When I woke up on Friday, there hadn’t been any movement on Marquette forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper officially declaring that he would stay in the 2023 NBA Draft. I started to poke around to see where various draftniks had started to place him coming out of the Draft Combine.... and then Prosper did us all a solid heading into the weekend by announcing that he would, as expected, be saying in the draft.
The text of the Instagram post, for posterity’s sake:
Thank you Marquette nation, my coaches, my teammates, and support staff for embracing me from day one. My time at Marquette has been incredible. With that being said, I will remain in the 2023 NBA Draft. I’m excited for what comes next. On to the next chapter...
The official men’s basketball Twitter also made sure to thank OMax in light of his announcement.
Prosper averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game for Marquette in 2022-23, which was good enough for third best and second best on the squad respectively. That’s not necessarily world breaking stuff, nor is his 34% conversion rate on three-point attempts. However, he is a 6’8” guy with a 7-foot-plus wingspan who weighed in at the NBA Draft Combine at 212 pounds, down from the 230 that Marquette listed him at all season long. That’s good size, and on top of that, Prosper’s impact was always more than what pure stats showed for him as his ability to defend 1 through 5 on defense for Marquette was a big part of why the Golden Eagles could switch constantly on defense.
With that in mind, his ability to be a 3 & D bench option guy for an NBA team seemed like an easy possibility, so it made sense for him to enter the draft process. And then he went to the Combine and blew the doors off. Prosper walked away from the skills testing with the 4th best lane agility time, 3rd best in the shuttle run, 2nd best standing vertical leap, and 3rd best max vertical leap. At that point, finishing “only” 18th in the three-quarter sprint wasn’t exactly hurting anyone’s opinion of his athleticism, and then he put up 21 points and seven rebounds in a five on five scrimmage.
I think we all understand why he’s staying in the draft. If you haven’t caught on, then check out this handy dandy chart of draft projections from Paint Touches:
If you have ever wondered why fringe NBA prospects who aren't really on anyone's radar "test the waters," just look at the incredible shift in opinion on OMax from almost everyone in like a month. pic.twitter.com/nV1hIaYVcu— Paint Touches (@PaintTouches) May 26, 2023
That’s a jump from “yeah, I don’t know, maybe?” to “are we sure he’s not a first round pick?” and that’s why you stay in the draft.
And so, as we bid farewell to OMax, as well as look forward to seeing where he actually ends up, we also look at the impact that this has on Marquette for the 2023-24 season. After all, back in early April, the Golden Eagles were looking like a contender for preseason #1 in the country.
First, let’s take a peek at what the roster actually looks like with a freshly updated scholarship chart.
Prosper’s departure gives Marquette two open scholarships for next season. It’s too late to add a freshman to the roster, but as the NBA Draft early entry withdrawal date approaches, there may be transfer possibilities suddenly opening up as guys who entered the draft and the transfer portal at the same time withdraw and start actually looking into where they’re going next. I’m not crossing my fingers here and hoping that MU lands anyone, because the fact of the matter is that Shaka Smart is effectively +2 in available rotation players as the Golden Eagles lose Prosper but gain three freshmen.
Still, it’s possible that a new face joins the team between now and the start of the school year, so keep that in mind when I say this next part. BartTorvik.com has already updated the algorithm’s projections for Marquette without Prosper on the roster. That update moves Marquette from #4 in the country and the top team in the Big East tooooooooooo #11 in the country and #3 in the Big East behind #4 Connecticut and #7 Creighton. We can quibble about this if you want, but from my perspective, this means Marquette goes from a national title pick and Big East favorite to a national title contender and Big East co-favorite. That really doesn’t seem like much of a drop off at all, does it? If Marquette’s sophomores make a sophomore jump and the freshmen can chip in to a notable level, particularly big man Al Amadou.... well, maybe there’s not even really a drop off, even after losing a guy who might just turn into a first round NBA Draft pick.