STEPPE: Recent commitments add needed size for MUBB


Photo by Courtesy of

Jamal Cain is the third recruit to commit to Marquette from the 2017 class.

The Marquette Golden Eagles are in much better shape moving forward, following two crucial commitments last week from power forward Theo John and small forward Jamal Cain.

John, ranked 206th by 247Sports composite, and Cain, ranked 132nd by 247Sports composite, lack the all-around talent of previous commits like Henry Ellenson in 2015 or Markus Howard in 2016. However, the combination of these two players along with previously-committed power forward Ike Eke already give the Golden Eagles a great chance at finally snapping the team’s streak of March sadness.

John and Cain will not fracture freshman scoring records like Ellenson, nor do they have a chance of standing out on a FIBA team like Howard.  What John will do is make current stars like Haanif Cheatham and Duane Wilson better with his knack for running the floor and distributing the ball.  At the same time, Cain will give the Golden Eagles another offensive weapon capable of competing beyond the arc or in the paint.

Cain, 6-foot-7, has already proven this skill as a member of The Family, Michigan’s lone member of Nike’s elite EYBL league.  Last year, he was the team’s second-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder.  He even out-rebounded Eke, a fellow member of The Family, despite Eke’s 4-inch height advantage.

The timing of this post-heavy recruiting class could not have been more opportunistic for Wojciechowski’s squad, as the projected graduation of Luke Fischer will leave an enormous void in the paint.  Without the three incoming freshmen for 2017-’18, the only big man would be future junior Matt Heldt, who was ineffective in the 5.1 minutes per game that he averaged last year.

As exciting as the past week has been for the Golden Eagles, their remaining scholarship for 2017 keeps the door open for another talented weapon.  The team has been high on the lists of fellow power forwards Xavier Tillman and Hasahn French as well as small forward Jordan Nwora, one of the stars from the adidas Nations tournament this summer.  While Tillman is the highest-ranked among the remaining targets, any of the three would bolster a recruiting class that is already ranked in the top 25 by 247 Sports.