Guard play has been considered Marquette’s advantage over Big East Foes in recent years, but the backcourt will have a little shake-up. Long-range bomber Andrew Rowsey, who averaged just over 20 points per game and shot over 40 percent from three point range, graduated this past spring. This leaves a gaping hole for one of the starting guard positions alongside junior Markus Howard, who returns after a Second Team All Big East Selection last year. Let’s dig a little deeper into the Guard Position for the Golden Eagles:
Markus Howard Junior (5’11”): Howard is going to be the rock in the Golden Eagles backcourt, which is no surprise to many fans. Last year at Providence in the Dunkin Donuts Center, Howard dropped a school record 52 points in an improbable comeback win against the Friars. He comes off a season where he averaged 20.4 points per game and played almost 32 minutes a game. Howard’s advantages come from behind the arc (40.4%) and from the charity stripe (93.8%). Such great offensive numbers mask Howard’s ongoing defensive problems, where he regressed slightly from 0.5 to 0.4 defensive win shares from his freshman to sophomore year. Still, Howard was inside the top 15 players in the Big East in Player Efficiency Rating with a whopping 22.8. I look forward to seeing Howard be the true team leader this season, as he has been advertised as being very intelligent and participates as a member of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Oversight committee. For Marquette to be successful, they will need veterans like Howard, Hauser, and Chartouny to hold the young guns accountable on the defensive end. Howard will need to step it up immediately, as he faces talented guards in Brad Davison, Quentin Grimes, and Barry Brown in the non-conference schedule.
Joseph Chartouny Senior (6’3”): Chartouny is a new name to Golden Eagles fans, and is a graduate transfer from Fordham. From my estimation, Chartouny should step into Andrew Rowsey’s role as the other lead guard, but I project him to run the offense as the point guard. I expect Chartouny to really bolster the defense in the starting line up, but he is not near the level of shooter of Rowsey. Chartouny finished last year with two defensive win shares, which ranked second in the Atlantic 10 conference. Chartouny is known for having active hands in passing lanes, which led to him leading the A-10 in steals. This was relatively unseen for the Golden Eagles last year. In comparison, Sam Hauser led Marquette with one steal per game. Chartouny averaged an impressive 3.7 steals per game, which actually fell short of his sophomore campaign, where he averaged 3.9 steals per game. However, Chartouny only shot 37 percent from the field and 28 percent from beyond the 3-point line. These poor percentages may be due to Chartouny’s high usage percentage (22.8) on a dismal Fordham team that won just 9 games last winter. Luckily, Chartouny does have some offensive value with a knack for dishing out assists. He ranked in the top 10 in the A-10 with just under 5 dimes per game. I think it will take Chartouny a little time to adjust to playing under the spotlight at Marquette coming from the Atlantic 10, but I fully expect him to start and play a major role. Hopefully he knows his role as a pass first point guard, and can shoot the ball at a much better percentage knowing he doesn’t have to carry the scoring load.
Greg Elliott Sophomore (6’3”): Elliott enjoyed a successful Freshman season last year, where he saw his minutes fluctuate frequently. Elliott played six minutes December 30th at home against Georgetown followed by 34 minutes January 3rd at Providence. Elliott made the best out of often limited minutes, ranking second on the team with 0.5 defensive win shares. Personally, what I loved about Elliott was the intensity he brought to the floor night in and night out. Elliott doubled as an aggressive defender and an efficient shooter. He gradually became more effective throughout the year, shooting a nice 53.8% in conference play, which led Marquette guards. Elliott will need to improve his outside shooting this year to play serious minutes. He did shoot 36.7% from beyond the arc, but failed to look comfortable shooting the ball from there with only 0.9 attempts per game. This definitely had something to do with Rowsey and Howard routinely getting trigger happy and racking up usage percentages upwards of 30%, but Elliott at times did look afraid to shoot the ball from deep. I expect Elliott to make a jump this year and prove to Coach Wojo that he is worthy to fill Chartouny’s role as the starter a year from now.
Cam Marotta Senior (5’10”), Mike Lelito Sophomore (6’5”), Buddy Jaffee Freshman (6’3”): Walk-on’s have not played major minutes in the Marquette programs in either the Buzz Williams or Steve Wojciechowski eras. Unfortunately this is not Madison, where they churn out walk-on contributions. Marotta is the son of former Marquette starter Marc Marotta. He was awarded Marquette’s Dwayne Wade Legacy of Leadership award last year. Mike Lelito is a sophomore who actually won his spot on the team in a open tryout last year. Buddy Jaffee is a newcomer from Indiana. He played grassroots for Indiana Elite and averaged almost 13 points per game as a senior. Per usual, we can expect some bench fireworks from these guys. Hopefully they play a big role keeping the guys together and motivated in the dog days of winter.
Similarly to the last few years, guard play will probably be Marquette’s strong suit this season. Howard and Chartouny should eat up most of the minutes as starters, but Elliott will be a very serviceable backup. Lastly, expect Sacar Anim to play solid minutes at the shooting guard position, but he is profiled later in my wing preview.