Marquette Wire

STEPPE: Elliott’s recruitment geographically significant

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Last November, Marquette men’s basketball head coach Steve Wojciechowski had a rare luxury. After having to rely on the later signing period the previous two years to complete recruiting classes, Wojciechowski only had one spot to fill after signing Ike Eke, Jamal Cain and Theo John for the Class of 2017. Marquette could then sit back and look for recruits without needing another signee.

Four months later, the recruiting picture is far less picturesque. After losing Sandy Cohen and Traci Carter via midseason transfers and graduating Luke Fischer, Jajuan Johnson and Duane Wilson (who will finish his career Texas A&M as a graduate transfer), Marquette still has three open scholarships with the regular signing period looming eight days away.

While graduate transfers like Katin Reinhardt last summer and Matt Carlino in 2014 are increasingly available and would fill immediate team needs, it’s hardly a perfect source to fill multiple scholarships.

Based on ESPN’s list of graduate transfers from last summer, out of the 14 Division I schools to bring in multiple graduate transfers, only seven were Power Six schools and one made the NCAA Tournament. The lone school was Iowa State.

Fortunately for the blue and gold, Marquette’s increasing need for another 2017 recruit conveniently coincides with the rise of 2017 combo guard Greg Elliott.

Elliott entered the season as the Detroit Free Press’ 13th-best high school basketball player in the state and wasn’t even ranked on 247Sports but finished as a finalist for Michigan’s Mr. Basketball. Additionally, he finished in the Mr. Basketball voting above Cain, who chose Marquette over Florida State, Michigan and Georgia.

Elliott would step in and take some of the minutes lost from Wilson’s decision to graduate and transfer. He would also provide some insurance to Marquette in case Haanif Cheatham does not bounce back from his subpar sophomore season.

Marquette has the benefit of recruiting Elliott before other major programs. Prior to Marquette’s offer, Elliott’s only Power Six offer was from DePaul, which has not made the tournament since Elliott was in preschool. The other major advantage involves Marquette’s other signees from Michigan. Eke and Cain play on The Family, a Nike EYBL travel team Elliott also played for. 

Aside from his obvious impact on the court, Elliott’s recruitment has additional importance as a testing ground for whether Wojciechowski can consistently recruit in Michigan. Signing Elliott would mean that three out of four signees came from the state of Michigan while turning down at least one of the two perennial powerhouses in the state, Michigan or Michigan State.

At the same time, Elliott signing elsewhere would be a significant blow to Wojciechowski’s plan to emphasize the Wolverine State. Marquette has already lost Xavier Tillman, and earlier in Wojciechowski’s tenure, Cassius Winston to Michigan State.

If Marquette cannot successfully recruit a player that has two AAU teammates already signed and a longer relationship with Marquette’s staff than any other high-major, it would be a definite blow.

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