Marquette part of Jesuit school focused basketball marketing

2015 – ’16 men’s basketball team Photo by Yue Yin /

Marquette men’s and women’s basketball teams will once again participate in the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight, a marketing campaign led by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

The JBS is a campaign by the AJCU to capitalize on basketball at Jesuit schools and bring awareness to the mission of Jesuit universities through the games. Marquette has been involved in the program since its inception eight years ago.

Deanna Howes, AJCU director of communications, said they considered this idea for many years before its launch.

“There are so many great Jesuit basketball teams, so why not capitalize on their success?” Howes said.

“Some students do come to Marquette for the basketball team because of the fact it is largely deemed a basketball school, but eventually most Marquette students realize the education and Jesuit values are what the university is really about,” said Patrick Shay, a junior in the College of Engineering.

With initial help from Joe Lunardi and John Burnes, alumni of Saint Joseph’s University and Saint Louis University, AJCU created the original campaign and branding in 2008.

The JBS campaign includes a minute-long video highlighting players and coaches from the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities, JBS Twitter and Facebook accounts, weekly round ups and the National Jesuit Basketball men and women Player of the Week selections.

Former Marquette players Jimmy Butler, Lazar Hayward, Darius Johnson-Odom, Katherine Plouffe and Angel Robinson have received this distinction in the past. Fairfield University and Georgetown University graduate Brian Larkin volunteers as the JBS Sports Information Director and uses a calculated formula and weekly statistics to determine the accolades.

Howes said she appreciates when athletic departments put the Player of the Week press releases on their websites, noting the particularly positive feedback the AJCU received when Creighton University consistently showcased Doug McDermott’s recognition of this honor last year.

Scott Kuykendall, associate athletic director for communications, said in an email that Marquette has also used materials the AJCU provides, including announcements in-game, video elements and information in game notes and on the Marquette athletics website.

“The JBS is a great way to spotlight universities who share similar core values while at the same time recognizing the quality basketball programs a majority of the institutions feature,” Kuykendall said. ​

Since its launch in 2008, the JBS has received significant and wide-ranging press coverage, including articles in ESPN, the Washington Post and America Magazine.

“It is very helpful to have this coverage,” Howes said. “But it can be difficult to remind people of the program because of the quick turnover rate in many collegiate athletic departments.”

She said although small steps in the program encourage the AJCU and JBS, they still have high aspirations. Playing the JBS video at games especially heightens the exposure to thousands of Jesuit basketball fans in attendance.

This year, the campaign added one more marketing material: a schedule of the games in which Jesuit schools play each other this season. It is available for download on their website and was distributed for use to all 28 athletic departments.