Marquette Wire

Round table: Does Cohen’s departure hurt MUBB?

Sandy+Cohen+played+in+three+of+Marquette%27s+four+games+before+leaving+the+program.
Sandy Cohen played in three of Marquette's four games before leaving the program.

Sandy Cohen played in three of Marquette's four games before leaving the program.

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

Sandy Cohen played in three of Marquette's four games before leaving the program.

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Men’s basketball announced last week junior guard Sandy Cohen was released from his scholarship and is pursuing a transfer. The Wire Sports executives came together to discuss what impact this has on the team going forward.

Jack Goods: At face value, this doesn’t seem like an enormous move. Cohen was likely the last guy off the bench, and Steve Wojciechowski was showing in the early games that he’d be used sparingly at best.

Matt Unger: In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t some program-changing move. However, it is intriguing that he was the last guy off the bench. He seemed like he was always in Coach Wojciechowski’s dog house. Despite his junior status and ability to defend, Cohen was being benched in favor of younger players, even freshmen.

Grant Becker: It’s certainly a loss though. Cohen was the best defender at the four and he could switch screens onto any player, even smaller fives.

JG: Cohen had plenty of  strong qualities, but it’s no secret that he looked like two different players at the start and end of last season. He had an outstanding non-conference last season, then suddenly he faced a mystery one-game suspension and his confidence was shot. You have to wonder if he was never able to recover from that.

Connor Basch: There were definitely games where he showed why he was such a highly touted recruit. Take last year’s San Jose State game, for example. Cohen got off to a hot start, and led the team in scoring on the day with 24 points and six 3-point makes. He had stints of great play, but he just couldn’t string games together.

MU: Ever since that game, he has been nowhere near as effective, and it wasn’t for lack of opportunity either. Last season he simply couldn’t take advantage of playing time. During conference play he had trouble finding the rim on his shots, let alone making them. His 3-point shooting became nonexistent and he isn’t quick enough on the drive to make teams respect him offensively.

GB: The news surprised me, but then I looked a little closer and it made sense for Cohen. If I’m him and I get that DNP-CD in the Pitt game, despite Katin Reinhardt’s obvious struggles in back-to-back games, I can see the writing on the wall. I’m the 11th man.

GB: When the season started I figured the best-case scenario for Marquette was for Cohen to regain his confidence and take the starting PF job. He could fit into the offense as a spot up shooter and allow Fischer, Haanif Cheatham, Jajuan Johnson and whoever else to carry the load on offense without being a liability. Then he could guard the best wing, allowing Johnson to roam a bit more. It seems to me he could have provided balance to the lineup. I guess I’ll just never get last season’s Wisconsin game out of my head.

JG: You have to think Sam Hauser’s early success didn’t bode well for Cohen’s future either.

CB: I look at it as a positive for Marquette moving forward. Nothing against Cohen, but with the way the roster stacks up right now, he’s got two guys in front of him already and this is a team that’s adding three more forwards for the 2017 recruiting class. Now, it gives Wojciechowski the opportunity to work with two scholarships for next year’s class.

MU: I couldn’t agree more Connor. Yes, Cohen adds a nice presence on defense, but he is a junior. He was already more than halfway through his college career when he made this decision. Essentially, Cohen was expendable.

GB: The counterpoint to that is Marquette is at least a little weaker this season without Cohen. Depth is huge and the ability to give teams different looks is nice. Now there’s an option gone.

JG: This could give Wojciechowski flexibility when it comes to finding another center, or someone they think can fit better in Johnson’s role when he graduates.

MU: Absolutely, Jack. I mean Fischer is a senior and so far, Matt Heldt has not shown me enough to say he should be the starting center next season.

CB: The big problem that a lot of observers saw coming into this season was Marquette’s lack of size. With Cohen’s loss, that seems even more relevant.

JG: At the end of the day, Cohen is just another member of Marquette’s quality All-Transfer team.

GB: John Dawson, Deonte Burton, Gave Levin, Sandy Cohen and Steve Taylor. That’s an interesting small ball team.

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