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Marquette Wire

MUBB takeaways: Three observations from Blue and Gold scrimmage

Photo by Keifer Russell
Senior guard Tyler Kolek finished the scrimmage with 13 points and six assists.

Last season, Marquette men’s basketball made history, winning its first Big East title and earning a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, its highest ranking in program history.

They fell short in the Round of 32, but this season, the Golden Eagles are hungry for more.

Marquette played its annual Blue and Gold Scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Fiserv Forum, giving Marquette fans a look at the 2023-24 Golden Eagles.

“It was a great feeling in there. Just being around people that crave Marquette basketball,” head coach Shaka Smart said. “Our mentality, really since the start of school has been, we’re going to have to really, really continue to grow our championship habits if we want to be a championship team.”

Here are three observations from the scrimmage:

Gold team mounts comeback

Once Marquette released the lineups for the scrimmage, it looked to be heavily favoring the Blue team, which featured Tyler Kolek, Oso Ighodaro, Kam Jones and David Joplin.

But the Gold team — with only one returning starter in junior guard Stevie Mitchell — was the victor, winning the scrimmage 67-61.

“I’m not surprised that Gold maybe fared better than people thought they would,” Smart said.

The Gold team beat the starter-heavy Blue team 67-61 in the Blue and Gold scrimmage Oct. 7 at Fiserv Forum (Photo by Keifer Russell)

Down 42-33 at the half, the Gold team came back, going on an 8-2 run to take a 59-53 lead and not look back.

“I said to the Gold team at one of the media timeouts, ‘Hey, do you guys want this to be a lineup that might be in the game, with 7:37 left in the game in a close game? If you do, then we’ve got to continue to build that chemistry,'” Smart said.

Four players on the Gold team — Chase Ross, Zaide Lowery, Mitchell and Sean Jones — finished with over 10 points. -JA

Golden Eagle X-Factors

This year’s Golden Eagles’ bench features a wide variety of depth, but the one player that stood out from the rest was first-year guard Zaide Lowery.

The Springfield, Missouri native finished with 12 points in the scrimmage, the most out of all three-first years.

“If I’m Zaide Lowery, I am spending as much time as possible with Chase Ross and saying, ‘Chase, teach me about how things went down last year with you.’… Those two have a lot in common,” Smart said. “What I’m really enthused about with him is he’s not afraid. He’s going after it. He’s been a really good learner, and been someone who’s not afraid to go up against someone like David Joplin and hold his own.”

As for the returner, Ross made appearances in all 36 games last season, averaging 16.4 minutes per game. Heading into this year, Ross is poised to make an impact on both ends of the court. In the scrimmage, he led all scorers with 17 points on the afternoon for the Gold squad, capping off the scrimmage with a trademark windmill slam dunk.

“That’s the most shots Chase Ross has ever taken in a game,” Smart said. “On that team, he needed to do that today. He’s really taken a jump as a player. It was great to see his confidence. You’ve heard me say this before, but Chase Ross is a dude… On top of that, he is an incredibly diligent worker. He truly cares about winning and doing all the little things that go into winning.”

With junior forward David Joplin likely to join the starting lineup, Ross is set to take his place as Marquette’s sixth man. -KW

Different Joplin and Gold

Both Joplin and Gold looked visibly different at the scrimmage, in different ways.

Junior forward David Joplin passes the ball in Marquette men’s basketball’s Blue and Gold Scrimmage Oct. 7. (Photo by Keifer Russell)

Joplin, who spent the summer working on a VersaClimber was noticeably leaner and faster. He finished the scrimmage with 14 points on the afternoon.

“That’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Joplin said about using the VersaClimber. “It’s brutal. It takes you to that vulnerable place, but it lets you know that you have more in you and I think some of the guys some of the coaches started doing it. The growth that comes from it is major.”

The VersaClimber is a cardio machine that Smart has used since his days at VCU.

Opposite to Joplin, Gold was noticeably bulkier, with more strength and a bigger frame. He is sitting at 245 pounds, 25 more than the 220 pound body he came to Marquette with.

“Guarding against Oso every day, it’s just helped me defend him better and obviously that makes him better having a bigger body out there,” Gold said. “It’s been really helpful.”

Gold played 24 minutes in the scrimmage, which Smart was the most he has done all year since being sidelined with a shin splints. Smart said that Gold will continue to get better as the year goes on.

“If you said to me ‘Hey, I’ll give you one guy that’s that it’s gonna have an awesome season, that’s gonna take a big job?’ Benny Gold man, Benny Gold,” Smart said. “It just changes our team, because he’s 6-foot-10 and he can shoot and he gives us just such versatility out there on both ends of the floor.”

After averaging 9.7 minutes as a first-year, Gold will have a larger role on the court as a sophomore. -JA

Next up

Marquette will return to Fiserv Forum Oct. 18 for its open practice at 6 p.m. CST. The Golden Eagles will also play two closed-door scrimmages before its first home game Nov. 6 against Northern Illinois.

This article was written by Kaylynn Wright and Jack Albright. Kaylynn can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @KaylynnWrightMU. Jack can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @JackAlbrightMU.

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About the Contributors
Kaylynn Wright
Kaylynn Wright, Assistant Sports Editor
Kaylynn Wright is a sophomore from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin studying journalism, and she is an Assistant Sports Editor for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys reading and watching baseball, specifically the San Francisco Giants and the Boston Red Sox. She is excited to meet new people and continue to create high-quality sports content for the Wire.
Jack Albright
Jack Albright, Executive Sports Editor
Jack Albright is a sophomore from Charlton, Massachusetts studying journalism. He is the Executive Sports Editor of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, Jack likes to hang out with friends and watch Formula 1. He is excited to write fun stories about all things Marquette athletics and oversee new types of digital content.
Keifer Russell
Keifer Russell, Staff Photographer
Keifer Russell is a junior from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin studying digital media and public relations and is a Staff Photographer of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire he enjoys rock climbing, photography (figures), as well as finding and listening to new music. He is very excited to further refine his photographic content over the next year

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