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Difficulties Face Marquette Basketball

Marquette Golden Eagles

Just two years ago, the Marquette basketball program looked to be in a great situation. The Golden Eagles were en route to their seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, and consistent competitors in the Big East, one of the toughest conferences in college basketball. The program hadn’t lost a step once former coach Tom Cream left for Indiana, with first-time Division I coach Buzz Williams looking like a revelatory hire.

 

Last year Marquette won the conference regular-season title, unfortunately taking the dubious distinction as the last title-winner of the original Big East. The breakup of the conference left Marquette in a weaker situation, in a seven-team conference without some of the big-money programs that had made the original conference so successful. 

 

That situation already foretold a different type of season for the Golden Eagles, but the team has had some unexpected troubles after entering the season as conference favorites. The team is 9-6 after finishing its non-conference slate, losing against most of the quality opponents they have faced. With the weakened state of the Big East, it may be a challenge for the team to make its ninth consecutive NCAA tournament. 

 

After a year like this, many fans of the Golden Eagles will be looking to an impact recruiting class to get the team back in the national conversation. So far that class has been highly touted, ranking in the top 20 by a number of recruiting organizations. While there isn’t a five-star recruit in the group, the class looks like it could be a solid starting group in years to come. 

 

The 2014 class includes two guards that could fit well with the next Golden Eagles team in contention. Sandy Cohen, out of Seymour, Wisconsin, was the 85th ranked prospect by Scout.com, and will bring some developed scoring skills. Cohen has been praised for his character and work ethic, pointing to a potential future leader for the team. 

 

Ahmed Hill is the other stud guard coming to Marqutte next fall. The 6’5 shooter out of Augusta, Georgia averaged 30.0 points per game last season and was ranked the 73rd best prospect in the nation by Scout.com. Hill and Cohen are the highlights of the class, dangerous scoring options that will cause opposing coaches headaches. 

 

Malek Harris was projected to be the third impact player from the 2014 class, but questions surround the 6’7 forward out of Orland Park, Illinois. Harris emerged as a big-conference prospect after his season last year, yet after his commitment he has since been suspended for the season by his high school, for disciplinary reasons. He could be an impact player next season, or the missed time could negatively impact a developing player. His story will be one to watch for the 2014 season.

 

Marquette also got a couple of three-star recruits in Satchel Pierce (Kiski School, PA) and Marial Shayok (Blair Academy NY) that could round out a solid rotation for the Golden Eagles. Still, the team has to finish this year out, as it enters its conference schedule. Marquette is entering an uncertain period, yet it has some talented players coming in that will hope to bring some stability to the program.