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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I'm going to shoot straight with you people, because... well, because this is a sports blog on the internet and if I'm not making jokes about Bo Ryan sucking the life out of basketball to maintain his life essence, I've got no reason to not shoot straight with you.
I'm a massive Derrick Wilson apologist.
I mean, just go read his Player Review from last season. It's just a giant pile of "hey, if you ignore his shooting, this was a pretty good season." And I still stand by that. The two problems with Wilson's 2013-14 season was that 1) he wasn't comfortable shooting out of any kind of a half court set and 2) for 30 minutes a game, he was paired with a shooting guard - Jake Thomas - who wasn't going to do anything that try to shoot three pointers.
Now, we know that Wilson did a whole giant pile of shooting in the off-season. This leads to two questions. First, how many of those 20,000+ shots did Derrick actually make? Second, how much more comfortable shooting during games is he? He averaged a shot every six minutes last year while playing 30 minutes a game. In the exhibition game against Wisconsin Lutheran, Derrick played 22 minutes and attempted a shot every 5.5 minutes. Maybe that's a bad example because of the horrible mismatch between the two squads, but I'll take "slightly more interested in shooting," I guess.
What I Think We'll See
I honestly have no expectation that we'll see anything different from Wilson this year that we saw last year. Solid ball handling, good passing, nice defense. Any difference in his game that we see will likely be due to the random cast of the die as to who is on the floor with him. I maintain that a nice rotation of Matt Carlino, Duane Wilson, John Dawson, Jajuan Johnson, and/or Sandy Cohen next to Derrick will radically alter how Marquette looks on the floor compared to last season. Given that, it's completely possible that Derrick could have a season that is statistically similar - both traditional and advanced metrics - but he'll appear to be playing much, much better.
What I Want To See
An aggressively minded Derrick Wilson, taking the ball to the rack on a regular basis, drawing fouls and draining free throws. Even if he's not comfortable shooting three pointers or mid-range jumpers, Wilson has to be better at shooting free throws this season. He's a career 44.7% free throw shooter, and that CAN NOT continue. It's possible that Wilson's desire or interest in shooting the ball is tied to his free throw percentage, meaning perhaps he doesn't want to end up in a situation where he's costing the team points because he drew a foul and misses both free throws. He did hit three of four freebies against Wisconsin Lutheran, so hopefully that is a good omen.
What I Don't Want To See
The same old Derrick Wilson looking like the same old Derrick Wilson. He's a perfectly competent point guard, as long as he has pieces around him that mask his weakness. Marquette is going to play hard and fast this season, and that should help Wilson. But if the other players around him struggle - if Carlino isn't hitting threes, if Jajuan Johnson doesn't break out of his shell, if Duane Wilson takes a while to acclimate to Division 1 - it's going to leave Derrick out on an island, doing what he does best, but still looking like the same player who can't help spark his team's offense.