Predicting anyone to win conference Coach of the Year four months before the college basketball season starts is bold, and predicting a first-year head coach to win the award is even bolder. Nonetheless, if there was ever an opportunity for a man making his head coaching debut to quickly gain the national recognition needed for such an honor, Steve Wojciechowski is that man.
Wojciechowski comes from a coaching pedigree that is second-to-none, as he has 15 years of experience under Mike Krzyzewski as well as experience with the USA Senior National Team. Wojciechowski is a young, fiery coach who has all the tools necessary to place Marquette back on the national radar. The 37-year-old has been successful at every job he’s had thus far, and there is no reason to believe he won’t be successful right from the start in the Big East.
In addition to Wojciechowski’s impressive resumé, he is inheriting a pretty good situation at Marquette. The Golden Eagles are a storied basketball school that boasts one of the more successful programs in college basketball, and Wojciechowski already had nine players on his roster when he arrived in Milwaukee.
Three of those players, Todd Mayo, Juan Anderson and Derrick Wilson, are seniors who have significant experience in a Marquette jersey. Wojciechowski has also added two transfers in BYU‘s Matt Carlino and Minnesota‘s Wally Ellenson. Carlino is a high energy guard who will be immediately eligible to play for the Golden Eagles, a team that initially lacked a shooting guard for the upcoming season. Ellenson is better-known for his high-jumping ability, but the Golden Eagles are heavily recruiting Ellenson’s younger brother Henry, who is a five-star in next year’s class, so he is a logical fit with the program as well.
It generally takes a few years for a new coach to turn a program in the right direction, as we have seen with former Duke assistant Chris Collins at Northwestern. So while Marquette might not be great initially, in a few years, the Golden Eagles will be regulars in the top 25 and the NCAA tournament. Wojciechowski’s team has a huge opportunity to get off to a great start on Nov. 18 against Ohio State before heading to the Orlando Classic on Nov. 27. Look for the Golden Eagles to make some noise in 2014-15 in a Big East that is wide open for the taking.