Basketball teams add new members to its programs

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Marquette Wire Stock Photo

Marquette men’s and women’s basketball head coaches Shaka Smart and Megan Duffy welcomed five combined 2023 recruits who signed their national letters of intent Wednesday. 

The Golden Eagles announced three additions on the men’s side with the signings of Zaide Lowery, Al Amadou and Tre Norman. 

Smart’s recruiting class for 2023 is ranked No. 18 in the country by 247Sports, which ranks third amongst all Big East schools with UConn and Xavier at No. 4 and No. 14, respectively. But that doesn’t mean anything to Smart. 

“I don’t pay attention to recruiting rankings at all,” Smart said. “I don’t know where Tre Norman, Al Amadou and Zaide Lowery are ranked. I know if I was going to do my own rankings, those guys would be ranked higher than probably what other people think they are.”

Instead Smart said him and his staff look for players that fit the culture they are looking to build within the program.

“For us, we’re not recruiting rankings, we’re recruiting specific people. Not just players but specific people from specific families that match our core values and match up with what we’re trying to do here at Marquette. We feel like we have that with these three young men,” Smart said.

Lowery was the first to commit to Smart in the class back in April and fits Smart’s style of being a versatile guard. 

“Extremely, extremely receptive to coaching,” Smart said. “Very athletic. He’s a great mover. The way he glides around the floor is reminiscent of some of the other really, really talented wings that have been here in the past.” 

Lowery is just in his fourth season playing basketball after making the switch from football heading into high school. He transferred from Kickapoo High School in Missouri to La Lumiere, a powerhouse prep school, in Indiana for his senior season this year.

He’s really emerging as an offensive player,” Smart said. “He’s got (a) really good feel for his passing and his ball-handling. He doesn’t try to do too much, which is huge.” 

Amadou is the type of big man that Smart likes to cater toward to with his length, athleticism and versatility.

“Unbelievable potential, (his) smile lights up a room,” Smart said. “Al can do a lot of things. (Assistant coach) Cody (Hatt) says it all the time, his basketball development will be intimately tied to his personal development as a young man. Al can be as good as he wants to be at this game.”

Like Lowery, Amadou is a latecomer to basketball. 

“Interestingly enough, I asked him, ‘Why did you start playing the game?’ and he said, ‘I was watching basketball on YouTube and one of the guys that really caught my eye was Sean Jones.’ It’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a guy that we signed, deciding to play the game of basketball because of one of our current players. I thought that was pretty cool,” Smart said.

The last member to commit in the class was Norman, a 6-foot-3 guard out of Worcester, Massachusetts. He is the highest-ranked of the trio at No. 84 in 247Sports composite rankings.

“He’s won everywhere he’s been,” Smart said. “Probably one of the top three high school games I’ve ever seen last March when his school, Worcester Academy, won the NEPSAC (New England Preparatory School Athletic Council) Championship. It was the day after we played St. John’s. So it felt good flying up there and watching him and maybe at that point knowing something that maybe certain other schools didn’t know about him. That’s how we try to go about recruiting.” 

Meanwhile on the women’s side, Skylar Forbes and Halle Vice inked their signatures to play for the Golden Eagles. 

“We are thrilled to officially welcome two newcomers to our program in Skylar Forbes and Halle Vice,” Duffy said in a statement. “Both women have had tremendous success on and off the court, and we expect them to enhance Marquette basketball for years to come.” 

Forbes is a 6-foot-2 forward out of Markham, Ontario that has played both on the national level with Canada’s U18 junior national team and at the prep level with Scarborough Prep.

“Skylar has an incredible upside with her athleticism and versatility in the forward position,” Duffy said in the statement. “Her development really shined as she helped Canada basketball’s U18 national team win a silver medal this summer.” 

Forbes helped lead her national team to the championship game of the 2022 FIBA U18 Americas Championship where she played 19.2 minutes and averaged 5.6 points and 5.2 rebounds in five games. 

“Her club team, A-Game, allowed her to gain great exposure to showcase her abilities here in the U.S. Marquette Nation will love her bounce, rebounding abilities and dominate inside/out play,” Duffy said.

Vice committed to the Golden Eagles in May. 

“Halle brings versatility both inside and out. Her length, athleticism and intelligence will allow us to move her around in different positions on the floor,” Duffy said. 

Vice is a 6-foot-4 wing out of Bettendorf, Iowa where she broke her high school single-season record during the 2021-22 season when she scored a total of 498 points. She plays for All Iowa Attack on the AAU basketball circuit. 

“Halle continues to win everywhere she goes, representing All Iowa Attack on the Nike EYBL circuit while also garnering All-State honors in both basketball and volleyball. Her three-level scoring will bring excitement to the Al McGuire Center,” Duffy said. 

All five players will arrive on campus next summer. 

This article was written by John Leuzzi. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JohnLeuzziMU.