One of the regular items along the way to the start of any college sports season at Marquette is Team Photos Day. Not in the “everyone get in their uniforms and line up together” team photos way, but in the “we need headshots of everyone and publicity photos to use” way.
For Marquette men’s basketball, that includes shooting video for use at Fiserv Forum. So you get still photos like this one of Chase Ross:
That’s really more behind the scenes type stuff. A lot of the photoshoot stuff goes in this direction, where Oso Ighodaro seems to be slightly surprised by the need to hold a surfboard and a basketball at the same time.
The team also took pictures with the Big East regular season and tournament championship trophies. In the case of Tyler Kolek, he also got to sit down with his Big East Player of the Year trophy.
And that’s a nice picture.
It is not, however, The Full Tyler Kolek Experience. Some of the photos taken in the shoot did not make it to the official Marquette University picture archive. Some of the photos taken were more for personal use by the players, and nowhere is that fact more obvious than the picture of Kolek with his Big East championship ring added to the ensemble that made its way to Kolek’s Instagram.
Did I go out of my way to grab a screen capture of that so you can use it as whatever wallpaper/userpic that you want to? Yes, yes, I did, because I care about you.
There’s so much to like about this.
First, there’s the acknowledgement — and he’s never shied away from it anyway, shirts and hoodies are still available — of Kolek’s “F*** ‘em” comment relative to Marquette’s 9th place projection in last year’s Big East preseason coaches poll. There’s also the fact that Kolek is willing to put this out there in public after the towering achievements, both personal and team, that we saw in 2022-23. He knows what it means to make this public on his Instagram heading into a season where Marquette will at the very least be one of three co-favorites in the Big East alongside Creighton and Connecticut, and very possible the official preseason favorite when that preseason poll is released in two weeks.
Kolek’s not being subtle about it with a post on Instagram, either. John Fanta recently stopped by the McGuire Center for a preseason chat with the team for the Big East, and Kolek made his goals/the team’s goals for 2023-24 very clear:
I asked Tyler Kolek what he would deem as a successful season this year at Marquette.— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) October 4, 2023
“We want a national championship. The fact is, we beat the team that did it twice last year. I applaud them (UConn) for winning and representing our league, but we believe we’re right there.”
And it’s not just Kolek:
Marquette junior guard Stevie Mitchell: “We’re out to win a national championship this year. Is that the goal of a lot of teams? Yes, and we know that. But we believe with who we have, if we do the things we’re supposed to do, that it can be reality for us.” pic.twitter.com/fV38eFoLGt— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) October 4, 2023
Great to walk and talk with Marquette star Kam Jones this afternoon for a feature that will run in the coming weeks. Jones said April 8 is the date circled on the calendar. “It’s the national championship game and Shaka Smart’s birthday. We want to give him that as a gift.” pic.twitter.com/aVknspmJ8R— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) October 4, 2023
Season starts November 6th against Northern Illinois. Time to start counting the days....