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2014-15 Marquette Basketball Player Preview: #23 Jajuan Johnson

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Where everybody would prefer to forget that Jajuan's 2013-14 season happened.

Eric Francis

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 - anon.eagle@gmail.com - or comment on the posts to let us know what you think.

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When we last saw Jajuan Johnson, we didn't think we'd be seeing Jajuan Johnson again, at least in a Marquette uniform. What I mean is: at the conclusion of the disastrous 2013-'14 campaign, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Johnson wasn't going to be around for Buzz Williams to kick around anymore. Despite his impressive pedigree (Johnson was ranked in the top 35 by ESPN, Scout, and Rivals, and was 42nd nationally by CBS Sports) and MU's gaping hole at shooting guard last season, Jajuan saw a grand total of five -- FIVE! -- minutes of action in Marquette's final nine games of 2014, and was a DNP-Coach's Decision in nine of the last 15 contests, decisions made all the more confounding because in the one conference game where Johnson got a start, Marquette submitted one of its better outings of the year in a 61-50 victory over Providence.

Granted, Buzz Williams never had much use for freshmen, but even by our former coach's absurd standards, the number he did on JjJ (repeat after me: the second 'j' in his first name isn't capitalized) was something to behold. And so it was really no surprise to learn that, until Buzz took his snake oil to Blacksburg, it was likely that Jajuan was on the next thing smokin' out of Milwaukee.

That changed when Steve Wojciechowski took charge of the program six months back, and time will tell if it was the right decision for everybody involved. But I'll say this: if the #Free[Whoever] hashtag wasn't already claimed by Steve Taylor, we'd have a pretty worthy contender in Jajuan Johnson.

What I Think We'll See

Jajuan didn't get the starting nod in the exhibition against Wisconsin Lutheran, which probably makes sense, at least for the time being, with Matt Carlino on the roster, but Johnson was the first guy off the bench and ended up playing the most minutes (25) of the nine guys who saw action on Saturday.

I think "first guy off the bench" is probably where Johnson's going to slot for the first month (or so) of the season, and depending how cold Carlino is running, I think somewhere between 20-25 minutes per game is about what we can expect.

What I Want To See

Lots and lots and lots of Jajuan Johnson, progressively less Matt Carlino as the season progresses. I understand that Carlino has the experience and veteran savvy and et cetera, but he's a one-year player for a team that's, in all likelihood, going nowhere. Jajuan, on the other hand, could be the starting shooting guard for the next two seasons, so I'd be in favor of getting him all the run we can before Hank Ellenson gets to town.

In the same vein: recognizing that Derrick Wilson attempted like 50,000 3-pointers this summer (related: has anybody thought to ask how many he, y'know, made?), I'm going to be very sad if Carlino and Wilson attempt the bulk of Marquette's 3-pointers this season. Jajuan went 3-3 on triples against Cal State Fullerton last year, and I suck at math but that's 100% and they don't offer extra credit in basketball games so that's as well as you can possibly shoot and no, thank you, I don't give much of a shit about small sample sizes. As Robert Muldoon once screamed to a faceless minion in the opening scene of Jurassic Park: SHOOT HERRRRRR [Jajuan]. SHOOOOOT HERRRRRRR.

What I Don't Want To See

Jajuan getting yo-yo'd in and out of the lineup, ceding playing time to a cat who's not going to be on the roster next year, and ending up leaving Marquette for some place closer to Memphis. To summarize in two words: last year. Let's not do last year again.