With the 2015-2016 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). Next up, the local kid on the roster...
#1 - Redshirt Sophomore - 6'2" - 185 lb.
* - Denotes top 500 national ranking
What I Think We'll See
Honestly, I think we'll see Duane wipe those minor issues away this season. Marquette played 12 games last year against teams that finished in the KenPom top 50. In those games, Wilson shot better than he did against the full slate, recording an eFG of over 51%. His assist rate was also up (20.9 vs 17.2 against the whole schedule) in those games. What I'm seeing is a trend where against the best opponents on the schedule, Wilson shot the ball better than ever and distributed the ball better than ever.
Why is this important? Well, Marquette's going to play a bunch of top teams again this year, just by nature of being in the Big East as well as the higher profile non-conference games on the slate. If Wilson's raising his game in big moments, PLUS having a natural progression in his game from freshman to sophomore year, PLUS having to do less because he has better teammates this year than last year.... well, that just spells wonderful things for everyone involved.
What I Want To See
In the Jajuan Johnson preview, I pointed out that CBS's Matt Norlander said that Johnson could end up Second Team all-Big East. What I glossed over in that article for obvious reason was that he also said that Wilson could do that.
That seems like undershooting it.
Wilson finished tied for 16th in scoring in the Big East last season. Eight of the guys in front of him have left the league. This doesn't automatically make him one of the eight or 10 best players in the league, as the preseason all-conference teams clearly pointed out. But Wilson can't be that far behind them. Get a bit more efficient, hit shots at a better rate, cut down on turnovers, raise assists a little bit, these are all things that I think Wilson's going to do anyway.
I think Wilson's natural progression is going to put him into the conversation for that Second Team all-Big East nod at the end of the year. If he has a really big jump? We're looking at making a serious argument for First Team, as well as a serious argument for two Golden Eagles on the Big East First Team since Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder did it.
What I Don't Want To See
There is a chance that Wilson could get lost in the shuffle.
It's no secret that Henry Ellenson is going to be the feature point of this team, and if you missed the memo on that, Ellenson made it very clear with his 16/17/5/2/1 line on Monday night's exhibition. Luke Fischer's going to be a bigger deal this season with a healthy shoulder. There's a bunch of freshmen out there waiting to make a good impression on Steve Wojciechowski. There's two other returning guys who are looking to make a name for themselves.
Maybe Wilson just gets relegated to role player as Marquette's restocked talent closet explodes open with guys who need to be on the court. If that happens, if guys are surpassing Wilson on the depth chart, then maybe that's not a terrible thing for Marquette. But if Wilson just doesn't make a progression from his stellar freshman campaign, if he's just repeating the same thing again, or if, basketball gods forbid, Wilson takes a step backwards and Wojo has to look in a different direction to find a spark without anyone stepping forward and claiming Wilson's spot, well, that could quickly turn into The Darkest Timeline.
When we took a look back at Luke Fischer's season, we ended up comparing his 2015-16 campaign to his 2014-15 season. While part of me is reluctant to repeat a gimmick in the name of offering you something fresh and interesting with each Player Review, I can't shake the fact that we need to address Wilson's year-to-year performance. After all, we did offer up the possibility that Wilson could end up stagnating this season after posting one of the best freshman campaigns in Marquette history.
As you can see, that feared stagnation is exactly what happened. After a stellar first season for a mostly crummy team, Wilson followed it up with pretty much the exact same statistical season. I know it sounds a little silly to be disappointed with a 12/3/3/1 season from a sophomore guard, or even an 11/2/2/1 if that round up is too drastic for you, but that's the position we find ourselves in, isn't it?
If we're going to pick somewhere to start with, it's probably going to have to be Wilson's shooting. The natural starting place for that, of course, is when we asked him to stop shooting three pointers back on December 2nd. At that point, through six games, Wilson was shooting 10-for-44 from long range, aka a nightmarish 22.7%. Remember, 33.3% is the cutoff for useful three point shooting, as that's the point where your effective field goal percentage hits 50%.
After opening the year that badly, he did turn it around to some degree for the remaining 27 games. As pointed out in the top chart there, Wilson ended up finishing with a mark over 33.3% by going 44-112 the rest of the way, or 39.2%. That's really good! The downside to that is that he largely made his hay in MU's remaining seven non-conference games, because he only shot 33.8% (25-74) in the 18 regular season Big East games. That's not bad, it just can't be called anything close to good, either.
At least Wilson got much better at finishing at the rim to compensate for his slight dip in three point shooting and his significant drop in free throw shooting. Because his two point shooting went up to 51% from 42.6%, Wilson ended up improving his effective field goal shooting year-over-year, and the same going for his true shooting percentage. The problem is that Wilson traded 18 two points attempts for three point attempts, going down that many in the former and up in the latter.
The question to ask through all of this is whether or not all of this was just Wilson's role on the team this year. Head coach Steve Wojciechowski said over and over and over during the season that his vision for Marquette was an interior dominant team, and with Luke Fischer and Henry Ellenson on the roster, it's hard to argue against that principle. When you take that into account, as well as the performance of Haanif Cheatham, you have to wonder if part of the reason why Wilson's stats are largely speaking identical from last year to this year is that was just what Wojo wanted out of him. At 6'2", he's never going to be a great rebounder, and even in terms of steal rate, the one thing that Wilson shines at, there's a certain ceiling on how many steals you can get. The rest of it pretty much comes down to the part he was playing, if you want to look at it from that point of view.
There's nothing wrong with that role, to be honest. If you have a role player compiling the stats that Wilson did this year, you have to think you're doing something right. It's just not what anyone expected from him this season, and like Fischer, if you were optimistic about Marquette's chances as a team, a lot of your optimism was based on Wilson performing better than he did as a freshman. Again, just like Fischer, that didn't happen, and Marquette's season ended earlier than anyone would have preferred.
Best Game: Did you realize that Duane Wilson didn't score 20 points in a game even once this past season? I didn't until I just ran through his game logs to pick out his top performance. Conversely, he only missed double digits in points 10 times. That aside, there's really only one choice for Wilson's best game this season: the home loss to DePaul. This keeps popping up as a candidate for Best Game, and I don't care for it. Anyway, Wilson had his best offensive rating of the year (178) against the Blue Demons as he scored a season high 19 points on 7-10 shooting, including a 3-5 day from long range. He also snagged two rebounds, dished four assists, came up with a steal, and to top it off, he didn't commit a turnover or a foul in 34 minutes of action. Marquette also lost, so that kind of sucks.
Season Grade, on a scale of 1-10: The fact of the matter is that you, me, your favorite teddy bear from when you were four, an average looking brick wall, everyone expected Wilson to be better than he was in 2015-16. He didn't come anywhere close to Second Team All-Big East honors, much less the now overly hopeful outlook of him challenging for First Team honors. He also shot the ball incredibly poorly in Marquette's six games against teams between 51-100 on KenPom's adjusted for location scale, going 6-31 (19.4%) from three point range in the games that were essentially the crucial contests in deciding Marquette's postseason fate. I have to give him a 4. He wasn't actively bad, but he didn't perform as well as could be expected. Maybe that was just his role. Maybe his role will change next year. Maybe he'll just shoot the ball slightly better and it'll seem like he's having a better season. We'll have to see what happens, but my outlook for Wilson's career arc has definitely been altered.