"This class centered on building our frontline and adding ball handling and scoring in the backcourt through the addition of Scott," said Crean. "We are pleased with all four signees. We feel they've all been raised the right way and come from excellent programs."
Mbakwe, a 6-7, 225, power forward, plays at St. Bernard's in St. Paul, Minn. As a junior last season at Henry Sibley High School, Mbakwe averaged 24.0 points and 12.0 rebounds and was a first team All-Metro selection. He is regarded as the top class of 2007 prospect in the state of Minnesota and ranked no. 89 overall by Clark Francis of Hoopscoop.com.
"Trevor was a focus and priority of ours the last three years and we are incredibly excited to have him join the program," said Crean. "He has great strength, speed and quickness, but most importantly loves the game of basketball. He is improving at a great rate, is a fine young man who we feel will be an outstanding contributor to this program. His strengths are his ability to rebound, particularly out of his area, score around the basket and his quickness at both ends of the floor."
Christopherson, a 6-3, 180, guard, plays at Thomas Aquinas High School in LaCrosse, Wis. He averaged 20.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in leading his team to a 20-3 record last season and twice has been named an Associated Press All-State selection. Christopherson is ranked no. 137 overall by Van Coleman of Hoopmasters.com.
"Scott was the earliest commitment in our time at Marquette," said Crean. "Scott will be a factor because he is smart, tough and athletic, and really shoots the ball at a high level. We look forward to him contributing from both guard spots. Along with his outstanding ability, he really loves Marquette."
Saunders, a 6-8, 205, forward, plays at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass. Last season as a senior at Crosby High School in Waterbury, Conn., Saunders averaged 22.5 points, 15.8 rebounds and eight blocked shots in helping Crosby to 23 victories and their third straight league title. Hoopscoop.com considers Saunders one of the top 25 fifth year players in the country and Tom Konchalski of the HSBI Report calls him a four-star addition.
"Damian has the potential to grow and develop into a very fine player at Marquette," said Crean. "He has done nothing but improve since last year. Athletically he fills a need that we have and has the ability to cover a lot of ground, block shots and handle the ball. He'll become a fine scorer."
Hazel, a 6-7, 215, forward, plays at Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J. Hazel is the no. 56 fifth year prospect in the class of 2007 according to Francis. Hazel continues a long tradition of division I players from Blair Academy, most notably Charlie Villanueva of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Chicago Bulls' Luol Deng.
"Patrick is someone we did not know a long time, but became really excited about once we had a chance to see him play," said Crean. "As with all of our recruits he's been extremely well coached - by Joe Mantegna at Blair Academy – who's had great success with basketball recruits. Patrick is a lot like Lou Roe, who played for John Calipari at Massachusetts; he's a relentless rebounder, extremely quick, tenacious and runs the court really well."