Thoughts on the MUBB Italy Trip

The Marquette men’s basketball team just finished its tour of Italy, which included four games against European teams. Because of the level of competition, it’s impossible to draw any strong conclusions about the state of our team at this point, but I did see a few things in the games I watched that I found encouraging.

Here are my impressions from what I saw:

Traci Carter impressed me as much as anyone on the team. He’s quick and active, producing a number of steals, and he consistently pushed the ball up the court, showing good speed. Given his inexperience, I’m sure he’ll struggle at times as our starting PG early on, but I believe we have a real keeper here. I think the PG position will be in good hands for many years.

Henry Ellenson looks just as advertised, which is to say awesome. His opponents in the Big East will be larger and more athletic than what he saw in Italy, but I expect him to dominate at times even so.

Jajuan Johnson’s jump shot form is much improved. I’m not going to try to make any predictions on what kind of percentage he will shoot this season, but he isn’t going to be the ultra-weak outside shooter he was last year.

Duane Wilson is ready to be one of the top players in the Big East.

Sandy Cohen looks more confident, and I am expecting him to start during the season like he did in Italy. I think he’ll be a major contributor this season.

My main concern came from game 1 against Hauker, where we struggled up until the last seven minutes or so. The score didn’t mean much, but we continued to struggle with some of the same problems as last year, especially defensive rebounding, defensive rotations, and shooting. We cleaned those up somewhat in the second half and more so in the final three games, but it’s hard to say how much of that was our progress and how much was our opponents failing to compete.

All in all, I’m very happy with how the trip went – including no injuries – and I’m really glad that the team put so much effort into making the games and analysis available to the fans. Great work by everyone involved!

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