One of the questions Marquette had entering the season was where depth would come from at the point guard position behind Junior Cadougan. There were also questions as to whether Cadougan was ready to carry the load as the premier point on the team.
Through two games, it's apparent that the Golden Eagles will be just fine passing the ball, and it will come from a variety of places.
In Monday night's 99-68 win over Norfolk St., Marquette assisted on 26 of its 33 made field goals. Four starters (all but center Chris Otule) finished with four or more assists and three players off the bench had more than one.
"I think our guys were extremely unselfish," coach Buzz Williams said. "I think that anytime a perimeter player, not necessarily your point guard, leads your team in assists, that probably means that everyone's getting a touch that possession."
Junior Cadougan, who handed out 10 assists in last Friday night's win over Mount St. Mary's, contributed four assists, but it was Vander Blue and Darius Johnson-Odom who led the way for Marquette in that department. Each wing handed out six assists.
"When [Johnson-Odom] and [Blue] lead your team in assists, I think you're in pretty good shape," Williams said. "Junior is going to do what he does, and I think Derrick is starting to figure that out."
Blue, who still has played exclusively off the ball after rumors of a potential shift to point guard, was quick to get to the basket and showed excellent court vision in finding open teammates. He even had two or three passes that should have gone for assists, but the receiving player couldn't finish.
Johnson-Odom was able to draw defenders away through the use of his deadly pump-fake, before finding open teammates under the basket for easy layups.
Williams said that outside of the team's two true point guards (Cadougan, D. Wilson) and centers (Otule, Gardner), Marquette is successful passing the ball because the rest of the team is made up of talented players, not necessarily position-specific players.
"Within how we play, Junior is a point, Derrick is a point. Davante is a five, and Chris is a five," Williams said. "But there were times tonight when three out of those four weren't on the court. So what are those other guys? Just really good players. I think that within how we play, everyone knows what everyone is doing, and we don't really look at it from a position standpoint."
Of those two point guards, freshman Derrick Wilson has made a seemingly easy transition to the college game. The unknown of Marquette's 2011 recruiting class, Wilson has made good decisions with the basketball (zero turnovers in 34 minutes) and is playing as good a defense as anyone on the team. Freshman guard Todd Mayo looked more comfortable as an off-the-ball scorer Monday night, which is where he should primarily play this year.
The Golden Eagles are finding open teammates at will through unselfish play, talent and athleticism, leading to high assist totals. The numbers are a bit skewed because of the competition, but Marquette is doing what they are supposed to be doing against these teams, and progressing as they do it.
Passing with flying colors
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