Joe Chapman - Reflects on a Great Career

For this Friday's former player feature John Dodds of did this Q & A with one of Marquette University's most recent graduates, Joe Chapman. In his four years Chapman developed a reputation for being a tough competitor, a hard worker and a great leader. In this feature, "The X-Factor" looks back on his career at Marquette.

DOS: Congratulations on a terrific career. It's been four years. Did it go as fast as it seemed?

JC: Yes, it has. The practices didn't go by that fast but the games and everything else went by pretty fast.

DOS: When you look back, what are the top moments of your career?

JC:I think coming back from being down 19 at Louisville (on ESPN) my first year, from a team standpoint, that was pretty good. You couldn't beat going to the Final Four. And this year actually, the people who were doubting us in the beginning, saying we would be 13th, 14th in the Big East, and we ended up 4th, I mean that's a big accomplishment.

DOS: What do you plan on doing now? Looking at a pro career in Europe?

JC: I'm going overseas for sure. I have a couple of agents looking at me in Germany, Italy, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, so I have a few choices out there.

DOS: And then what do you want to do after graduating? What is your degree in?

JC: In Communications and I've got a minor in Sociology.

DOS: Do you want to teach or get into broadcasting?

JC: When I am officially done done, I want to come back and coach and after that I want to do sort of what like Jim McIlvaine is doing, get into broadcasting.

DOS: Looking at you from afar, this was a special senior year because it may not have started like what you wanted, and then all of a sudden Wesley gets hurt – who is there? Dependable Joe Chapman. Tell us about your senior year.

JC: They always depended on me last year (2004-'05). Travis got hurt, and I stepped in and did what I had to do. I have had a nickname since high school, "The X-Factor," and that's what I come in and do. It's not going to be a drop-off when I come in a game or if I start, there won't be, "Oh why is Joe starting?" I'm going to come in and contribute the best I can.

DOS: Was it tough at the beginning of the year? Your minutes were down. These freshmen, probably the most remarkable group of freshmen I have seen in the 30 years I have been around the program, played right away.

JC: Their confidence and ability to play at the high level really stands out and just the thought of me at first coming off the bench, you really can't be mad at the freshmen who can have so much ability, you really can't be mad or disappointed that you're not playing in the beginning. You've just got to work your way in.

DOS: And then Wesley got injured just before the first Big East game. You had to adjust your role.

JC: It wasn't a big adjustment. The game before we played Louisville and I started and we played four guards the game before Wes got hurt, and I adjusted playing as a starter again because I started all through my career, I was just in and out, so I know how to play that role. It was as big adjustment as it was to everyone else to play with me and know how I play.

DOS: Bill Cords, the Athletic Director, mentioned at the Year End Awards Dinner...that the one game he will always remember you playing was at St. Louis (2005). You had a severe case of the flu... Diener was out that game and it was kind of a train wreck game. Nobody could hit anything and you were throwing up in a trash can during several timeouts.

JC: That was a tough game for a lot of people. There were three or four of us who were sick that day and we just had to fight through it. I remember the game before that we lost to Louisville by like 50 some points, or 40 some points, and no one picked us to win this game, and we came in and stepped up and had a huge game, I finished with 16 points. I had the winning three pointer. We just gave it our all that game.

DOS: I know Fitzgerald played some point guard this year. I asked him, "Was it frustrating for you to watch it last year knowing that Joe is playing out of position? He is doing it for the team. You could do better as a more natural PG." He said, "Yes, but I really respected Joe for what he went through and what he sacrificed for the team."

JC: Last year['04-05] helped me a lot for this year. Last year I had 32 assists and 56 turnovers, but this year I only had 19 turnovers and 52 assists, so I had a 2.5 assist to turnover ratio and it was the best on the team. Just going through that stage really helped me out for this year. I know my options on the court, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

DOS: A couple of weeks ago I went back and found an old video tape of the Holy Cross game was back and forth, and I still maintain that the biggest shot of the entire tournament was your three pointer in the second half. It was like a 500-pound weight came off of Dwyane Wade and Robert Jackson. The tournament pressure was so much for them. What you remember about that game?

JC: I remember that game. In New York, they had us predicted to lose that game to HC. I remember reading in the paper that day and Coach saying that too. DWade was struggling a little bit, Rob was in foul trouble, but Travis, he had a great game, and I think he had something like 29 points, but he was running out of gas a little and we needed a step-up and then a couple threes were coming my way and Coach from the bench was telling me to shoot it. I could hear him in the back of my head, and I just shot the ball and it was going in at the time. That's what I remember.

DOS: Playing with DWade, I mean every time you turn on Sports Center, there is some amazing highlight. Looking back on it, what are you going to tell people about playing with Dwayne Wade?

JC: I'll tell them a lot because I knew him in high school. I played against him in high school and I knew how much of a competitor he was and that's one of the reasons I came here was to follow along in the footsteps of a guy from Chicago who came into Marquette. There is a long tradition of guys coming here now from the south side of Chicago to Marquette. I learned a lot from how he defends and how he can read the floor at every single point, and that's what I take from him.

DOS: What is the one move, or the two moves, that you remember him making even in practice, is there one that sticks out?

JC: I can't say one. It's just that every time he gets it on a wing, he always looks at the post man on the opposite block to see if he is there. If he's not there, he is going to refuse the screen and go base line and dunk the ball. That's a little thing I caught from him just by watching him and I provided that into my own game.

DOS: Congratulations again on a great career at MU.

JC: Thank you.

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