Marquette 2014-15 Record: 13-19, 4-14 in the Big East
Key Players Lost: Matt Carlino, Juan Anderson, Derrick Wilson, Steve Taylor Jr. and John Dawson.
Key Players Coming Back: Luke Fischer, Duane Wilson, Sandy Cohen III, Wally Ellenson and JaJuan Johnson.
New Recruits/Transfers: Henry Ellenson, Traci Carter, Haanif Cheatham, Sacar Anim and Matt Heldt.
Heading into the 2014-15 season Steve Wojciechowski more than likely knew he was in for a tough year. After ex-Marquette coach Buzz Williams left the program, a lot of talent went out the door with him. So, an expected transition year was to be expected from Wojciechowski in his first year as head coach of a basketball program.
Sure enough, the Golden Eagles struggled all season en route to their first losing season in 16 years, while finishing in a tie for last place in the Big East.
For the most part, Marquette’s non-conference went according to script. They finished that portion of their season with an 8-4 record. Losses to Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State were to be expected. However, a loss to Omaha was a little startling.
The Golden Eagles did have solid wins over Arizona State, Georgia Tech and Tennessee, though. But once Big East action began, Marquette got caught in quicksand.
They opened up a respectable 2-2 in Big East play (including a win over NCAA Tournament team Providence). Unfortunately, what followed was a disparaging seven-game losing streak to effectively torpedo their chances of having a successful season. In all, the Golden Eagles went 4-14 in the Big East last season.
Marquette opened some eyes by handily beating Seton Hall in the first round of the Big East Tournament. The Golden Eagles lost to top-seed Villanova in the Big East quarterfinals, and thus ending their season.
Individually, guard Matt Carlino had a great end to his career after years of making his mark at BYU. He was named second team all-Big East after averaging 15 points and 3.1 assists per game, while shooting .821 percent from the free-throw line and .419 percent from the three-point line.
Duane Wilson had an encouraging freshman campaign and was named to the Big East all-freshmen team after averaging 11.9 points per game.
2015-16 Look Ahead:
While Wojciechowski and the Golden Eagles took their lumps last season, it was all a precursor for bigger and better things set to come this season and beyond.
You see, Wojciechowski is bringing in an eagerly anticipated recruiting haul that is a consensus top-15 class. The class is ranked as the 10th best by Scout.com. 13th by 247sports.com and 14th by Rivals.com.
Highlighting the group is McDonald’s All-American Henry Ellenson. Ellenson is an elite, polished post player with a vast array of moves under the bucket. He was a tremendous coup for Wojciechowski, and he’ll prove to be a great foundation for the Wojciechowski era at Marquette. Ellenson can be a truly special player.
Joining Ellenson in the prized class are a couple of four-star recruits in point guard Traci Carter and shooting guard Haanif Cheatham. This duo is poised to be Marquette’s backcourt of the future and they offer a lot of promise. Also joining the freshman class are a couple of three-star prospects in 6’10 center Matt Heldt and 6’4” wing Sacar Anim.
When you add this class with a couple of solid holdovers in Luke Fischer (11 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, while shooting .609 from the field) and Wilson, the Golden Eagles could be poised to put last season’s struggles behind them rather quickly.
That said, expect a few bumps along the way, as Marquette is still a really young team. Wojciechowski has pieces to work with and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Marquette could contend for a postseason berth.
Either way you slice it, Marquette should be back to their usual winning ways in no time.