Marquette Wire

2015-’16 men’s basketball report card

Photo+by+Mike+Carpenter%2Fmichael.carpenter%40marquette.edu
Photo by Mike Carpenter/michael.carpenter@marquette.edu

Photo by Mike Carpenter/michael.carpenter@marquette.edu

Photo by Mike Carpenter/michael.carpenter@marquette.edu

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The Golden Eagles improved their win total from 13 wins in 2014-’15 to 20 this season. While 20 wins almost always results in a postseason berth, Marquette’s non-conference schedule proved to be too weak, and the team missed all tournaments for the third consecutive season.

With one of the youngest teams in the country, second-year head coach Steve Wojciechowski was able to get high production out of freshmen Henry Ellenson and Haanif Cheatham, while veterans Sandy Cohen and Duane Wilson took steps backward. Marquette’s offense impressed, scoring more than 76 points per game, while the defense struggled to stifle even the most lackluster opponents, allowing more than 74 points per game.

Eight Wire Sports staff members considered the overall season performances of the 10 regular players and Wojciechowski. We aggregated each scores based on a plus/minus grading scale.

Sacar Anim (C): Anim never saw more than 11 minutes of action and was never able to truly make an impact, indicated by his 1.2 points per game. Despite his 5.2 minutes per game, he finished with an impressive 47.1 field goal percentage as an undersized forward. It’ll be interesting to see where he fits as a role player in Marquette’s future plans. – Jamey Schilling

Traci Carter (B-): As a freshman, Carter was thrown into the fire as the team’s only true point guard. He led Marquette in assists with 4.6 per game and started 19 total games. His scrappy play and energy on defense often provided the team a lift when it needed one. Carter will need to improve on the offensive end where he shot just 34 percent from the field in order to be considered a top-level point guard. – Thomas Salinas

Haanif Cheatham (A-): The most pleasant surprise of the season was the play of Cheatham, who came in as a top-100 recruit but was perhaps the biggest mystery of all. He lived up to expectations as a slashing scorer, getting to the rim almost at will in most games, but he also impressed by shooting 39 percent from three-point range. With the addition of Andrew Rowsey to the lineup next year, Cheatham should thrive in his natural shooting guard position and could be Marquette’s No. 1 scoring option. – Dan Reiner

Sandy Cohen III (C): Marquette was about one scorer short on offense this year, and that missing scorer was Sandy Cohen. In a disappointing step back for the sophomore, he averaged over 20 minutes per game in conference play, yet averaged just over four points per game. With talented small forward Sam Hauser arriving next year and several other options at shooting guard, it is hard to see where Cohen fits in the future of this program. – Andrew Goldstein

Henry Ellenson (A): The team didn’t meet expectations this season, but Henry sure did. The star freshman lived up to his billing, setting new Marquette freshman records for scoring, rebounding and six other categories. He was named the BIG EAST’s Freshman of the Year and was chosen to the All-BIG EAST First-Team and USBWA Freshman All-American team. He was the team’s clear-cut MVP. – Jack Goods

Wally Ellenson (B-): In Wally’s first eligible season since transferring from Minnesota, the forward appeared in 29 games and averaged just less than nine minutes a game. Though his minutes were limited, Ellenson made the most of his playing time as an electric boost off the bench, also providing a veteran presence to one of the youngest teams in the NCAA. – Robby Cowles

Luke Fischer (B): One of the strengths of the men’s basketball team this year was the frontcourt combo of Fischer and Henry Ellenson. Fischer started every game and averaged 12.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for the Golden Eagles. In fact, Fischer nearly equalled his offensive rebounding total to his defensive total, at 100 and 103, respectively. He was consistently in foul trouble, though, and also drew criticism for his lack of aggressiveness at the rim. – John Hand

Matt Heldt (C): Heldt played in only 20 games in his first season in Milwaukee. Usually coming on in emergency situations when Marquette’s big men were in foul trouble, Heldt showed how raw of a player he was, especially offensively. Still, you can’t teach height, and he certainly appeared to put on muscle as the season progressed. Heldt will be integral to the team next season, especially if Henry declares. – Robby Cowles

Jajuan Johnson (A-): Johnson was the most improved player on this team. JJ’s sophomore campaign was abysmal, but this season he provided a key spark in several games. He played in 82 minutes more this year than in 2014-’15 and only committed one extra turnover (50). Johnson improved his three-point shot percentage from 21 to 38 and his field goal percentage from 37 to 51. He averaged an extra rebound per game and improved his scoring from 7.3 to 10.2 points per game. – Peter Fiorentino

Duane Wilson (C+): Wilson was Marquette’s most consistent player last year, but that wasn’t the case this season. The beginning of the year was a struggle, especially from three-point range, shooting under 25 percent from four of the first five games. But he was able to bounce back in BIG EAST play, getting to a similar shooting percentage as last year from the field and from long range despite going 2-for-15 against Xavier and 1-for-8 against Villanova. His status as an obvious starter in his senior season is now up in the air. – Jack Goods

Steve Wojciechowski (B-): Inconsistencies rocked Marquette all season, as the Golden Eagles could hardly string together consecutive victories. It isn’t fair to blame any coach or any player for a season. Wojciechowski took responsibility for some losses, including the season-crushing DePaul loss, making it seem like a lack of preparation was to blame. There’s no doubt he’s a top-notch recruiter, but that talent needs to translate to on-court success. – Dan Reiner

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