Trading 3’s for Dunks
Without Sam and Joey, Marquette loses 9.5 three-point attempts per game. You can’t just give these 9.5 attempts to other players on the roster. The Hausers were elite shooters. Their combined 3P% last season was 40.9. Without elite shooters to replace them, these shots will have to be taken differently.
Koby McEwen, Brendan Bailey, Theo John, Jamal Cain and Ed Morrow are all players whose roles will increase without the Hauser brothers around anymore. None of these players are the shooters that the Hauser brothers are, but there is one skill all these guys are better at than the Hauser brothers: dunking. Sam and Joey could give you the occasional dunk, but they were rarely going to dunk over or through people. All of the players previously mentioned are very capable of doing just that.
Pick up the Pace
Marquette ranked 102nd in pace last season. This is fine because a fast pace wasn’t a strength of the roster. With speed not being one Sam or Joey’s strengths, their style of play didn’t adhere to a fast-paced team. This helps explain why Sam chose to play at Virginia, who ranked 353rd (last) in pace while Joey chose Michigan State, who ranks 244th.
With Sam and Joey gone, speed becomes a strength of the roster. With speed on their side, Wojo needs to take advantage and increase the team’s pace. Running more and scoring often in transition (and hopefully the occasional press as well) will definitely be a change of pace from teams of years past, and can be a way to take attention off and ease the workload of Markus Howard.
Heading into the offseason, Sam and Joey were two of four players guaranteed to play at least 28 minutes per game next season. That leaves the roster with two players, Howard and Anim, as locks to play significant minutes. Before last season started I thought Joseph Chartouny and Ed Morrow would play significant minutes per game. While that prediction proved to be very, very wrong, I still have faith in my prediction that Koby McEwen is a lock for big minutes for this upcoming season.
With only three roster locks for significant minutes there are a ton of minutes up for grabs. Obviously, if a couple players (Bailey, John, Morrow, Cain, or Elliot) can step up and become players who earn 25+ minutes on a per game basis, that would be great. But without that guarantee, Wojo has a lot to play with.
Wojo can roll out different specialty lineups. An athletic, long lineup with McEwen, Anim, Cain, Bailey and John. A quick, wing-heavy lineup including Howard, McEwen, Anim, Elliot and Bailey. A front-court heavy lineup featuring more than one of Morrow, John or Johnson playing at once. Playing with different specialty lineups can be fun, but are also a luxury when playing against teams of many different playing styles.
Better or Worse?
With the Hauser’s on the roster, the expectations were sky high for next season. Most experts projected Marquette to be a top 10 team. With the brothers gone, many don’t seem to know how to project Marquette.
Whether or not the team is better or (more likely) worse than before, they should be different. What is most important is that the team changes to adapt to the personnel of the roster. If that can be done, this year’s team will be a fun team to watch. Not many fans complain about a team that plays at a fast pace and dunks often. In doing so, Marquette would very likely see themselves competing at the top of the conference yet again. If the team fails to adapt, they will look uncomfortable and be tough to watch. If Wojo fails to make the most of this team and Marquette finds themselves at the bottom of the Big East, you may see me (and many others) joining the #FireWojo bandwagon.