Mortensen surprised many when, instead of taking his two year Mormon mission following high school, joined Marquette for the 2006 season. During the exhibition season, word spread that Mortensen might red shirt his freshmen year. After not playing in the Blue and Gold Classic and a number of early season games, Coach Tom Crean confirmed that Mortensen would sit out the season and retain his four years of eligibility. After Wednesday, Mortensen joins already departed forward Ryan Amoroso as two members of the 2006 team who won't be wearing a Marquette uniform in 2007.
In addition to their one remaining scholarship for the 2007 class, Crean now has even more firepower to attack a slew of big name recruits who have shown interest in Marquette. Figuring to be atop this list is 6-8 forward Keaton Nankivil from Madison's Memorial High School. Crean hopes Nankivil will join former teammate Wesley Matthews in being the first recruits to bolt Bo Ryan's backyard for Marquette. Another player who has been on Marquette's radar for over a year is Mendota, Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe. Like Nankivil, Wisconsin and Minnesota are also lobbying for Mbakwe's services along with a host of other schools. Recently, another hot name has been thrown into the mix. JaJuan Johnson from Indianapolis is another four star recruit and boasts a 6-10 frame that Marquette will need to replace next year's graduating seniors, 6-9 Jamil Lott and 7-0 Mike Kinsella.
Which recruits will Coach Tom Crean pursue the hardest? One would have to think any big man would like to join Marquette's most promising Big East future backcourt. This year, David Cubillan and Maurice Acker will join and already talented mix of Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Matthews.
One thing is pretty certain--Crean is very unlikely to add a late sign or transfer from the class of 2006. Not much talent remains, and the possibility of nabbing two of the three 2007 targets in Nankivil, Mbakwe, or Johnson could be the missing pieces to an already deep and experienced team in the years ahead.