With the 2014-2015 season now in the books, we take a moment to look back at the performance that each member of YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles this year. While we're at it, we'll also take a look back at our player previews and see how our preseason prognostications stack up with how things actually played out. We'll run through roster in order of total minutes played (lowest to highest). Today we near the end of the '14-'15 reviews with the grad transfer from Indiana, via Phoenix, by way of LA, with a lengthy layover in Provo, UT: Matt Carlino.
#13 - Senior/Graduate Student - 6'2" - 175 lb.
What I Think We'll See
I tend to stay up late and when I do, I watch hoops. Since BYU joined the West Coast Conference, they wound up being the nightcap to ESPN's hoops coverage far more frequently. This meant, I wound up watching an inordinate amount of Cougar hoops last year. And whenever I watched those guys play, I always saw Carlino and thought, "Man that guy would make me mental if he was on my team."
Well folks, prepare to be made mental.
Carlino spent the majority of last year as the BYU sixth man, in the role of the "energy/scoring off the bench" type of player. He was an exciting guy to watch, because he had the ability to come into the game and change the entire feel of things right away. The down side was that he didn't always change the feel to the benefit of his team. His energy and aggressiveness sometimes morphed into recklessness and general bone-headery. That's what makes him so maddening to watch: One night it's 30 points on 11-16 shooting, the next it's 8 points, 2-9 shooting, and 5 turnovers and everyone is pulling their hair out. As one BYU fan told us after the transfer was announced: "He's going to win you 2-3 games single-handedly but he's also going to lose you a couple of games as well."
I expect that we, as Marquette fans, better be ready to ride that Carlino roller coaster all year long, because he's going to be a big part of the equation this season. I'm not sure if he's going to play point guard, or if he is going to be off the ball (smart money's on some of each), but the senior is going to be counted on to carry a big chunk of the offensive load this year. And I think he'll be ok with that. Carlino attempted 426 shots for BYU last year. The entire returning MU roster only attempted 633. So he's not shy about launching. He also becomes Marquette's best current 3-point shooter. He had 69 more attempts from distance than the rest of the roster combined last season, and more than doubled their total 3-point makes as well. So you can see, we're going to be leaning pretty heavily on this guy in '14-'15.
Sometimes it will be good. Sometimes it will be bad. Sometimes it will be ugly. But that's Carlino. Buckle up.
What I Want to See
The good: We get more of the high shooting percentage, low turnover type of games. Carlino scores at a high clip, and vaults himself into Big East Player of the Year discussions.
What I Don't Want to See
The bad: We get too many games with turnovers, ill-advised shots, head long charges into 3 defenders, and shots of Coach Wojo looking exasperated.
When it was first rumored that Marquette was in the running for Carlino's services, my reaction was "No thanks." I knew what Carlino had been throughout his career with BYU and I wasn't interested in taking that trip, even for just one season. But man, am I glad he was here. As bad as this season was, it would have been even worse without Carlino and his offensive punch.
The senior led Marquette in pretty much every meaningful offensive category: Points (15.0 ppg), eFG% (53.3%), Kenpom O-Rating (107.2), FG Made (129), 3-Pointers Made (83), 3-Point% (41.9%), Free Throw% (82.1%) and was second in Assists (88) and Assists per game (3.1). His scoring average and FT% were both career bests. So too was his 3P% - which obliterated his previous best (33.9%) and was far better than anyone could have expected. And despite generally being a defensive liability, Matt even managed to lead the team in Steals. One cannot argue that Carlino's offensive impact was huge and kept an historically bad year from being historically worse.
While all of that is true, this was still largely the player I expected to see. There were good games, even great games. Carlino made eight 3-pointers in a game this year - TWICE. He single-handedly won at least one game for MU, if not more. He drained the game winner against Creighton, and if he hadn't had toenail on the line he would've done the same to Georgetown. But we also got the forehead slapping performances that we had been warned about as well: The 3-14 shooting performance in the loss at DePaul and 2-11 in the BET rout by Villanova, to name a few. Unfortunately, he also had to deal with a concussion that cost him four games late in the year - which obviously didn't help.
Best Game: There are a few really good ones to choose from, but when a guy erupts for a career high and carries the team to a win, that gets the nod. And that's exactly what Carlino did in MU's win over Georgia Tech in the Orlando Classic, back in November. It was the birth of Car3no, as Matt drained 8 of 12 triples, along with 14 of 16 free throws to lead Marquette to the W.
Season Grade, on a scale of 1 to 10: I said I wanted to see more good than bad. I would say we got that. When you sprinkle in the occasional spectacular game, I would say we got that and then some. Carlino definitely did his job for Marquette. He came in and provided the backcourt depth and scoring punch that wasn't going to come from anyone else on the roster. He bridged the gap between the old regime, and the future arriving next season. That said, I haven't heard too many people saying "Man, I wish we had Carlino for one more season." So with all of that considered, I'd rate his lone season as a Golden Eagle as a 7. Thanks for stopping by, Matt.