Earlier than we decide up with the Leathernecks firstly of Yr 35, right here’s a recap of every part that occurred final season:
The Leathernecks began the yr attempting to win back-to-back nationwide championships in a quest for title No. 9. We returned three starters and started the yr at No. 4 within the preseason polls. We completed the common season at 30-2 and earned a No. 2 seed to the NCAA event.
We recruited for 3 scholarships and landed three gamers: No. 6 heart D.J. Foster, four-star capturing guard Ketshner Evertson, and three-star level guard Cam Kately.
Right here’s a primary take a look at our roster for Yr 35:
I’m nonetheless not over that Elite Eight loss to Florida State on the buzzer final season. It hurts as a result of we had such a terrific senior backcourt in Randolph Pompey and Scott Doornekamp who already led us to a title in Yr 33. It hurts as a result of time is working out for us to match or surpass John Picket’s document of 10 nationwide championships earlier than our sequence ends after Yr 40.
We’re nonetheless trying to find title No. 9, and we’ll must do it with what seems like a principally new workforce. Whereas we solely return two starters, we do have 4 seniors on this yr’s lineup. We start the yr at No. 12 within the polls.
Let’s meet the starters:
PG Arvydas Hardy, 88 total, redshirt sophomore: Hardy is getting into the highlight after a number of flashes of greatness as a freshman off the bench for us final season. Hardy is the second-highest rated recruit in program historical past (No. 12 total), and has a really perfect talent set for a lead guard. At 6’4, Hardy is a dynamic pull-up shooter (87 score as a three-point shooter) and likewise has A- scores as a passer and ball handler. We wish him to be our major choice on the perimeter this yr. Former No. 12 total recruit with C- potential from Mesa, AZ.
SG Rob Borchardt, 91 total, redshirt senior: Borchardt enters the beginning lineup for the primary time as a senior after a considerably underwhelming profession up up to now. I had excessive hopes for Borchardt due to his mixture of measurement (6’6), three-point capturing (85 score), and on-ball protection (A grade), however he’s hardly ever made a huge impact in event video games. Possibly he simply wanted the larger position he’s set to tackle this yr. Former No. 137 total recruit with C+ potential from Fresno, CA.
SF D.J. Stapleton, 92 total, redshirt senior: Stapleton was a query mark heading into final season as he entered the beginning lineup for the primary time, however he proved his price with a strong event run. Whereas the 6’6 wing is rated as a shaky shooter (72 three-point score), he someway made 11-of-17 makes an attempt from deep throughout our run to the Elite Eight final season. Even when that degree of capturing isn’t sustainable, Stapleton makes up for it with A scores in on-ball protection, hustle, defensive rebounding, and shut vary ending. After being a known as a ‘glue man’ for many of his profession up up to now, we want Stapleton to emerge as a senior star as somebody tied for our highest-rated participant. Former No. 91 total recruit Reno, Nevada with C+ potential.
PF Kendric Morales, 90 total, redshirt senior: Like Borchardt, Morales is coming into the beginning lineup for the primary time as a fifth-year senior. The 6’10 large man was a middle recruit coming into college, however his outdoors capturing capacity (B+ grade) made him a pure match to maneuver to the 4. His measurement needs to be a pleasant increase for our inside protection and rebounding. Morales is one other participant who hasn’t had a defining second but, nevertheless it seems like he has the talent set to hold us to large issues. Former No. 127 total recruit from Lancaster, PA with C+ potential.
C Stevie Robust, 92 total, redshirt senior: That is establishing as a season of redemption for Robust. After main the workforce in scoring as a first-time starter final yr, Robust had an amazing event run earlier than a horrific zero-point efficiency on 0-for-12 capturing within the Elite Eight loss to FSU. Lengthy-time followers of the sequence will do not forget that Deke Van additionally blew an NCAA event sport for us as a junior earlier than discovering vindication as a senior on our first ever nationwide title workforce. Let’s hope Robust can observe the identical path. Former No. 179 total recruit (and No. 15 heart) out of Hammond, IN with C+ potential.
We’re additionally going to be tremendous deep this yr. Main the bench shall be three redshirt sophomores who, together with Hardy, as soon as fashioned the No. 5 recruiting class in America. Reece Mascoll, a 6’9 and almost 250-pound small ahead, is the man we’re most enthusiastic about. There’s additionally 7-foot, 266-pound energy ahead Al Reece and 6’11 heart Felipe Hopes. Becoming a member of them within the rotation shall be two redshirt freshman capturing guards: Augustine Bruthelieus and Jerald Elliott. Bru is prone to be our backup level guard in event video games.
We’re additionally bringing in three freshmen who will all redshirt. They’re:
C D.J. Foster, No. 6 total heart: 74 total, C potential. Has grown an inch to 7’2.
SG Ketshner Evertson, No. 96 total recruit: 73 total, B potential. Has grown an inch to six’8.
PG Cam Kately, No. 114 total recruit: 72 total, B- potential. Has already grown an inch to six’5.
We’ve got 4 scholarships to supply this yr. This shall be our final recruiting class that may have the chance to remain at school for the total 5 years earlier than the sequence ends. I’m getting choked up simply eager about it.
After surveying the accessible choices, we determined to supply the next gamers:
6’10 heart Brody Munoz out of Nashville: No. 169 total participant and No. 6 heart.
6’7 capturing guard Bernie Doyle out of Detroit: No. 36 total participant and No. 16 at his place.
6’3 level guard Shane Duany out of Chicago: No. 57 total participant and No. 15 at his place.
6’10 energy ahead Oscar Fray out of Lynn, MA: No. 118 total participant and No. 17 at his place.
It additionally simply dawned on me that we’re going to don’t have any seniors — and by extension, no accessible scholarships — subsequent season. We actually have to win title No. 9 this yr. At No. 12 within the preseason polls, we should always have an opportunity to do it. Let’s get it.
How did the non-conference slate go?
We began off 3-0 together with a win over No. 6 Indiana to start the season. Issues acquired dangerous from there: we instantly dropped three straight, with a two-point loss to Rutgers, a four-point loss to Auburn, and a seven-point loss to Syracuse that dropped us out of the polls.
We rebounded by successful a event rematch over Florida State, 87-74. We adopted that up with a win over Illinois and a loss to No. 15 Michigan State. We ended the non-conference season at 6-4 total.
Can we go undefeated within the Summit League as soon as once more?
Sure we are able to. We go 18-0 within the common season after which win three extra video games within the convention event — together with a decent seven-point win over UMKC within the championship sport — to earn our computerized bid to the massive dance.
We’re going to be coming into the NCAA event at 27-4 on the yr. I’ve completely no concept what seed we’ll get. Earlier than we get to Choice Sunday, let’s try the top of season stats:
STEVIE. After averaging 18.3 factors per sport final yr, he boosted his scoring common to 21.3 as a senior to guide the workforce. I’m additionally thrilled to see Morales take such an enormous soar, going from averaging seven factors per sport final yr to 13.8 PPG this yr. We’re going to want to let the massive canine eat if we need to make a deep run in March.
Stapleton additionally put up some good all-around numbers, however solely hit 30 p.c of his threes. Borchardt didn’t rating as a lot as I anticipated however did make 40 p.c of his threes on 90 makes an attempt.
I’m additionally fairly inspired by the capturing numbers of our youthful gamers even when they didn’t put up large counting stats. Sophomore level guard Arvydas Hardy hit 48.8 p.c of his three-pointers on almost 90 makes an attempt. I can also’t keep in mind too many gamers averaging greater than six assists per sport, which Hardy achieved. It seems like he’ll have an opportunity at breaking this system’s single-season help document if we make a run to the nationwide title. Fellow sophomore Reece Mascoll hit 45.2 p.c of his threes on 42 makes an attempt, and likewise shot 54 p.c from the sector.
How did recruiting go?
We lastly landed an in-season recruit. Appears like our first shortly.
Brody Munoz is a ‘Neck. The No. 169 total prospect and No. 6 heart (facilities are all the time devalued within the recruiting rankings for no matter purpose) out of Nashville is becoming a member of this system to offer us some a lot wanted large man depth behind final yr’s heart recruit D.J. Foster. Tremendous excited for him.
In equally excellent news, we’re additionally poised to land 6’7 capturing guard Bernie Doyle (No. 36 total) and 6’10 energy ahead Oscar Fray (No. 118 total) on the primary day of the spring signing interval. The one authentic goal we missed out on was level guard Shane Duany. We’ve got as a substitute pivoted to six’7 small ahead Floyd Keller out of Dallas, rated because the No. 101 total prospect within the class. We nonetheless have some work to do on him, and have just a few backup choices on our goal record as properly.
2042 NCAA event
We’re a No. 8 seed within the NCAA event and first spherical matchup with No. 9 seed NC State. We enter as a 100 total, whereas the Wolfpack are rated as a 97 total. This isn’t going to be a simple sport to open our event run — and if we’re fortunate sufficient to win, a date with No. 1 seed Seton Corridor is looming.
Earlier than we embark on our event run, let’s try our roster:
Just a few issues soar out when this roster:
Our 4 finest gamers are all seniors. Looks as if signal.
We’ve got nice measurement inside with Stevie Robust (7-foot), Kendric Morales (6’10), Felipe Hopes (6’11), and Al Reece (7-foot).
Rattling, we’re deep! 5 gamers rated within the 90s, 9 guys rated as an 85 or above. We even have redshirt frosh capturing guard Jerald Elliott who’s rated as an 84 total and has mixture of measurement (6’6) and capturing on the wing.
For as strong as our seniors needs to be, it feels just like the sophomores must step up in an enormous method if we’re going to make a deep run. 6’4 level guard Arvydas Hardy — the second highest rated recruit in program historical past at No. 12 total — can begin to actually construct his legacy on this event. Similar goes for jumbo ahead Reece Mascoll, who’s already a 90 total. Reece and Hopes might must play important minutes, too. I liked this class coming in and may’t wait to see them do work.
This opening matchup towards NC State goes to be a method, method more durable take a look at than we hoped for as a primary spherical sport. Oh properly. As all the time, we’re watching a simulated sport towards the pc; I’m not controlling the Leathernecks.
Win, 95-86! Wow, that sport was quite a bit nearer than the ultimate rating may point out.
We had absolutely blown our 12-point halftime lead halfway via the second half. With 5 minutes remaining within the sport, we trailed by 4. We determined to roll with three sophomores in our closing lineup: Hardy at level, the senior Stapleton on the two, Mascoll on the three, Reece on the 4, Robust on the 5. They introduced us house a victory.
Robust was terrific, going off for 17 factors on 7-of-9 capturing whereas additionally including 5 shares (steals+blocks). Stapleton was additionally nice, scoring 20 and persevering with his sizzling event capturing by making 2-of-4 pictures from three. The sophomores have been additionally superior: Hardy popped off for 17 factors and 7 assists with 4-of-6 capturing from three, Mascoll was a complete monster with 17 factors, six assists, and 4 boards, and Al Reece gave us eight factors, 10 boards, and a few strong protection.
That’s the rattling blueprint. We’re rolling onward.
The win units up a spherical of 32 sport with No. 1 seed Seton Corridor
Seton Corridor enters at 31-4 on the yr. I used to be anticipating this workforce to be an entire powerhouse, however their roster — whereas stuffed with measurement, high quality guard play, and tons of seniors — isn’t tremendous loaded.
The Pirates are rated as a 96 total with 96 workforce unity score. Can’t keep in mind seeing a unity score that top earlier than. We’re a 100 total with an 87 workforce unity score.
This needs to be our greatest take a look at on the best way to the Last 4. Obtained to get this one. Let’s go!
Win! 101-98! We’re going to the Candy 16.
Sheesh, this sport was neck-and-neck (no pun supposed) for all 40 minutes, just about. Corridor began to tug away with six minutes left as they took an 89-80 lead. That’s after we put in our closing lineup, this time including Mascoll over Stapleton on the three with the remainder of the starters and going with a 1-2-1-1 zone full court docket press. It paid off instantly. We have been in a position to get a pair steals that led to transition baskets as we began to chip away on the lead. Three-pointers within the remaining 5 minutes by Rob Borchardt and Mascoll minimize the deficit to at least one, however we have been nonetheless having hassle gaining the lead. A putback for an and-one by Stevie put us on high and set us up for a dramatic end-of-game sequence.
Robust took an extended two-point jumper in an obvious try to get a two-for-one within the final minute that bricked badly. Seton Corridor had the ball with two seconds separating the shot clock and sport clock. After dropping on a buzzer-beater within the event final season, we have been terrified it was going to occur once more.
Actually a tremendous sport by Stevie: 28 factors on 10-of-14 capturing, buoyed by 8-of-11 on the line. Borchardt additionally had arguably the most effective sport of his profession, going off for 15 factors on 3-of-4 capturing from three. The identical will be stated for Morales, who can us robust inside play all sport and ended with 19 factors on 8-of-12 capturing.
Mascoll kicked ass once more (17 factors) and absolutely seems like a future star. This was a disappointing sport for Hardy, who solely had 5 factors however did add 13 assists. Let’s hope he can redeem himself subsequent sport.
The win units up a Candy 16 sport with No. 4 seed Nevada
A second sport towards a workforce known as the Wolf Pack on this event? Certain, signal me up.
Nevada seems superior, rated as a 98 total and coming into at 27-5 on the yr. We aren’t catching any breaks with these event matchups.
Elite Eight spot on the road. Let’s go!
Win, 102-78! We blew them out within the second half to maintain our event run alive.
We solely had a nine-point lead with beneath 5 minutes left after we blew it open. This time we benched Borchardt in crunch-time, slid Stapleton to the 2, and put Mascoll on the three with the remainder of the starters. From that time on, we blew the doorways off of them for a simple win.
Stevie Robust is having a very unbelievable senior event run. This time: 23 factors, eight rebounds, 5 assists on 9-of-15 capturing to tempo the win. Stapleton was once more very strong (14 factors, seven rebounds) however his capturing fell off a bit with only a 2-of-9 from three. It was one other passive sport offensive for Hardy, however his three-point stroke seemed good. I actually thought he was going to be a takeover scorer for us at level guard after his freshman yr event run, however apparently that’s not going to be the case.
The saving grace has been Mascoll. What a stud. He put up 13 factors off the bench on excellent 5-of-5 capturing. Solely a sophomore and with nice positional versatility, I believe we discovered a future star.
The win units up an Elite Eight sport with No. 3 seed South Carolina
South Carolina enters as a 98 total. The Gamecocks have a reasonably stacked roster. This isn’t going to be straightforward.
We’re one win away from our third Last 4 berth within the final 4 years. The dream of championship No. 9 is getting nearer. We simply want a win right here to maintain the run alive.
Win, 96-81! We’re going to the Last 4!
This was one other shut sport late within the second half, however some large performs by our senior wings carried us to victory. Rob Borchardt had the most effective evening of his profession, scoring 20 factors on 6-of-9 capturing from three, together with a number of large hits late to maintain us in entrance. Right here’s the dagger:
D.J. Stapleton additionally helped carry us offensively (16 factors) even when he didn’t have essentially the most environment friendly evening capturing 7-of-17 from the ground.
Mascoll (18 factors) was sick once more. I additionally thought we acquired some good minutes from Augustine Bruthelieus, a pure two guard who has change into our backup level on this event run. Although Bru solely scored two factors, he did assist tempo the offense with six assists. It was one other no matter sport for Hardy, nevertheless it was good to see him splash a pair threes.
We’re within the Last 4! Let’s go!
The win units up a Last 4 sport vs. No. 1 Wisconsin
Wisconsin is stacked. They enter at 31-5 on the season and rated as a 100 total with 93 workforce unity. We’re additionally a 100 total with 87 workforce unity.
The Badgers have a 6’10 senior small ahead named Boyd Granger who is admittedly scaring me. I like Stapleton’s protection, nevertheless it’s going to be robust giving up 4 inches in that matchup. We’d want extra Mascoll than ever on this sport.
No. 3 seed Vanderbilt and No. 6 seed Oklahoma State are on the opposite facet of the bracket. We are able to’t look forward but, although. Earlier than we get the chance to play for nationwide championship No. 9, to place us one away from tying John Picket’s document, we have to win this sport.
Two wins away from a natty! Let’s go!
Loss, 95-86. Our NCAA event run ends to the Badgers within the Last 4.
Truthfully, Wisconsin was simply the higher workforce. They shot 55 p.c from the sector, we shot 45 p.c. They out-rebounded us by six. They pressured us into 16 turnovers. They’d extra factors within the paint, extra fastbreak factors, extra second probability factors. That was a loaded workforce and I absolutely anticipate them to beat whoever they play within the title sport.
We went to full court docket press out of desperation and made the sport attention-grabbing late, however we couldn’t get on high. Stevie Robust went out with a terrific efficiency — 22 factors on 10-of-16 capturing. Nice event run for him as a senior. Al Reece additionally seemed actually good (10 factors and 6 rebounds) and needs to be an enormous a part of this workforce for the following two years. Mascoll once more scored the ball properly (13 factors) and appears like a future stud. Hardy (2-of-10 capturing) and Stapleton (3-of-9) had dangerous video games after we couldn’t afford it.
It stings to come back so near a natty however fall simply brief. We’ve got 5 years left on this dynasty earlier than obligatory retirement on the finish of Yr 40. We want two nationwide titles to tie John Picket’s 10. We want three to surpass him. We’re additionally going to have zero seniors on the workforce subsequent yr.
We’ve got our work minimize out for us, however we roll forward. Onto the offseason.
Wisconsin wins the title. What a workforce.
Stapleton and Robust get drafted. Borchardt and Morales don’t. The entire underclassmen are coming again.
Our profession document now stands at 1,012-194 with eight nationwide titles. Not dangerous for a Summit League college.
I get provided a job by Texas A&M, Washington, Auburn, and others, however flip them down. We’re going all 40 in Macomb.
We lose an assistant and substitute him with somebody who has a B grade in educating.
We’ve got one recruit (heart Brody Munoz) locked up and we’re poised so as to add two extra able to commit. As we sim to the primary day of the spring signing interval, we land two new ‘Necks: Bernie Doyle and Oscar Fray each commit.
Doyle has immaculate measurement for an off-guard at 6’7, however he didn’t play AAU so we do not know how he’ll shoot it or how good he’ll be defensively. I suppose we’ll see, however I’m feeling tremendous good about touchdown a top-40 prospect like him.
Fray must also be superior. He has sufficient measurement to swing between the 4 and the 5, and his AAU stats (15.4 factors, 6.5 rebounds) have been tremendous strong. I’m additionally hoping he has the potential to show into a good shooter based mostly on his 73.6 p.c mark from the foul line.
With our final scholarship, we’ve been chasing small ahead Floyd Keller out of Dallas. He commits just a few weeks later:
Keller is ranked No. 101 total and No. 24 at his place. These AAU numbers are wild: 40 p.c three-point capturing, 9.6 rebounds per sport, virtually three steals per sport, and likewise 5.4 turnovers per sport!?! My dude lives life on the sting. Can’t wait to see what he turns into.
That is going to be our final recruiting class that has the chance to remain all 5 years, and I believe we nailed it. Two stud wings, two good bigs. It is available in because the No. 12 recruiting class in America. Hell yeah.
Now it’s time to set our schedule for subsequent yr. That is what we provide you with:
Cyclone Problem, @ Stanford, vs. Valparaiso, @ South Florida, vs. Michigan, @ Indiana, @ Colorado State, @ Wisconsin, vs. Illinois, @ Cal.
Right here’s a take a look at our roster for Yr 36. Spoiler alert: we’re presently firstly of our NCAA event run, so that is how the roster seems heading into March.
All three freshmen are going to redshirt. Right here’s the place they got here in at:
SG Bernie Doyle, No. 36 total prospect: 76 total, C potential. Has already grown an inch to six’8. I’m thrilled to see he already has a 78 score in three-point capturing.
SF Floyd Keller, No. 101 total recruit: 76 total, C+ potential. 80 score in three-point capturing.
C Brody Munoz, No. 169 total recruit: 74 total, B potential. Has already grown an inch to six’11.
PF Oscar Fray, No. 118 total recruit: 74 total, C potential.