Marquette has lost out to all but one of their 2104 recruiting class after Buzz Williams departed for Virginia Tech. Coach Wojo was able to keep Seymour's Sandy Cohen, but lost Ahmed Hill and Satchel Pierce to Virginia Tech, Marial Shayok to Virginia and most likely Malek Harris to Kansas State. It's always tough for a new head coach to keep any of the recruits from the previous staff, so this is not unexpected. In my mind Wojo has still done a terrific job since he took over. He was able to keep all returning players, which is a win in itself because of the high transfer rate nowadays. He kept Cohen, who has a chance to become a very nice player for Marquette. There are also reports Marquette is close to bringing BYU's transfer guard Matt Carlino to bring some experience to club that only has 4 upper classman.
Bringing back all 9 returning players is very important, there is a lot of talent on this team, Buzz just refused to play any of the freshman. Going into next year, Wojo will have a lot of depth in the back court with Mayo, Johnson, Duane Wilson, Dawson, and Derrick Wilson. I know we haven't seen much from Duane Wilson or Jajuan Johnson, but they were rated top players for a reason and have a really good chance of florishing in Wojo's fast pace offense. I'd look for Johnson and Duane to take advantage of their opportunities and give Marquette the best chance to win going forward.
It's tough to lose out on the recruits Buzz brought in, but Wojo was able to keep the core of this team intact and that alone, has made Wojo's offseason a successful one.
Loyalty for coaches to college basketball program seems to be a lost art in today’s game. Coaches year in and year out are rumored for job openings and only a handful seem to be content with staying in one spot. After Buzz Williams abruptly left for Virginia Tech, two weeks ago. His loyalty to Marquette gone faster than it took for him to show off his new Virginia Tech pin on national television. Marquette now needed to find someone that strongly embodied the word loyalty.
Marquette found their guy in Duke’s Associate Head Coach Steve Wojciechowski. “If you talk to people about me, I’m a very loyal guy, I have amazing loyalty to the university and Coach K and I can’t wait to have that loyalty to Marquette and this program.” Wojciechowski was a player for 4 years and an assistant at Duke University for 15 years under Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Marquette needed to find stability at their coaching position after their past two coaches left for other jobs. They needed someone they would be able to count on to continue to build up this program and would be here for a long time.
They believe they found that guy in Wojciechowski. “If My Track record is of any indication, I stayed at Duke for 15 years, I could of left a lot over the last ten, but when place feels like home for me and a place is good for my family then that’s a place I’m going to stick with and stick to.” This will be Wojciechowski’s first head coaching job, but he comes from one of the most successful programs in the country in Duke. He’s been on two National Championship teams and has worked with Coach K on Team USA’s staff from 2002 to 2012.
Marquette took a chance on the only assistant they interviewed, but with all his experience their gamble could pay off in big ways. At his introductory press conference, Wojciechowski was asked if he considered this a stepping stone job, his response seemed to erase any ideas that it was, “ My sole focus is on Marquette, I didn’t leave the job I was at, working for the guy I did, my alma mater, to go to a place I see my family at for a long time.” In today’s college basketball it’s hard to trust what comes out of a coach’s mouth, but Steve Wojciechowski said all the right things on Tuesday and if he is a loyal as he says he is Marquette should benefit for a long time.
I was really impressed with the way Wojciechowski handled himself during his press conference, and I think he has a chance to be here for a very long time. Like he said his track record shows he’s been loyal. He’s had many opportunities to leave for head coaching jobs, but he said they weren’t the right fit until Marquette. If he is so committed on making sure where he ended up was the right fit, I would think he wants to be here for the long haul. He already has a young talented team in place and if he is able to keep some of Buzz’s recruits they can immediately get back to the NCAA tournament. He has a lot of upside and could push this program to the next level. Only time will tell, but from the fire he’s shown throughout his career as a coach and a player it would be hard to bet against him.