Marquette head coach Williams summarizes his view of junior college transfers (jucos) in one simple idea. “Most junior college players have had a one- or two-year delay in their dream. Anytime there’s a delay in someone’s dream, their hunger and their fight to accomplish that dream is heightened.”
It’s this hunger that propelled Marquette beyond all expectations last year to the Sweet 16 and it’s this same hunger that drives Williams to hold basketball boot camp for his team over fall break. While most students and players are visiting family or playing some light pickup games, Marquette’s players are training in the secluded Wisconsin wilderness with no cell phone reception, no televisions, and no high-end dining. Just hours and hours of workouts and conditioning.
It is this hard-nosed blue-collar approach to basketball that fits well with Juco transfers who have an extra hunger for D1 success after waning for years in junior college. This is how Marquette recruited Crowder, Johnson-Odom, Jimmy Butler, and Dwight Buycks who were the reason they danced until 16 last year.
Williams’ unorthodox approach to recruiting and his subsequent success have been noticed. Programs like Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and USC have upped their analysis and recruitment of Juco players recently in hopes of mirroring Marquette’s hunger and hard-nosed style of play. With Juco players now on everyone’s radar, it’ll be interesting to see if Williams can maintain Marquette’s success. No matter what happens, you know Marquette will always be playing his style of blue-collar basketball any true fan of the game always loves.