Newly hired Wojciechowski has unique blend of guard and post experience

Steve Wojciechowski may be known for his stingy defense as a guard for the Duke Blue Devils from 1994-98, but as a coach, he specialized in working with the big men.

Wojciechowski’s playing experience as a guard and time spent coaching forwards gives him a unique opportunity to build a well-rounded program.

“The great thing is I’ve had varied experiences as a coach,” Wojciechowski said. “I played the perimeter position at a high level, but I also have coached NBA players who have played in the post. I think really good coaches need to be able to coach all positions, from the bigs to the smalls, and figure out how to use those guys and put them in a position to be successful.”

In his introductory press conference Tuesday afternoon, Wojciechowski explained his style of play as hard, aggressive and fast-paced, with everything starting on the defensive end of the floor.

“I believe defense is what wins championships and really good defense should lead to offense and exciting and fast play,” Wojciechowski said. “In a perfect world, I want to play aggressive defense, I want to create offense from our defense and I want to play a fun and fast attacking style of offense. I think that’s how kids want to play.”

One way Wojciechowski wants to attack offensively is by playing the game inside-out, which means getting the ball into the paint and kicking it back out to the perimeter.

“I think playing inside-out can happen in a lot of different ways,” Wojciechowski said. “Certainly one (way) with the post. Hitting the post, getting the ball inside, putting the pressure on the rim. You can also put the pressure on the rim by driving the basketball. I think attacking the basket through the post and off the drive are two things that I really love as a coach.”

This style seems comparable to how Marquette’s roster played under former head coach Buzz Williams and some players said they are on board with it.

“I think it fits perfectly,” junior point guard Derrick Wilson said. “I feel like I’m a pretty good defender and when I’m able to get stops we’re able to get out on the break and that’s when I feel like our game is at its best.”

One player who is getting to know the third head coach of his college career is Indiana transfer and redshirt freshman center Luke Fischer. Although he said the process has been hectic, he is enthusiastic about getting started with Wojciechowski.

“With all the great players that he’s had at Duke and from what I’ve heard his style is, I’m really looking forward to (learning) from him,” Fischer said.

Wojciechowski’s playing and coaching experiences give him a unique advantage as a head coach. He was a prolific guard at Duke, winning the national defensive player of the year award in 1998, but he also worked with some of the best forwards in college and professional basketball. What makes Wojciechowski distinct from other basketball gurus is that he can offer sound advice for not just the guards, but also the forwards.

“I can learn a lot from an all-defensive guard,” freshman point guard John Dawson said. “I can also learn what the forwards like and how and where they like to get the ball.”

“It’s just a learning experience,” freshman forward Deonte Burton said. “He’s going to teach me a lot and he knows the game very well.”

“He has great guard experience and he knows a lot about the game from great guards at Duke,” Wilson said. “I’m really excited to learn from him.”

Wojciechowski’s “varied experiences as a coach” will be instrumental in his tenure at Marquette. His ability to think like a guard and a post could give him varied paths to success in his first head coaching job.