After scoring only six points in each of Marquette‘s first two games of the season, junior guard Vander Blue has appeared to have found his rhythm.
After scoring 21 points in a heartbreaking defeat against Butler in the opening round of the Maui Invitational, Blue followed that up by adding 18 in the Golden Eagles’ victory over Mississippi State on Tuesday.
“We had to move on,” Blue said following the team’s victory. “Everybody responded today to show what we’re really about.”
Given the losses of Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder from last year’s squad and the ineligibility of sophomore guard Todd Mayo, head coach Buzz Williams face the task of replacing 40+ points per game from a season ago this year.
With that being said, Blue’s production and back court ability alongside Junior Cadougan is crucial.
Under Williams, Marquette has continuously had the feel of a tough and gritty team, despite the lack of so-called “superstars.” Like their coach, the hard-nosed Golden Eagles continue to find success year-in and year-out, so despite the losses why would 2013 be any different?
Well, it could all hinge of Blue’s ability to emerge as this group’s top offensive threat.
Through the team’s first two games in Maui, Blue is shooting over 50% from the field, converting on 15-of-28 shots. In addition, he is a cool 5-for-8 from beyond the arc, a number that suggests that Blue is choosing his shots wisely.
“I’m just playing with a free mind and just playing with teammates,” Blue added. “So I feel like if I’m making those shots, our team is a much better team.
We will see over time how much of an offensive threat Blue can become this season for the Golden Eagles, as his past two games have seen a huge spike in comparison to his 12 total points in Marquette’s opening pair of games.
Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS