By: Nick Galle
With the abrupt conclusion of this college basketball season, Markus Howard’s career at Marquette University has to come to an end.
It was an outstanding career for the 5-foot-11 guard from Chandler, Arizona, as he finishes as the all-time leading scorer in the history of Marquette men’s basketball.
In his senior season, Howard averaged 27.8 points per game, shooting 42% from the field and 41% from beyond the arc.
Howard was undoubtedly the centerpiece of the program for a good portion of his time at Marquette. With their star player moving on to bigger and better things, where do the Golden Eagles go from here?
It would appear that the team is looking to build a young core that could propel this team to the top of the Big East sometime within the next four years.
With commitments from Dawson Garcia and Justin Lewis, two top-100 recruits, the Golden Eagles might not have to wait too long to put together a successful season.
On top of that, Marquette added transfers D.J. Carton from Ohio State and Jose Perez from Gardner-Webb, two guards who have the ability to bring some scoring to the position. Carton averaged 10.4 points in his freshman season and Perez averaged 15.2 points in his sophomore season.
While both transfers will miss the 2020-2021 season due to eligibility rules, Marquette basketball fans will get to have their first look at Dexter Akanno, who redshirted last season in order to focus on development.
Akanno is a great two-way guard and should get plenty of minutes this year with the departures of Howard and Sacar Anim. At 6-foot-4 and 200 lbs, Akanno has the ability to will his way into the paint and score with ease. If Akanno has developed strong shooting skills over the past year, Marquette’s backcourt has the potential to be extremely competitive.
With all of that being said, the most important element of this new era is team chemistry.
The Golden Eagles have a group of guys right now who have the chance to grow together, feed off each other, and learn under veterans who have been in the program for years such as Brendan Bailey, Theo John, Jamal Cain, and Greg Elliott.
Over the past couple of seasons, there seemed to be an over-reliance on Howard’s scoring at times. Howard had a usage percentage of nearly 40% in each of his last two years with Marquette.
In the next few years, team play is going to determine how good this team does, especially in Big East play. Entering next season with no prolific scorer on the roster might be a bit of a culture shock for the Golden Eagles, making team chemistry and ball movement all the more important.
Things might not click immediately, but as this team plays more games, goes through a season together, and learns each other’s tendencies, the Golden Eagles might just be flying high a couple of years down the road.
Cover photo via: The Athletic
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