Trebby: Marquette runs basketball program the right way

If I were a college basketball coach in some alternate universe or other life, I would run my program like Marquette has over the past decade.

The Golden Eagles have not had to worry about in terms of players leaving early for the NBA Draft, making their off-seasons much less stressful. It’s the best situation for everyone involved. The coaches don’t have to recruit for two classes, returning players know what their role is going to be, and the fans can relax – which obviously is the most important of the three.

Since 2000, Marquette has had one player leave early to pursue a career in the NBA. That player was Dwyane Wade, and his decision was a no-brainer. He pretty much had to go after the 2002-03 season. There was no doubt Wade would be a lottery pick, which meant he had to make the jump while he had the guaranteed chance.

Imagine that happening to a program every year – one player every April having to make that decision and most of the time choosing to enter the NBA.

At some schools it happens on a much larger scale. As long as John Calipari is coach at Kentucky, at least one player will leave after his freshman season, and a sophomore or junior is likely to do the same. This season, Archie Goodwin and Nerlens Noel are leaving early, and anywhere from four to eight Kentucky players could declare early for the 2014 NBA Draft.

I don’t even know how much Calipari actually has to recruit. If a player knows he is only going to play one year of college basketball, I’m sure Kentucky is one of the first schools in his head. Then Calipari comes along, and there isn’t much left for him to do.

As a member of the media, I would be frustrated if I had to cover that team. If I were a big fan of the Wildcats, I would be annoyed despite their success. How would I be able to build any type of relationship with a player? Am I supposed to get to know new guys every single year? The success every year would definitely make up for all those things, but I would still be annoyed.

It’s difficult to recruit top-ranked talent in college basketball nowadays without that talent wanting to bolt to the NBA after one season. Marquette is doing that. Current coach Buzz Williams is doing it, and Tom Crean did it when he brought in Dominic James, Wesley Matthews, and Jerel McNeal.

An argument could be made that Marquette just recruits players who aren’t good enough to leave early. But in college basketball’s current state, the consistent success Marquette has had without players leaving early every year is impressive.

This year is different for Marquette, as Vander Blue is apparently still deciding whether to leave early. Still, one player every ten years or so is fine.

If I ever become a college basketball coach, that’s how I’d run my program. Unfortunately, if that ever did happen, I probably wouldn’t get the results to last three years at any school.

Oh well, back to writing.