Marquette's Williams is on the run
Marquette basketball coach Buzz Williams made a promise to his young team this season.
After the players completed his intense offseason conditioning program, he’d run the distance from Milwaukee to Indianapolis, the site of the Final Four, over 40 days.
That’s 244 miles.
And Williams was late to media day because he was getting changed from a 5-mile run beforehand that brought him up to 62 miles into the journey.
“Just south of Kenosha,” Williams joked Wednesday. “We have a map that I color how many miles. Some of those guys back there don’t think I’m going to make it. But that clues you in to their softness level.”
Williams will finish on Friday, Nov. 13 before Marquette takes on Centenary in the season opener. Forward Jimmy Butler is making sure Williams reaches that goal or he won’t hear the end of it.
“I think it’s fair because we run boot camp and he just coaches us around all the time,” Butler said. “We get to tell him when he says something smart, ’Shouldn’t you be on the treadmill? Shouldn’t you be running?’”
Marquette’s “boot camp” conditioning program wasn’t easy, though.
Highly touted freshman Jeronne Maymon made it only a few minutes into the first workout before drawing Williams’ ire.
Maymon was huffing and puffing from drill to drill, and the Wisconsin AP high school player of the year wanted nothing more than to slow down and stall by getting a drink of water.
“If you were to ask Jeronne Maymon 10 minutes into his first workout as a college freshman what do you think about college? If you would’ve given him a ride back to Madison, he would’ve took it,” Williams said. “If you would’ve asked me (about him) the first 10 minutes of his first workout, I would’ve taken him to your car.”
Maymon has since grown on Williams.
and if Marquette is to have any success this season in the Big East, Williams will have to rely on the Golden Eagles’ youth.
“As a kid, he’s about as good a kid as you can find,” Williams said. “When he learns that when he’s out here he’s got to work every possession, when he figures that out completely, he’s going to be really, really good. He hasn’t figured that out, yet.”
Marquette, which made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season, lost its trio of top guards in Wesley Matthews, Dominic James and Jerel McNeal and most expectations of being an upper echelon team in the Big East Conference.
In their place are just four players who’ve logged any significant minutes, led by forwards Lazar Hayward and Butler.
Hayward averaged 16.3 points and 8.6 rebounds a game, but may not find the same gaps in the defense without last year’s guards there to keep Hayward from being double teamed. Butler’s presence grew down the stretch and over his final five games he scored 10.2 points per game and 6.6 rebounds.
Williams hasn’t put in any set plays or any of the offense yet because the team is so young and he doesn’t know what to expect, beyond wanting to build a tent this week.
“Because I anticipate that it’ll be a circus every day the first month and a half of practice,” Williams said. “Some days they’re going to be excited, some days they’re going to be tired, some days they’re going to be tired of learning, some days they’re going to be overwhelmed with it all.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”