Marquette looking forward to life after Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom in 2013
With Marquette’s 2012 season now over following a 68-58 loss to Florida this weekend, it is time for Golden Eagle fans to look towards what could be a bright future. This year’s team, which went 27-9 and finished second in the BIG EAST, loses only two seniors.
Unfortunately, those two seniors are Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder and All-Big East first-teamer Darius Johnson-Odom.
While losing your two best players is never a good thing, there is still a lot to look forward to going into next year for Marquette. Vander Blue will return with another year of experience at the point while Jamil Wilson, Chris Otule, Davante Gardner, and Todd Mayo will all also be back.
Buzz Williams has also netted a few top-quality recruits heading into next season in Simeon forward Steve Taylor and former-Oklahoma commit T.J. Taylor. These two will provide an instant impact as they are both comparable to the players they will be replacing.
Steve Taylor is a live bodied small/power forward who gets after it on the boards and would have been the best player on any other high school team in the country. He has been Jabari Parker’s sidekick for four years and will adjust to the college game perfectly.
Rebounding always transfers well from level-to-level and Taylor will likely slide into Crowder’s role very well. He won’t be Jae Crowder next year, but he could be down the road.
T.J. Taylor is a physical guard who, at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, gets whatever he wants on offense. He originally committed to Oklahoma but ended up spending last season at Paris Junior College in Texas where he was named NJCAA Region 14 Player of the Year.
He will have three years of eligibility left and will follow in the footsteps of a former junior college star in Crowder while filling the shoes of Johnson-Odom on the court.
This season was a stepping stone for Marquette as they now know they can bring in talented players year after year and compete in the Big East and they have a coach in Williams who is committed to the program.