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2017 class signifies change in recruiting footprint

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2017 class signifies change in recruiting footprint

Steve Wojciechowski has landed players from seven states since arriving at Marquette.

Steve Wojciechowski has landed players from seven states since arriving at Marquette.

Photo by Jack Goods

Steve Wojciechowski has landed players from seven states since arriving at Marquette.

Photo by Jack Goods

Photo by Jack Goods

Steve Wojciechowski has landed players from seven states since arriving at Marquette.

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With the fall signing period coming to a close Wednesday, men’s basketball head coach Steve Wojciechowski appears to be turning Michigan and Minnesota into recruiting pipelines with the commitments of Theo John from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, and Jamal Cain and Ike Eke from Detroit, Michigan

John is the second player from Minnesota to commit to Marquette since Wojciechowski’s arrival in April 2014. The first was Sacar Anim, who is redshirting this season. Wojciechowski is hoping that Anim and John’s commitments are not exceptions, but a rule.

“Minnesota has really good high school basketball,” Wojciechowski said. “Over the past few years especially. … We want to try to recruit in the states that are closest to us.”

Minnesota is not the only Midwestern state to receive increased emphasis from Wojciechowski.  The signings of Eke and Cain put Michigan, a previously dormant state for Marquette recruiting, on the map.

When Eke and Cain step foot on campus next August, they will be the first Golden Eagles from Michigan since Chris Grimm suited up for Tom Crean from 2002-’06.  The last time Marquette had multiple players from Michigan on the team at one time was the 2003-’04 season, when Grimm and Brandon Bell, the younger brother of Michigan State star Charlie Bell, donned blue and gold.

Michigan and Minnesota play a part in Wojciechowski’s larger recruiting scheme.

“We want to try to take care of the places that are a little bit closer,” Wojciechowski said.  “People really understand how great a program Marquette is and then (we will) selectively (recruit) outside our bread basket.”

As a result, Wojciechowski has recruited as many in-state players in three seasons as his predecessor Buzz Williams did in his six-year tenure. Excluding transfers, Buzz’s only in-state commitments were Duane Wilson (Milwaukee), Deonte Burton (Milwaukee), Jake Thomas (Racine) and Vander Blue (Madison). Wojciechowski has already landed Sandy Cohen (Seymour), Henry Ellenson (Rice Lake), Matt Heldt (Neenah) and Sam Hauser (Stevens Point).

Also, Williams only had one in-state commitment from outside of southeastern Wisconsin — Vander Blue.  In half the time, Wojciechowski has four recruits from other parts of the state.

Wojciechowski’s previous prowess regarding in-state talent made this year’s lack of signees particularly atypical.

Marquette was a finalist for Milwaukee King star and Michigan commit Jordan Poole and Milwaukee Riverside standout and Iowa State commit Terrence Lewis, the top two recruits in the state per ESPN.  Lewis told the Wire minutes after his announcement that Marquette had been with him “since day one.”

This is the first time that the top two recruits in the state both spurned the Blue and Gold since Buzz Williams missed out on Sam Dekker and J.P. Tokoto in 2012 to Wisconsin and North Carolina.

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About the Contributors
John Steppe, Executive Sports Editor

John Steppe is the executive sports editor for the Marquette Wire. He is a junior majoring in journalism and double-minoring in digital media and Spanish....

Jack Goods, Sports Editor

Jack Goods is the sports editor of the Marquette Wire, covering the men's soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams. He is a senior from Buffalo, New York...

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