Marquette Announces 2008-09 Recruiting Class

MILWAUKEE – Marquette officially unveiled its 2008-09 recruiting class Thursday afternoon at the Al McGuire Center.

MILWAUKEE – Marquette officially unveiled its 2008-09 recruiting class Thursday afternoon at the Al McGuire Center.

The class, consisting of guards Nick Williams and Tyshawn Taylor, forward Joseph Fulce, and center Chris Otule, is one of Marquette's most diverse classes to date, with two players from Texas, one from Alabama, and one from New Jersey. Both Williams and Taylor were ranked in the top 50 at their position by national recruiting services.

"This recruiting class, in a short period of time, has proven to be one of the best we've had, said Head Coach Tom Crean. "And when you look at potential needs in this program there's no question it was a very important class for us."

Williams, a 6-7 shooting guard from LeFlore High in Mobile, Ala., is ranked as the ninth best shooting guard in the country by and the 34th best player at his position by In his junior season he averaged 17.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.

"We thing we have a bonafide Big East combination guard," said Crean. "He's a very tough minded physical presence. He's a relentless winner."

Williams, who led Leflore to 32-3 record and an Alabama Class 6A state title last season, committed to Marquette after his sophomore season and was able to resist constant pressure to renege on his commitment and sign elsewhere.

"Its one thing to be able to get a hold of a player and it's an entirely different other thing when a player gets a hold of you," said Crean. "Nick Williams did a fantastic job in that early in the process. He weathered the storms through last summer, even through this summer, of other people trying to get him out of his commitment. He stayed loyal to us."

Fulce, a 6-7 forward from Plano Texas, will play this season at Tyler (Texas) Junior College and come to Marquette with three years of eligibility. Last year at Massanutten (Va.) Military Academy he averaged 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

"It didn't take me long to realize that he's exactly the type of swing forward we could utilize in this program," said Crean. "I think the biggest thing he brings out is a fierceness on defense. I think he'll be able to help our team on the defensive end and he'll be able to guard a lot of people."

Fulce averaged 15.0 points and 9.2 rebounds in leading Plano High to a state championship his senior year there. As a junior, he averaged 18.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game.

"He's got some Shawn Marion," said Crean. "I wouldn't say he's at that kind of talent level yet but he has that type of game. He can play the three he can play the four for us. He can rebound the ball, he can block shots. He will be an excellent transition player with the way that he runs."

Taylor, a 6-3 point guard from St. Anthony's High in Hoboken, N.J., is the 18th best point guard prospect in the country according to

"It's been a quest for some time to go into the east coast and be able to sign a marquee player, said Crean. "And we were able to do that by signing Tyshawn Taylor. He's a national level guard we were very fortunate to get him."

Taylor filled up the stat sheets last season, averaging 8.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 steals and 3.0 assists per game as a junior. As a sophomore, he helped guide St. Anthony's to a 28-1 record an a spot in the state semifinals.

"I think he's going to be a guy that can score for us. We love his length, we love his tenacity. Above all else, he's a winner."

Taylor is one of six players from his high school team, led by legendary prep coach Bob Hurley, that signed Division I letters today.

Otule hails from Fort Bend Bush High in Richmond, Texas. He stands at 6-10 after a growth spurt of seven inches over an 18 month period.

"We needed to sign some size, and Chris Otule is someone that has come on the scene in a short period of time," said Crean. "My mind was made up in the first 10-15 minutes of watching him work out."

In his first high school game this season, Otule recorded a triple double with 16 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks. As a junior last year, he averaged 5.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per contest.

"His upside, his attention to detail, his ability to pick up things are really strong" said Crean.

Otule is also a strong student who plans to major in engineering at Marquette.

"When you look at big men and you can find somebody that has good hands, good athleticism, and good intelligence, you have a chance to have a really good player. And we think Chris has all three."

Crean also showered praise on his three assistant coaches, Tim Buckey, Bennie Seltzer and Buzz Williams, who were integral to the recruiting process.

"Those three did a fantastic job," said Crean. "They deserve the bulk of the credit for what's gone on with this recruiting class. It is an unbelievable feeling to have a coaching staff that you know gets it. And this one gets it."

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Jeff Wolf is a sophomore majoring in Advertising

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