BORN: Success won’t be measured by wins and losses

This weekend is the usual, exciting start to basketball season on campus, but this year is a little bit different.

Friday night, the men’s team opens this season with Tennessee-Martin and Saturday afternoon, the women’s team battles Wisconsin-Green Bay. With an entirely new coaching staff on both teams, there is a significant amount of hype, though unclear expectations. But students and fans alike need to keep in mind success for this season is going to be measured by more than wins and losses.

For coach Steve Wojciechowski, this season should be about developing the younger talent. Developing sophomores Deonte Burton, Jajuan Johnson and John Dawson and providing them with significant playing time will go a long way. A productive year of collegiate basketball under Sandy Cohen III’s and Duane Wilson’s belts will be beneficial. Luke Fischer must sit out until Dec. 8 and Wally Ellenson for the entire year, but both of them will be able to get extra time in practice and in the weight room and improve their skills before getting into the game. 

For Wojciechowski’s squad, this first year is about laying the ground work for years to come. The future of Marquette basketball begins with the younger players, and developing their talent to be successful as juniors and seniors. It’s the upperclassmens’ job to teach the younger guys about the program and how to lead.

For the women’s team, it is much of the same  – this season is about learning. The women’s team benefits from having four seniors on the team, so it is not quite as young as the men’s team. However, the seniors will have to put in a lot of work, as there will be only two upperclassmen on the roster next season.

Women’s coach Carolyn Kieger preaches an intense, fast-paced offense and defense, much like what Wojciechowski is implementing on the men’s side. It is much different from the style former coach Terri Mitchell employed, so it will be crucial for the Golden Eagles to adapt to that system. Likewise, providing valuable minutes for the underclassmen will be highly important because of the lack of experienced depth facing the team in future seasons.

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are going to be entertaining to watch this season. There is a lot of raw talent that is going to excite and frustrate the fan base at the same time. The men’s team plays high-profile teams like Ohio State and Wisconsin in the early-season before testing the conference, and the women’s side could surprise a lot of people this season with its play. And if either team makes the postseason, Wojciechowski or Kieger should jump at the opportunity to get the younger players a taste of postseason basketball.

The teams may not have the best win-loss records this season, but a few years down the line, they both can be perennial contenders if they work to grow right now.