If you've been around Anonymous Eagle long enough, you've noticed our yearly player preview series for men's basketball. In the past, we've gone with a concept of "Minimum Expectations/In Our Wildest Dreams/In Our Worst Nightmare" model for what the baseline for each player is for the coming season, plus where we think they could achieve or lag behind.
With new head coach Steve Wojciechowski running the show, things get a little complicated. It's hard to have minimum expectations for each player when we really don't know how Wojo will see fit to use them in the system that he's running... which we also don't know a lot about at this point.
So we're changing the system up. We're deploying a new set of criteria to preview each player:
- What I Think We'll See
- What I Want To See
- What I Don't Want To See
It's a little more open ended, so there's a bit more freedom to explore what we're thinking about each guy. This might stick around going forward, so be sure to either email us - email@example.com - or comment on the posts to let us know what you think.
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On one hand,had a pretty successful freshman season. He was a delight to watch on the offensive end, as well as surprisingly adept on the defensive end. Maybe not necessarily at defending his man, but when it came to creating blocks and steals, there were few in the country better at both tasks.
But Buzz Williams was never thrilled with the Milwaukee native's defense, and he only averaged about 12 minutes per game. Following Marquette's loss to Xavier in the Big East tournament, Williams was point blank asked if defense was the reason that Burton only saw 10 minutes in the second half after playing 14 in the first half, and the answer was a curt "yes." Following that slightly ridiculous answer, we took a look at how Burton impacted that specific game in his time on the court. Marquette had a slight advantage in scoring while he played, while Xavier carried the day while Burton was on the bench.
There's a lot more moving parts than just "what was Deonte Burton up to" in a basketball game, so it's an imperfect argument to say that Williams was completely wrong on that topic. But it's also incredibly difficult to look at a guy who has the physical tools to do so many things on the court and say "hey, we have a better chance of winning if he doesn't play much."
What I Think We'll See
More of the same from Burton's freshman year, except with minutes to go along with it. Head coach Steve Wojciechowski went with Burton coming off the bench in Saturday's exhibition against Wisconsin Lutheran, but Burton still found 22 minutes of game action, and time to do all of this:
With only nine players for the first month and ten from there out and very little size overall, Burton could find himself with a number of different assignments on the floor this season. That could work to Marquette's advantage, though, as I'm pretty sure that Burton is the most physically gifted guy on the team. Whether it's coming up with steals, blocks, running the floor, or even shooting a little bit (1-2 behind the arc on Saturday), I believe that Deonte Burton putting in a solid to great performance night after night will bode well for Marquette's final results.
What I Want To See
I don't believe that starting lineup is locked in stone, and not just because Luke Fischer's not in it. With a short roster, both in number of players and actual height, we could see a lot of different lineups, or even a wide variety in minutes from night to night.
But I want to see Burton playing at least 25 minutes a night. He's going to need to control his fouls, though. He averaged 5.2 fouls per 40 minutes last season, according to KenPom.com, and he picked up four fouls against Wisconsin Lutheran, which is borderline insane given the margin early on.
I want to start reading clippings from Big East coaches talking about how much they fear game planning against Burton. I want to see multiple weekly awards from the league office. I want to see Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery having to discuss Burton as a legitimate Player of the Year candidate when mid-February rolls around.
What I Don't Want To See
Foul trouble. Shooting shots he has no business taking. Letting his powerful frame get him into difficult situations in the court that result in bad turnovers. Really, anything that's going to put the idea in Wojo's head to take Burton off the floor. I think Burton has the potential to be MU's most important player this season, and I don't want to see anything that puts a ceiling on that potential.