Marquette basketball

Marquette basketball is edging into our 2021 CBB Rank at No. 95.

Last season, the Golden Eagles struggled with a 13-14 (8-11 Big East) record. But in the offseason, Marquette basketball found a new head coach, former Texas and VCU coach, Shaka Smart. Marquette looks to be a much better suit for Smart as compared to the Texas job.

Smart will have a lot of work to do in his first season after losing his starting five and the majority of the rotation players with returning minutes. These players include D.J. Carton to a pro career, Dawson Garcia to North Carolina, Theo John to Duke, Koby McEwen to Weber State, Jose Perez to Manhattan, and Jamal Cain to Oakland. With all these changes, projecting a rotation will be tough, but here we go.

Projected Rotation

PG: Darryl Morsell (6-5, 200, Gr.-Sr.)

2021 stats: 9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.9 steals (Maryland).

Projected stats: 9.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals

SG: Tyler Kolek (6-3, 182, So.)

2021 stats: 10.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals (George Mason)

Projected stats: 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.2 steals

SF: Justin Lewis (6-7, 235, So.)

2021 stats: 7.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.7 Blocks

Projected stats: 8.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.4 Blocks

PF: David Joplin (6-7, 215, Fr.)

247sports 4-star rated recruit

Projected stats: 12.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists

C: Kur Kuath (6-10, 220, Rs-Sr.)

2020 stats: 5.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks (Oklahoma)

Projected stats: 8.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.1 blocks

6: Emarion Ellis (6-5, 175, Fr.)

247sports 4-star rated recruit

Projected stats: 6.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals

7: Stevie Mitchell (6-1, 175, Fr.)

247sports 4-star rated recruit

Projected stats: 4.5 points, 2.0 assists

8: Oso Ighodaro (6-9, 205, Fr.)

2021 stats: 1.2 points, 1.2 rebounds,

Projected stats: 6.5 points, 2.1 rebounds

Team MVP: David Joplin

Joplin is going to come into Marquette basketball and show out. Preventing him from scoring will be an issue, because of his length, vision, ability to drive, and finishing through contact. His ability to play near the rim or on the perimeter big men will be a huge help for the Golden Eagles.

Make-or-break player: Tyler Kolek

Marquette basketball will need to have some ability to score from beyond the arc. The guard play will be high caliber, and the length that the Golden Eagles have will be huge defensively, but on offense, Kolek will need to score. While he does have offense help, his guard play and length should give him an advantage against most guards on defense. With Smart’s help, Kolek should grow defensively and offensively as a former rookie of the year in the Atlantic 10.

Bench rating: 7/10

The Big East is full of talent, and this team will need to mature quickly. The defense will continue to be a priority for Shaka Smart as he moved to Marquette Basketball. He continues to add length and have depth in the frontcourt. The worry remains in the backcourt, but Marquette basketball has length, and few players are familiar with Big East play, but it will change.

Team Outlook

Shaka Smart was able to pull in some key players and get some leaders and minutes in  Kolek, Kuath, Prosper and Darryl Morsell. Morsell will definitely run the point but will need to coach up these other young guards quickly. Kuath will have to be a presence down low but has a lot of help around him. This team is stacked with talented forwards, but the inexperience, especially in a tough-minded Big East conference, is a worry.

Marquette basketball has an average height of 6-foot-4. The starters, however, add almost two inches in height. The best bet is that this team will run two guards and three forwards as Kuath is labeled as a power forward. Shaka Smart’s team will be known for length, defense and tempo. Pushing the tempo and getting breakaways will likely be a huge part of the success of the Golden Eagles.

These young forwards could easily all average double digits. The interesting transition for Smart from Big 12 play to Big East, seems like an easy transition, giving his coaching tendencies. Smart will be looking to get back to 20 win seasons and a return to the NCAA tournament.

Projected Finish: 7th in the Big East

Projected Postseason Finish: Round of 64 exit

Ceiling: Round of 32 exit