Paying attention to recruiting might’ve taken a little bit of a backseat to the January and February Marquette men’s basketball winning streak, but Shaka Smart and his staff stayed hard at work on the recruiting trail. Smart made two scholarship offers to guys in the class of 2023 back in January, so let’s get caught up on those guys.
JaQualon “JQ” Roberts
I’m extremely blessed to receive an offer from Marquette University! Thank you to @CoachShakaSmart @CoachDreHaynes and the rest of the coaching staff for the opportunity! @MarquetteMBB @MarquetteU #GoGoldenEagles! pic.twitter.com/TijXJZFsO8— JaQualon “JQ” Roberts (@JQ_co2023) January 26, 2022
JQ’s 247 Sports page lists him as a 6’6, 195 pound power forward. His twitter bio says otherwise: “G/SG/SF/PF - 6’8 - 198lbs”. Those two inches make a huge difference, basically the difference between Darryl Morsell and a much lankier Olivier-Maxence Prosper.
He doesn’t have any ranking outside of 247 Sports, so we’re relying on their internal system for this one. He’s the #24 power forward in the class of 2023, but he’s not nationally ranked outside of that. In just Indiana, he’s the sixth best recruit.
Being an Indiana guy, it makes sense that nine of his ten offers are from the Midwest. Notably, Indiana, Iowa, and Butler have all joined Marquette in the fray. The only non-Midwest offer comes from the University of Massachusetts.
About a week ago, Marquette used one of their limited official visit slots on JQ, so things are relatively serious. Doc Rivers was in town with the 76ers around the Georgetown home game and joined in on the visit. Marquette Basketball alumni getting in on the recruiting game is pretty cool, if you ask me.
His highlight videos are awesome. He can shoot it from deep, athletically finish around the rim, and, maybe most importantly, ferociously dunk it.
Joseph “JP” Estrella
JP Estrella is a class of 2023 recruit from South Portland. No, not that Portland... South Portland, Maine. If I didn’t know any better I’d say this guy is a complete mystery. He has a 247 Sports page and he’s listed as 6’10 but his weight isn’t anywhere. His New England Recruiting Report page ranks him as the #1 prospect in Maine, and the #10 prospect in New England.
Despite being virtually invisible to recruiting sites at this point of the recruiting cycle, he’s got a lot of high major offers. Mostly North-Eastern-ish teams, as you would expect. Syracuse, Providence, and Penn State amongst others represent that geographic area, while Tennessee and Iowa join Marquette from the farther reaches of the country.
The highlight video shows JP hitting some threes, a bunch of blocks, and some dribble drives with adept post-finishes. Overall, he looks like a classic Shaka Smart lanky big, something I’d be happy to have more of.
Scholarship chart time!
After Ben Gold’s commitment, Marquette projects to have just one open scholarship slot in the 2023-24 season, which is when both of these guys would be freshmen. But, there are a lot of moving parts. Shaka Smart has struck gold with his four transfers this year and could, conceivably, get another transfer with more eligibility for next season. That would fill up the one 2023-24 spot.
Justin Lewis’s future at Marquette remains uncertain. As much as we all would love for him to play until his fourth year at Marquette in 2023-24, he’s inching towards the late first round or early second round of this summer’s NBA draft. That is, of course, if he declares for the draft after this season. Logic concludes, based on how well this year has gone for him, that he likely would go even higher were he to stay at Marquette another year and then leave before the 2023-24 season with eligibility left to go. I’m not expecting him to be around in two seasons, so we probably will have two open scholarship slots.
Everything is uncertain. Who knows what will happen with transfers and our beloved NBA prospect. But, if we get to see either these guys in blue & gold I’ll be happy.