It was quite a year for Justin Lewis and Marquette. Even though it ended with a dud in the NCAA Tournament, the Golden Eagles weren’t expected to make it there. It was supposed to be a rebuilding year. A huge leap by Justin Lewis and transfer impacts led the Golden Eagles to March Madness.
Lewis led the team with averages of 16.8 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game. Lewis and Darryl Morsell provided a consistent scoring punch that Marquette needed. Now, both are moving on with Morsell graduating and Lewis electing to stay in the NBA Draft.
Justin Lewis’ decision to leave Marquette
Lewis made a huge jump this year and became a go-to player for the Golden Eagles. He had memorable performances, including hitting a game-winning 3 at Nova and scoring 33 at Seton Hall in upset wins. Lewis decided to test the draft waters following the season. During the process, Lewis measured well. Tall, long players who can shoot the ball are coveted.
Source: Marquette’s Justin Lewis will turn pro and keep his name in the 2022 draft. Lewis averaged 16.8 points and 7.9 rebounds as a sophomore, measured well at the combine at 6’7.5” with a 7’2.5” wingspan, and just turned 20 in April. Potential first-round pick.
— Jeremy Woo (@JeremyWoo) June 1, 2022
Most mock drafts have Lewis as an early second round pick. Lewis might feel more comfortable or certain he will be drafted early in round 2 at the least to forego his final years of eligibility.
The Golden Eagles are going to need players to make considerable jumps to make up for the loss in production of Lewis and Morsell.
Who could that be? Marquette has a talented 2022 recruiting class coming in, but the Golden Eagles are going to need some returning players to score if MU plans on returning to the NCAA Tournament,
Who makes up for Lewis/Morsell departures?
The Golden Eagles need role players to make a leap just as Lewis did in 2021-’22. One name to watch: Oliver Maxence-Prosper. Prosper has a very high ceiling. He showed his chops as a defender last year. In 2022-’23 he will need to ramp up the scoring. Prosper transferred to Marquette after a year at Clemson and averaged 6.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and a team-best 1.4 steals per game.
A Tyler Kolek (@KolekTyler) steal leads to an Olivier-Maxence Prosper (@olmaxpros8) alley-oop from Stevie Mitchell (@StevieM259) as @MarquetteMBB defeats Georgetown (@GeorgetownHoops) 92-64 on January 7, 2022 #mubb pic.twitter.com/nDepzmiyEr
— Marquette Overload (@MUOverload) January 8, 2022
Prosper did score a team-high 16 points in Marquette’s season-ending loss to North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament. MU hopes it’s a springboard for the talented sophomore.
•Nique Clifford, Colorado
•Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Marquette
•Noah Carter, Missouri
•Dylan Addae-Wusu, St. John’s
•Koby Brea, Dayton
•Colby Rogers, Wichita St.
•Simas Lukosius, Butler
•Zach Hicks, Temple
•Zhuric Phelps, SMU
•Brandon Angel, Stanford https://t.co/qJnnJY4e0q
— Evan Wheeler (@Evzsz) May 29, 2022
A couple of other names to watch: Kam Jones and David Joplin. Both were true freshman last year and Jones showed his scoring ability. Jones can shoot it and showed it before tiring as the season wore on. Jones finished third on the team in scoring a season ago, averaging 7.4 points and shooting 39 percent from 3.
After five straight games in single digits, Jones scored 19 points vs. Georgetown (in just 17 minutes) and 18 points vs. Creighton in consecutive games (Feb. 16, Feb. 20). But Jones then finished the season just scoring 19 points over the final five games. Marquette will need consistency from him next year.
Joplin wasn’t ready defensively this year, but he can shoot the ball and is 6-7. Joplin only shot 29 percent from 3-point range, but averaged under seven minutes per game. Next season Joplin will be looked at to help make up for the scoring departure of Lewis and Morsell.
Early prediction on Marquette's 22-23 starting five:
Tyler Kolek, Kam Jones, David Joplin, Olivier Maxence-Prosper, Oso Ighodaro https://t.co/iWoRBkHIxP
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 1, 2022
Interesting to watch
It will be interesting to see who ultimately steps up for Marquette next year. Could someone from the 2022 recruiting class come out of nowhere? Sure. However, O-Max, Jones and even Joplin are going to be looked at to be key contributors offensively if Marquette is going to return to the NCAA Tournament.
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