While Marquette managed to put together a five-member freshman class ranked among the best in the country by multiple scouting outlets, only four of those players were available for the team’s trip to Italy. Wednesday, following the Golden Eagles’ final game on the 4-0 trip, head coach Steve Wojciechowski provided the team with some good news regarding the status of that fifth freshman.
Guard Haanif Cheatham, who was allowed to travel but was not cleared by the NCAA to play in games during the trip, has now been cleared for competition. Marquette announced the news Wednesday, and they also sent along video of Wojciechowski telling Cheatham and his teammates.
Cheatham joins fellow freshmen Sacar Anim and Tracy Carter and transfer Andrew Rowsey (who will have to sit out this season) as scholarship newcomers in the Marquette backcourt rotation. On the perimeter the Golden Eagles return JaJuan Johnson, Duane Wilson and Sandy Cohen, with Wally Ellenson eligible after sitting out the 2014-15 season following his transfer in from Minnesota.
Ranked 76th in the Class of 2015 by Rivals.com, Cheatham averaged 24 points per game as a high school senior and has the perimeter shooting ability to help Marquette account for the loss of leading three-point shooter Matt Carlino.
Marquette is heading to Italy this week as part of a summer exhibition trip but they’ll have to play without freshman wing Haanif Cheatham, according to a report from Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Cheatham has yet to be cleared by the NCAA and can’t participate in games on the trip after competing in practices.
The 6-foot-5 native of Florida was regarded as a consensus top-100 prospect in the Class of 2016 and this would have been a nice trip for him to get accustomed to playing a higher level of basketball with his new team. At least still Cheatham can still travel with the team when they are there from the 10th through the 19th of August.
Without Cheatham, the team will have to use some smaller guard packages that feature Duane Wilson and freshman Traci Carter. It would have been nice for Marquette to have Cheatham for the trip, but he’s played with the team for a bit in summer practices and he’ll find out his fate of the NCAA
Having already landed two verbal commitments in the Class of 2015, Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski received a third Friday afternoon as four-star shooting guard Haanif Cheatham announced his decision to attend the Big East school. Cheatham, a native of Pembroke Pines, Florida, made the announcement at Pembroke Pines Charter School and picked the Golden Eagles over California and Georgetown.
As a high school junior the 6-foot-5 Cheatham averaged 26.2 points, ten rebounds and eight assists per game, and he joins fellow guard Nick Noskowiak and forward Matt Heldt in Marquette’s 2015 class. The Golden Eagles will also add two transfers to the fold next season, with Wally Ellenson (Minnesota) and Gabe Levin (Loyola Marymount) eligible to compete in games at that time.
Marquette has two senior guards this season in Derrick Wilson and Matt Carlino.
The question for Marquette moving forward is whether or not they can add one of the best players in the Class of 2015 to their current stable of verbal commits. That player is 6-foot-10 forward Henry Ellenson, the younger brother of Wally who is considering Marquette along with Kentucky and Michigan State.
Adding Cheatham is a definite boost to Wojciechowski’s efforts to return Marquette to its status of being a Big East contender after the program missed out on the NCAA tournament last season. And if they were to reel in Ellenson as well, Marquette’s chances of making that move up the pecking order improve even more.