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GOLDEN EAGLE: Scott Merritt returns to Marquette

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Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu

Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu

Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu

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New women’s basketball coach, Carolyn Kieger added a familiar face to her staff for Marquette fans in former men’s player, Scott Merritt. Merritt, who started in the paint for the 2003 Final Four team, returns to the court as one of Kieger’s three new assistants, along with Ginny Boggess and Vernette Skeete.

Merritt explained his position will vary throughout the season with the hope from Kieger that he gets experience in every aspect of coaching.

“Tactically, with this staff we don’t really have roles,” Merritt said. “Obviously I’ll cater more to the bigs because that’s what I know, but Coach (Kieger) wants all of her assistants to know everything.”

During his Marquette playing career, Merritt finished 37th all-time on Marquette’s scoring list with 1,049 points, averaging 8.3 points a game. He also reached 14th on Marquette’s rebounding list with 697 career rebounds.

After graduating from Marquette in 2004, Merritt played professionally in the NBA Development League, Turkey, Japan and South Korea until retiring in 2013. Merritt then served as an assistant AAU Coordinator at Development Through Athletics Milwaukee and an assistant coach at Menomonee Falls High School before joining Marquette in early June. He believed the most important lesson he learned from his collegiate and professional career was how to win and the value of hard work

“Well I know what it looks like to win and I know what hard work looks like,” Merritt said. “That’s what I’m trying to take into this. Especially the young girls as we get them moving forward, I know what it takes because I’ve seen it and lived it.”

Typically, the assistant coaches on a staff will study film on opponents, work with their positional groups on the court, and lead recruiting trips. During games, the assistants will usually offer suggestions based off the scouting reports from opponents, track data and set up situational play-calls.

However, out of all these categories, Merritt’s most important role in his first season may be his recruiting. When a new coaching staff is put together, the recruiting board usually has to start from scratch. In Marquette’s case, the team has been surprisingly able to hold onto and sign targets from former coach Terri Mitchell’s staff. But, it will be Merritt’s role in the coming years to continue to build on the fast-break brand of basketball Kieger wants to instill into the program.

“First off, we want kids that are motivated, that want to compete and get after it and want to be coached,” Merritt said. “We’re just not going to recruit kids because they’re ranked really high. We really want good kids and athletic kids, kids that can get up and down because were going to play at a fast pace.”

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