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Part 4 Of ??? In Our Marquette In The Portal Series

We’re swinging back around with yet more discussion of who the Golden Eagles are looking to bring in for next fall.

2K Empire Classic Georgetown vs Texas
Will Courtney Ramey reunite with Shaka Smart in Milwaukee?
Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images

Hello and welcome back to our ongoing series of articles tracking everything that Marquette men’s basketball is getting up to in the transfer portal this spring. This is the fourth article covering all there is to cover, and you can click the links to see Parts One, Two, and Three if you’re so inclined.

We start with updates on guys that we’ve previously discussed!

Zach Wrightsil — Visiting Marquette on April 14th

Warren Washington — On his list of seven

Fardaws Aimaq — Not on his list of nine

Kendal Coleman — LSU

Cam Hayes — LSU

Ali Ali — Butler

That brings us to the scholarship chart so y’all can keep an eye on who is and is not on the roster for next season.

Please remember that Justin Lewis’ future is still up in the air. It’s completely reasonable for the sophomore from Baltimore to head for a pro career at this point.... but not completely surprising to see him return to Marquette for a third campaign. There has been no word officially out of the McGuire Center as to what Lewis is doing in regards to the NBA Draft, not even a hint of merely exploring his options to get feedback.

If he leaves, Marquette has two spots available for next fall..... but also then just two spots for the fall of 2023 as well. Currently, MU projects to have no seniors on the 2022-23 roster, so there would be no spots opening up if Shaka Smart and his staff fill the roster with players who have eligibility remaining.

Let’s get into the new guys, shall we?

Luis Rodriguez

Well, let’s start with this then: Rodriguez started against Marquette in Charleston this past season, going for nine points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal in 27 minutes while the Golden Eagles won, 78-72.

In 90 appearances for Ole Miss, the 6’6”, 210 pound Rodriguez averaged 5.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.1 steals. Since moving to the starting lineup most every night in the 2020-21 season, those numbers turn into 7.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.5 steals. He has never shown a true ability to knock down shots behind the three-point line, going without a make in nine tries in his first 30 games in Oxford, and then shooting just 31.5% over the past two seasons.

None of this is knocking your socks off, I’m sure. Here’s the thing: He rebounds and he defends. Top 500 per KenPom in offensive and defensive rebounding rate in each of the past two seasons, including a top 200 defensive rate in 2020-21. He’s been top 250 in steal rate in each of the past two campaigns, including a top 75 number in 2020-21.

Landers Nolley

At 6’7”, 208 pounds, Nolley certainly sounds like a Justin Lewis replacement type of player. After being recruited to play for Buzz Williams at Virginia Tech and then sticking around for a year after Buzz left, Nolley then transferred to Memphis. After starting almost all of VaTech’s games, he was a most-of-the-time starter for Penny Hardaway. Overall, in 89 collegiate games, Nolley has averaged 12.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. His scoring was way down this year with the Tigers, so I would guess that he’s looking for a spot to do a bit more of that going forward.

Nolley is a pretty good playmaker for a guy his size, ranking #454 on KenPom.com in assist rate. For his height, though, he’s never really turned into much of a rebounder. He was pretty good as a redshirt freshman in Blacksburg, but either Penny didn’t ask him to or it wasn’t working out for him in that department. If Nolley were to end up in Milwaukee — and he’s visiting Texas A&M and Buzz Williams, so put your chips on that spot on the board — he would definitely need to start rebounding more since that was a major weakness for the Golden Eagles last year. That goes double if Nolley were to end up as a replacement for Justin Lewis on the roster.

Courtney Ramey

Here we have to parse the difference between “Marquette wants him on the roster” and “Shaka Smart checked in on his guy.” The 6’3”, 185 pound guard from Saint Louis was a top 50 point guard prospect coming out of high school in 2018, and he had a very productive time with Shaka Smart as his head coach: 10.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.0 steals per game, shot 37% from long range. His numbers were mostly the same in Chris Beard’s first year in charge, but with one year left to burn thanks to the COVID bonus eligibility, Ramey is looking outside of Austin for one more go-round.

I’m not saying “absolutely do not do this” to Ramey, but I am saying that if you’re taking a guy for one year and one year only, Marquette has bigger issues to deal with. Ramey does not solve any problems going from last year’s roster to next year’s roster, namely a big who rebounds or a Justin Lewis replacement. He would probably be very productive, but between the returning guards on the roster and the freshmen coming in, Marquette doesn’t really have a good use for Ramey.

Bryce Hopkins

If Bryce Hopkins is still the kind of guy who earned a top 40 recruiting ranking from 247 Sports in the Class of 2021, he can go anywhere he wants and succeed. At 6’7” and 220 pounds, he would fit into the mold of being a Justin Lewis replacement type on the roster.

At a glance, it’s obvious why he’s leaving Kentucky. Since the first of the year, he played more than 5 minutes in a game for the Wildcats on just two occasions. This comes after he was getting pretty regular rotation minutes in November and December, so you can see how he would get the message of “maybe Lexington isn’t for me.”

Given all of that, you won’t be surprised to find out his stats are not super great: 2.1 points, 1.4 rebounds per game in 6.5 minutes while appearing in 28 games. It’s not like his November/December splits are better: 3.0 points, 1.8 rebounds, 9.1 minutes. He’s a clearly talented guy who just didn’t get much of a chance to show what he can do for the Wildcats..... but is also going to have to be much better if he were to end up at Marquette. 5-for-16 from behind the arc isn’t going to cut it, and neither is a 23% turnover rate. If nothing else, he did post double digit rebounding rates per KenPom.com on both ends of the floor, and we all know that any and/or all rebounding talent will be welcomed with open arms next year.