I spoke to Brennen Leon, a senior at Marquette University. He shares some insight as to how the student body feels about the Golden Eagles team this year and of years past. He also gives his opinion on upcoming game, the rebuild of the program, their new head coach, and top five recruit, Henry Ellensen.
Chris: What were some of the expectations coming into the season? Was your campus abuzz? I know things didn’t start great, but maybe with the win over Providence the team starts to turn it around.
Brennen: Coming into the season, many of us expected that our team was going to do better than the disappointing season we had last year. We were excited about our top-5 NCAA recruiting class as well as Henry Ellenson choosing to stay local. There is always a “buzz” around the team on campus, since everybody loves Marquette basketball, win or lose. Although we started off slow with the losses to Belmont and Iowa, I think that we have turned it around nicely after beating Ben Simmons and LSU in Brooklyn, then winning that tournament. The win versus the Friars was huge, and the Big East has some stiff competition this year. I just hope Marquette can keep up with the rest of the competition, because last year we looked like hot garbage at some points of the season.
C: What was your and the rest of the student body’s reaction to getting Henry Ellenson to attend Marquette?
B: When we found out we were getting Ellenson, people were very happy. Coach Wojo is definitely doing his job in getting recruits, both locally and nationally. I hope he isn’t “one-and-done” as I think he should stay around for another year before eyeing the NBA.
C: Which player has impressed you the most? Has Ellenson lived up to the hype or do you think he is still raw and learning?
B: Besides Ellenson who is the proclaimed “Next Kevin Love” (LOL), I think Sandy Cohen has impressed me a lot. His ability to shoot the three-ball is something we need on this team. He’s also a great athlete and seems to do the right thing. Haanif Cheatham has also stepped it up for us over the past few games. However, I think that Ellenson is a very good player, but I do think that he should wait one more year before heading to The Association.
C: Do you think Coach Wojo is the guy to lead you back to the promised land? He did learn from the best in Coach K.
B: After the close loss at our home-opener to Belmont and our self-destruction at home against Iowa, Wojo has turned it around a bit and is starting to grow on me…just a little bit. He still needs to teach rebounding better especially with the height on our team, and needs to settle the young guys down and teach more technical ball. Plus we just signed him for a long extension, so he’s not going anywhere soon.
C: Marquette made an Elite 8 appearance a few years ago and has certainly entered a rebuilding phase. How has that been for you as a fan? Has it deterred your interest?
B: They made the Elite 8 during my freshman year. What a time to be alive! Controlled by Vander Blue and Davante “Automatic” Gardner, those were the days. However, Buzz Williams is a bum. My interest has been deterred a little bit. I mean it’s always good to watch a winning team, as it is much more entertaining. I have not stopped being a fan, and I try to go as many games as I can since I get student season tickets every year. I just hope our young guys don’t get sucked into the lifeless product that is the NBA too quickly, because I want to see this program get back into the top 25. Also, at Marquette, we like to live by the following motto: “Win or lose, we still booze.”
C: Prediction for the game?
B: I think Marquette is going to lose this one on the road, but will definitely put up a fight when the Wildcats visit the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee on National Marquette Day. I’ll be there, heckling Jay Wright.
Final score for this game: 78 – 70, Villanova
But, I’m still rooting for my Warriors (yes, because they should have never changed it to Golden Eagles). Ring Out Ahoya! We Are Marquette!
Stay tuned for a more in-depth preview and scouting report later today.