The 2023-24 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 — we’re skipping Caedin Hamilton because he will be redshirting this season — and then moving on to 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 the sophomore who might have the biggest breakout potential for this upcoming season......
Sophomore - #2 - Guard - 6’5” - 205 lbs. - Dallas, Texas
Should we do it now or do it later? You wanna do it now? Okay, let’s do it now.
Hey, remember that time Chase Ross banged on KC Ndefo?
That was fun.
If we could wind that clip back an extra five seconds or so, we would get a full encapsulation of Chase Ross’ freshman season at Marquette. That transition dunk is made possible by Ross cutting off a Seton Hall outlet pass in the backcourt and kicking it forward to Tyler Kolek to distribute. Great defensive play, smart decision afterwards to get the offense going, great heads up awareness of what was in front of him, absurd athleticism on full display.
Ross had one of the best defensive seasons ever by a Marquette freshman a year ago, finishing fifth all time in steals in a season by a first year player. Trailing only the likes of Jerel McNeal, Doc Rivers, and Dominic James in terms of immediate impact on defense is no small task, that’s for sure. Finishing #43 in the country in terms of steal rate per KenPom.com was a big reason why Marquette’s defense was better when Ross was on the floor as opposed to when he was on the bench.
His overall athleticism is why a lot of people are high on what Ross can contribute to the Golden Eagles as a sophomore. Now that he’s got a lot of the “learning his way” part of college basketball in the rear view mirror — not to mention a teensy bit of a “whoopsie, that’s hitting the freshman wall” — there’s no telling what he could accomplish going forward, and that’s maaaaaaaybe why NBA draftniks are starting to keep tabs on Ross heading into the 2023-24 campaign.
While it’s easy to get jazzed about what we might see from Chase Ross this winter, this is the section of the show where we have to put on our Serious Faces and be cold minded about what’s reasonable to see from him as a sophomore. Last year, Ross averaged 4.6 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and a little under an assist in 16.4 minutes per game. I think it’s not unreasonable to think all of those numbers should go up this season. Not a huge jump, just an improvement, and playing a little bit more — he averaged only 16.0 minutes in regular season Big East games — will almost by default boost the stats.
For example: BartTorvik.com’s algorithm projects Ross getting on the court for 53% of MU’s minutes this season. That would be just over 21 minutes a night, and the numbers to go with that are, as expected, higher: 6.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists. I think that’s about right. Remember: Ross does not project as a star on this team, no matter what we think his ceiling is. Tyler Kolek, Kam Jones, and Oso Ighodaro are all still on this roster, and they’re going to carry an awful lot of the load for the Golden Eagles. Ross’ job is to fill in around the margins and Do His Job when he’s on the court.
Why You Should Get Excited
Because Shaka Smart said over the summer that Chase Ross was walking around the McGuire Center like was a dude.
Are you familiar with the Guy/Dude spectrum? I don’t know if that’s what Smart was particularly referring to, but there’s lots of Guys playing college basketball. Freshman year Ross probably qualifies as a Guy. Anyone who was a role player is a Guy. Dudes are players that you have to worry about on the scouting report. Dudes are players that impact a game no matter what every single night.
If that’s what Smart meant, then he’s thinking there’s big things in store for Chase Ross, or at the very least, Ross believes that he’s ready to do more for the Golden Eagles as they look to build off of what they accomplished last season.
To go one step further: What if Ross’ development as a player means he’s in line for a starting lineup spot? Is it that much of a reach to say that he could swipe that spot and a bunch of minutes from Stevie Mitchell? Their per 40 minutes stats from last season — meaning we’re drawing them even instead of Mitchell getting a boost from his starter’s minutes — aren’t all that different:
- 12.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2.9 steals
- 11.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2.7 steals
Mitchell is the first line, Ross is the second.
This isn’t a secret: Chase Ross has to be a better shooter if he wants to play more. He knocked down 33.3% of his attempts in Big East play last season, which is acceptable. However, he was at just 32.3% for the season, and he had to go 4-for-11 in the postseason to drag that number up above 32% after missing his final five attempts of the regular season. Against what KenPom.com calls top 100 opponents, y’know, a majority of Marquette’s schedule? 28.9%. Against top 50 opponents, aka teams with a reasonable shot at the NCAA tournament at worst? 14.3%.
If Shaka Smart and the coaching staff can get roughly the same defense they got from Ross last season along with 35% or better long range shooting by deploying some combination of freshmen Tre Norman and Zaide Lowery in the backcourt, then that’s the move if Ross can’t knock down shots. The ceiling is incredibly high for the Texan, but at some point, the production is what the production is, and the coaching staff has to make the call on what’s best for the team.