Marquette Wire

Men’s basketball postseason report card

Photo+by+Mike+Cianciolo+%2F+michael.cianciolo%40marquette.edu.
Photo by Mike Cianciolo / michael.cianciolo@marquette.edu.

Photo by Mike Cianciolo / michael.cianciolo@marquette.edu.

Photo by Mike Cianciolo / michael.cianciolo@marquette.edu.

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It was an unspectacular season for Marquette under first-year coach Steve Wojciechowski. In fact, the team’s 13-19 record was the program’s first losing season since the 1998-99 season, when the Golden Eagles went 14-15 under then-head coach Mike Deane.

The 2014-15 campaign was one filled with transition, departures and struggles, with some sprinklings of hope and potential in between.

Marquette finished the season with eight scholarship athletes on the roster, which means everybody played a significant role. Only Luke Fischer (missed first half of season due to transfer rules) and Matt Carlino (missed four games with a concussion) played in fewer than 30 games and freshman Sandy Cohen III played the fewest minutes at an average of 15 minutes per game.

This limited roster made it easier to put each player under the microscope. Six members of the Wire Sports staff submitted their player grades for each player and coach Steve Wojciechowski. We aggregated them and sorted them out using Marquette’s grading scale.

Matt Carlino: AB 

Allow Wojciechowski to describe just how instrumental Carlino was this season.

“Matt, if it wasn’t for his injury, I think he was on pace for a (First Team) all-Big East type year,” Wojciechowski said to Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “He was having by far his best year at the college level in a much more difficult conference. It’s been a difficult year, without Matt it had the opportunity to be much, much more difficult.”

The final sentence of this quote is the most striking. Imagine what the season would have been like without Carlino. The graduate senior was Marquette’s leading and sometimes only scorer with 15 points per game. He was named to the all-Big East Second Team and put up performances of 38, 27, 26 and 21 points along the way.

This season could have been much worse without Carlino, and without him Marquette may have been futile offensively.

Duane Wilson: B

Wilson was pretty impressive in his first full college basketball season. The redshirt freshman averaged 11.9 points on 39-percent shooting with 2.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

Wilson was often Marquette’s second option offensively and showed great potential at times. He also showed a tendency to take highly contested shots in the lane and hit the freshman wall occasionally in Big East play.

Most importantly, Wilson got through his first year and was rewarded by being named to the Big East’s all-Rookie Team. Although his role is somewhat undefined heading into his second season, Wilson holds the keys to the program and could develop into an outstanding player quickly.

Luke Fischer: B

Fischer’s debut season at Marquette is partially incomplete because he had to sit out the entire non-conference slate due to transfer rules. His presence on the court did make a vast difference, however.

The big man from Germantown averaged 11 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks and was a vital rim protector for the under-sized roster.

Fischer struggled at the beginning of Big East play and was limited to single digits in scoring for a five-game span in January. But, Fischer finished the season strong and averaged nearly 12 points per game since February.

There are certainly some aspects of Fischer’s game he can work on. The big man often got beat up and neutralized down low by bigger centers. He also could improve as an on-ball defender to avoid foul trouble.

Fischer will be the big man of the future for the Golden Eagles and his encouraging finish to the season gives fans plenty to be excited about.

Juan Anderson: BC 

Nothing Anderson does is flashy. The senior averaged only 8.3 points and 5.7 rebounds, but was an energy player who did his best to lead and motivate his younger teammates.

Anderson was a workhorse who was often asked to play more than 30 minutes a night and was usually matched up against taller players.

Unfortunately, Anderson’s final season didn’t conclude as he probably had planned. The forward was limited due to an ankle injury he suffered in practice before Marquette’s Feb. 21 contest against Villanova.

Derrick Wilson: C 

The senior point guard averaged 5.6 points, 3.9 boards and 4.7 assists in his final campaign as a Golden Eagle. He shot 41 percent from the field and even hit a few 3-pointers along the way. Wilson wasn’t gaudy, but he did improve as an offensive player from last season.

Wilson is labeled as a bad offensive player, but his 2.9 assist-to-turnover ratio was actually the best ratio in the Big East. Point guards usually aren’t the team’s best scorer, but rather are facilitators who can take care of the ball. Wilson did just that, as he ranked third in the Big East in assists per game.

Wilson will not carry much of a legacy at Marquette, but he was a serviceable point guard who also was the team’s best defender.

Sandy Cohen III: CD

Cohen has plenty of room to grow as a player, but his shooting was surprisingly impressive at times. Cohen averaged 3.8 points on 37-percent shooting and 33-percent shooting from beyond the arc. Cohen has a pretty shot and could develop into a deadly 3-point shooter.

Cohen was underwhelming down the stretch and scored only 25 points in Marquette’s final 11 games. It appeared Wojciechowski had more faith in his veterans by the homestretch, as Cohen logged only 28 combined minutes in the final four games of the season.

One thing Cohen must improve on is his defense. The freshman often looked lost in Marquette’s 2-3 zone.

Jajuan Johnson: CD

Inconsistency was Johnson’s biggest problem this season. Johnson looked like a star filled with plenty of potential in some games, but was invisible in others.

He finished with averages of 7.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists on the year. His shooting was particularly ugly, as the sophomore shot 37 percent from the floor and less than 22 percent from 3-point range.

Johnson thrives when driving to the basket, but he will need to develop a better shot from the perimeter to become a more dependable scorer.

The highly touted recruit could be the team’s starting shooting guard if Duane Wilson plays the point, but if Wilson plays the two, Johnson could be a role player off the bench next season.

Steve Taylor: CD

Taylor was a disappointment in what could have been a breakout season for the junior forward. Taylor averaged 5.9 points and five boards. He seemed overwhelmed with the task of being Marquette’s lone center during non-conference play.

Taylor’s best trait is his rebounding ability and he exemplified that when he pulled down 17 boards against St. John’s at the end of the season. But at times, Taylor played more like a stretch power forward and had a tendency to roam around the perimeter rather than post up in the paint.

It’s tough to figure out what type of player Taylor is. His 6-foot-7 frame gives him the versatility, but his skill set is muddled.

Steve Wojciechowski: BC 

It’s hard to truly evaluate Wojciechowski because it was obvious that he couldn’t implement his true style in his first season. Wojciechowski promised plenty of high pressure man-to-man and full court press in the preseason, but the Golden Eagles primarily switched between 2-3 and 1-3-1 zones. With only eight players, Marquette could not afford to play man defense.

Wojciechowski’s intensity was always evident and he proved to be a good motivator. Many opposing coaches complimented Wojciechowski on his ability to get his teams to play hard. That tenacity is something to expect from every Marquette team, no matter the talent level.

Wojciechowski barely scratched the surface of what he can be as a head coach. His strong recruiting and motivational abilities are impressive and the progress that Duane Wilson and Luke Fischer made this season exemplified Wojciechowski’s ability to develop talent.

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