Wilson unquestioned starting point guard for season

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Wilson unquestioned starting point guard for season

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When Junior Cadougan graduated last spring, the Golden Eagles lost more than the 8.5 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds the point guard averaged last season. The team lost an experienced leader and a program staple.

Junior Derrick Wilson has the tall task of filling Cadougan’s shoes this year, and will enter the season as the unquestioned starting point guard. At men’s basketball media day Oct. 11, coach Buzz Williams made it clear that his confidence in Wilson to run the offense is at an all-time high.

“I told Derrick this morning in front of our team, my confidence is growing in him; I like him,” Williams said. “And I know that doesn’t matter to you, but it matters a lot to me. I want to like the guy who is the lead guard, who is out there solo by himself a lot and I want to trust him.”

Williams admitted his level of trust in Wilson is not yet as high as it was in Cadougan, but he also added Wilson’s playing style and skill set is vastly different than his predecessor’s.

Offensively, Wilson is a pass-first court general who takes care of the ball and rarely makes bad decisions. Last season, he had an assist to turnover ratio of exactly 3-to-1. To put that into perspective, Trey Burke, the University of Michigan point guard who received the Associated Press College Basketball Player of the Year award, the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith College Player of the Year award, had an assist to turnover ratio of 3.02-to-1.

Wilson and Williams both said the point guard will need to contribute more to Marquette’s offense this season. Wilson said he focused on improving his jump shot this offseason in anticipation of his expanded role, while his coach quipped that Marquette will only be as good as Wilson is in the lane.

“I have to score a little bit more because as me and Buzz’s relationship grows, he is starting to trust me more,” Wilson said. “So when I’m out there I have to score a little bit more.”

When Derrick Wilson is not on the court, the Golden Eagles will rely on freshmen John Dawson and Duane Wilson to run the offense. Duane Wilson is one of Marquette’s three consensus top-100 recruits and is expected by many to be the first point guard off the bench. Unfortunately, the Milwaukee native recently suffered a stress fracture in his left leg and will miss “multiple weeks,” according to an Oct. 21 news release from Marquette Athletics.

Duane Wilson’s injury helps Dawson’s case, as it now appears he will split minutes exclusively with Derrick Wilson to start the season. Dawson is easily the most under-the-radar recruit on the roster, but the 6-foot-2, 195-pound combo guard said he has the size and versatility to make an impact on the court.

“I can play the one and the two, so I think I have a pretty good advantage for that,” Dawson said. “Being able to shoot the ball and also being able to handle it at the point should be good.”

In typical Buzz-Williams-we’re-no-good form, when the coach was asked about what kind of contribution he expects from his pair of freshmen point guards off the bench, he simply replied, “All of those new guys I really like, but all of those new guys have a long way to go.”

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