 1910. Originally, it was named, and stick with me here, I’m just passing it along: National Religious Training School & Chautauqua for the Colored Race. I’m just going to drop this Wikipedia link for Chautauqua right here and let you figure it out. In 1915, the school was sold and reamed as National Training School, where it started preparing black teachers. That’s how it ended up being renamed Durham State Normal School for Negroes in 1923 when the state began funding it, as “Normal School” is old-timey code for “teachers’ college.” Two years later, as the curriculum expanded, the state changed the name again to North Carolina College for Negroes, and eventually, in 1947, everyone wised up and just made it North Carolina College at Durham. They dropped “at Durham” part and officially expanded to university status in 1969.

Enrollment: 7,553 students in the fall of 2022, with just over 5,600 undergraduates.

Nickname: Eagles

Why “Eagles”? This is actually a fun one relative to the constant parade of “student vote.” NC Central got the nickname from Dr. James Shepard, who was the first school president, and apparently he just decided that they were the Eagles, but he had a good reason for it. Here’s how their athletics website explains it:

As the story goes, at the beginning of each school year, Dr. Shepard would rally the student body together for a motivational speech, which always began with an explanation as to why the institution’s mascot was an Eagle.

“The Eagle is no common, ordinary barnyard fowl,” Dr. Shepard explained. “And while a Sparrow clings to its flock, an Eagle soars alone.”

Notable Alumni: Maynard Jackson, the first black mayor of Atlanta; actress Kim Coles; Dan Blue, the first black North Carolina Speaker of the House; Herman Boone, high school football coach portrayed by Denzel Washington in Remember The Titans; Clarence Lightner, the first black mayor of Raleigh; and NBA Hall of Famer Sam Jones, who won 10 NBA titles with the Boston Celtics.

Last Season: 16-15 after going 8-5 in MEAC play.

Final Ranking: #285

Final T-Rank Ranking: #315

This Year So Far: 5-4, but 2-4 against Division 1 opponents.

Current KenPom Ranking & Projection: #220, projected to finish 17-11 overall and 9-5 in the MEAC.

Current T-Rank Ranking & Projection: #249, projected to finish 16-12 overall and 9-5 in the MEAC.

Returning Stats Leaders

Points: Justin Wright, 13.7 ppg
Rebounds: Kris Monroe, 6.0 rpg
Assists: Eric Boone, 3.6 apg

A Note: All three men were the team leaders in all three departments a year ago.

Actual Stats Leaders

Points: Justin Wright, 15.3 ppg
Rebounds: Kris Monroe, 5.6 rpg
Assists: Eric Boone, 5.6 apg

Shooters? Kris Monroe (6’8”, 212 lbs.) is connecting on just short of 40% of his 5.3 attempts from behind the arc this season, and he is leading the team in attempts. Justin Wright (6’2”, 195 lbs.) is all the way up at 48% on over three attempts per game, and while Marque Maultsby (6’3”, 165 lbs.) and Fred Cleveland, Jr., (5’9”, 165 lbs.) aren’t firing off a lot of threes (2.9 and 2.2 per game), they are making an awful lot of them at 39% and 40% respectively.

I do want to highlight Eric Boone (6’2”, 190 lbs.) and Ja’Darius Harris (6’2”, 175 lbs.) in this section. They’re not shooting much, and in fact, Harris isn’t even playing much at just 11.2 minutes per game. However, Boone is 10-for-15 this season, and yeah, he’s going to cool off from 67% eventually, but he’s also a perfect 4-for-4 in his last two games after missing their outing against Radford. Harris is 7-for-10 on the year. Yes. 70%. He barely played at all in their first three games, and other than a 2 minute outing against Montreat, he’s played at least 14 minutes in every contest since. He’s 4-for-5 in their last three games.

Bigs? There are two gentlemen north of 6’9” on the team this year. Cameron Butler measures in at 6’10”, but only 205 pounds. Brendan Medley-Bacon is listed at an even 7-feet tall and 235 pounds. Medley-Bacon has started every game this season and played at least 23 minutes in six of their first seven games... but he only played 18 minutes against Radford and just 11 minutes in the 127-40 demolition of Saint Andrews last time out. That might just be a matchup thing, though. Butler played 14 minutes against Appalachian State in Game #2 of the year and 16 minutes in their most recent game, but didn’t break double digit minutes in any other contest.

Do you want to count 6’8” 225 pound Dan Oladapo here? Even if we do count him as a big (he does rebound it pretty well), his minutes are all over the place. 20 vs Virginia in the opener and then just four against Appalachian State in their next game, followed by 15 against Liberty in the third game of the year tells the story pretty well.

Head Coach: LeVell Moton, in his 14th season at NC Central and as a head coach. He has a record of 233-176 overall and 119-46 in the MEAC. He’s also an NCCU graduate.

All Time Series: Marquette leads, 1-0, after a 75-66 victory in 2012.

What To Watch For: If you read through the Shooters section, then you’re probably wondering an important question: Is NC Central only knocking down shots against hilariously overmatched NAIA squads? A worthwhile question with a 127-40 win last time out as well as a 109-50 victory over Mid-Atlantic Christian.

To the game-by-game!

  • at Virginia: 8-for-19, 42%
  • at App State: 9-for-25, 36%
  • at Liberty: 10-for-24, 42%
  • vs Gardner Webb: 6-for-18, 33%
  • vs UNC Asheville: 9-for-18, 50%
  • at Radford: 10-for-24, 42%

The answer? No, they’re raining down threes no matter who you are.

Stopping that from happening to Marquette is of importance. The good news is that it’s actually kind of easy to stop NC Central from shooting threes against you, as they’re only letting it fly for about 37% of their shots. That’s right about #200 in the country per KenPom, so they’re just a bit below the national average in that department. Honestly, at #362 in the country in getting their shots blocked, the Eagles should probably consider firing off a few more threes per game at this rate.

One final thing: Brendan Medley-Bacon is just outside the top 300 in offensive rebounding rate per KenPom. Marquette’s still not a stellar defensive rebounding squad, right about middle of the country, so it would be a very good plan to put a body on the Maryland native any time the ball goes up from one of his teammates.