Over the course of the holiday week, we at College Basketball Talk will be detailing what we believe will be the New Year’s Resolutions of some of the nation’s most talented, most disappointing, and thoroughly enigmatic teams. What can we say, we’re in a giving mood.
Who else made Resolutions? Click here to find out.
WHAT DOES MARQUETTE PROMISE TO DO MORE OF?: Get more consistent production from their backcourt.
- Why it will happen: Junior point guard Derrick Wilson is a fine defender and distributor and senior Jake Thomas is the team’s best shooter, but neither of them have the capability to be well-rounded offensive threats like junior Todd Mayo and freshman point guard Duane Wilson (no relation to Derrick) — who is practicing with the team after returning from a leg injury. The debut of Duane Wilson and more consistent playing time for Mayo should help the Golden Eagles’ offense immensely.
- Why it won’t happen: Asking Duane Wilson to run an offense after returning from injury, and nearing Big East play, is an awful lot to ask of a freshman point guard and Mayo — who, during the course of his Marquette career, has been sent home to West Virginia, ruled academically ineligible for first semester last season, and suspended for the Wisconsin game this season — has too many strikes on his resume to be counted on to consistently stay on the floor and produce.
WHAT DOES MARQUETTE SWEAR THEY WILL DO LESS OF?: Go for prolonged scoring droughts.
- Why it will happen: Besides the return of Duane Wilson, sophomore forward Steve Taylor is finally getting healthy following complications from off-season knee surgery and the Golden Eagles should have better luck finding lineups that gel together on the offensive end. Jamil Wilson, Davante Gardner and Todd Mayo are all capable scorers, but for whatever reason, head coach Buzz Williams has found difficulty getting multiple scorers rolling at the same time during some games this season. As the season wears on, Williams will figure out his most potent offensive lineup when he needs points and he’ll have more pieces to work with — like a healthy Wilson and Taylor — going forward.
- Why it won’t happen: The Golden Eagles have been held under 60 points three times this season — including 35 points in an ugly home loss to Ohio State — and the team lacks the perimeter shooters to space the floor for their interior scorers and perimeter drivers to flourish. Marquette shot 29 percent from beyond the three-point line last season and this season that number has stayed nearly the same (30 percent) as senior Jake Thomas is their only player above 34 percent from distance. Despite the poor perimeter shooting, the Golden Eagles still made the Elite Eight last season, but they lost three of their top five scorers from last season in Vander Blue, Junior Cadougen and Trent Lockett and didn’t replace them with much scoring punch.
Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.
The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.
Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.
With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.
Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.
A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.
The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.
It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.
Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.
Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.
“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”
Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.
Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.
Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.
There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.
McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.
Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.
“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”
Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.
“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”
Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.