The 2008-09 Golden Eagles roster shares two loves – basketball and music. Marco Radenkovich tells us about the latter.

Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "Without music, life would be a mistake."

And if you ask the members of the 2008-2009 Marquette men's basketball team, they would completely agree.

There are few things more important to these players than their tunes. Starting from the minute they roll out of bed for practice or class, the music is there.

"As soon as you get up, you can hear music from all over the place in the mornings," Jerel McNeal said. "It's how we do things around here."

Newcomer Jimmy Butler echoed those statements, especially in light of the team's recent Boot Camp conditioning sessions.

"When I woke up in the morning, music got my body going," Butler said. "It just wakes me up, gets me loosened up and ready to take on the world." Dwight Burke said he can't walk to and from class without music now that he's become used to it.

So what are they listening to? The players all said Jay-Z was a definite favorite. Other favorites depended on where players called home. For instance, Texas natives Butler and Joe Fulce have a love for Houston-born rapper Chamillionare.

But the players take more than just geography into consideration when choosing the music they want to listen to.

"If it's a chill mood, I'll go to some John Legend or Usher," Lazar Hayward said. "It all just depends on the situation. I need to be in that zone, no matter what I'm doing."

While some on the players prefer quiet when doing homework, Hayward and Wes Matthews not among them, everyone is pumping their favorite tunes on game day.

"Before a game, I like to listen to music while I zone out and focus," Burke said. "I need to. It just gets me mentally prepared."

"Definitely sets the mood for whatever you want to do," Matthews said. "Going to a game, I'm listening to something to get me hyped. And it just let's me focus for the task at hand."

For the hype-up music, the Golden Eagles look to rappers like T.I., Lil Wayne and Kanye West.

"I have like a 400 song playlist," McNeal said. "I can never listen to the same thing twice. I guess I'm a music freak."

Their love for music goes beyond just listening. McNeal cannot listen to music while studying because he has a habit of singing along. Fulce called music his second life.

"It's just one of the few things that has a big effect on me," Fulce said.

Burke went a different way with his love for music.

"I always told my mom that if I wasn't doing something with basketball, I'd be involved in music," he said. "I love to sing, rap and even dance a little bit."

New to the locker room at the Al McGuire center is a loud one-speaker Bose sound system. Like other locker room amenities, it just adds to the comfort level for the players.

"It's usually whoever's first in there gets to put their iPod on," Hayward said. "It's cool because we all like some of the same stuff, and all get to hear the new stuff, too."

Music to these players is as important as breaking a 2-3 zone and playing help defense. The music helps them become who they are, and without it, who knows what they would be.

Hayward said it best.

"If music didn't exist, I wouldn't be a very happy guy."

Marco Radenkovich is a junior majoring in supply chain management.

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