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18 Marquette
Team Page | 2002-2003 Schedule | Roster

A surprising star and a ready-for-impact transfer figure to have the Golden Eagles flying high

By Seth Davis

Sports Illustrated

The do-it-all Wade led the Eagles in scoring, assists, boards and steals, but now he's ready to play harder. Manny Millan
An opposing coach's view
"Replacing Cordell Henry is their biggest concern. I know Travis Diener has played point guard his whole life, but it remains to be seen whether he can handle the pressure of running their offense for 35 minutes. ... Dwyane Wade is a Michael Finley-type guy, but he's also got some Vince Carter in him. It's hard to describe his explosiveness until you see him in person. He's got a great feel for the game and can beat you in so many ways. ... Robert Jackson is a big, strong wide-body with great hands. There aren't a lot of guys in college you have to double team in the low post, but he's one of them. ... They'll be a little slower on defense with Scott Merritt in there. He's been a good player for them, but he's been a little bit of a defensive liability. ... Steve Novak is good, but they have to get him to buy in defensively."
Last fall, few people in the college basketball world had ever heard of Dwyane Wade. The 6'5", 210-pound guard was lightly recruited out of Richards High near Chicago, and he sat out the 2000-01 season as a partial academic qualifier. But Wade ended up leading the Golden Eagles in points (17.8 per game), rebounds (6.6), assists (3.4), steals (2.5) and even blocked shots (1.1). As a result, he knows he'll be a marked man this season. "I realize you have to be careful what you wish for sometimes," says Wade, a junior. "But being in this position is something I've always wanted."

As stellar as Wade's play was last year, Marquette coach Tom Crean points out that he also led the team in turnovers (3.0 a game). Ball handling is on Crean's mind because he must replace rock-solid point guard Cordell Henry (15.2 points a game), who graduated. Travis Diener, a 6'1" sophomore, inherits Henry's position, and though Diener's forte last season was shooting -- he made 44.2% from three-point range, tops in Conference USA -- he also had a 3.1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Diener brushed up on his point guard skills this summer leading an All-Star team that toured Australia.

Unlike Wade, 6'10" senior forward Robert Jackson will not be able to sneak up on anyone after sitting out a season at Marquette. Jackson, a transfer from Mississippi State, was a commanding post presence for the Bulldogs -- his 7.3 rebounds a game in 2000-01 was ninth best in the SEC. Since coming to Milwaukee he has added a 15-foot jump shot to his arsenal while lowering his body fat from 19% to 12.5%. He should help the Eagles do a better job on the offensive glass; in their two-point loss to Tulsa in the first round of the NCAA tournament, they had just 15 second-chance points to Tulsa's 27. "We need to make sure toughness is a talent," Crean says.

Wade vows to make that a priority this season. He was struck over the summer, while watching tape of last season's games, by how lax his effort was at times. "I didn't go for half as many rebounds as I could have," he says.

A tougher and more determined Wade? Now, that's a scary thought.

Issue date: November 25, 2002