Marquette capped the non-conference portion of its schedule on Saturday afternoon with a 71-48 win over Samford, with Jajuan Johnson coming off the bench to lead four players in double figures with 14 points. The win nearly came at a major cost for the Golden Eagles however, as senior forward Jamil Wilson was forced to leave the game in the first half due to a left knee injury.
After undergoing an MRI on Saturday evening, it was revealed that Wilson’s injury is a sprain and he’s considered to be day-to-day according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
According to the Journal-Sentinel, head coach Buzz Williams essentially held Wilson out for precautionary reasons, with the Golden Eagles opening Big East play at Creighton on Tuesday night. And given Marquette’s resume to this point in the season, with their best win in non-conference play coming in the semifinals of the Wooden Legacy over George Washington, that matchup in Omaha sets up to be a big one.
“I would say he’s fine,” Williams said. “He probably tweaked something. I think he could’ve played and he wanted to play. In the last non-conference game, regardless of who the opponent is, I don’t think that I would’ve played him. I think it was the conservative approach to make sure nothing structurally is wrong.”
Wilson, currently averaging 11.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, ranks second on the team in scoring behind senior center Davante Gardner. They’re the only two Golden Eagles averaging double figures, and against Samford all four of Marquette’s double figure scorers came off the bench. If Johnson and Deonte Burton (13 points) can build off of their performances against the Bulldogs, that would bode well for Marquette moving forward.
But even with the progress shown by the freshmen, Marquette will need Jamil Wilson on the floor Tuesday night as Creighton features All-American forward Doug McDermott. McDermott can score from anywhere on the floor, and having the athletic Wilson available will help Marquette in defending the preseason Big East Player of the Year selection.
Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.
Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.
“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.
“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”
Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.
This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.
Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.
“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.
This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.
He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.
The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.