By Zac Bellman
After taking a look at the guards earlier this winter, here’s an assessment of the centers and forwards that have seen a significant role in the 2015-16 season so far.
Sandy Cohen III
The laser-shooting sophomore has seen his role grow from role-player to reliable starter over the course of this semester. The three-point shot that was an early trademark of his coming off the bench last season has improved from 33.3% in the 2014-15 season to 38.3% through 18 games in 2015-16. Cohen has also rounded out his role on the team, doubling his average rebounds, assists, blocks, steals and points per game this season compared to his freshman debut. On a team with highly touted prospects and dynamic ball-handlers, it would be easy for Cohen to get lost in the offense, but he has created opportunities for himself and others thus far. Foul trouble has eaten away some opportunities to have an impact late in some games, but overall it has been a very encouraging year for the Seymour native. Grade: B+
The top-ten recruit has proven to be the most dynamic player to wear Marquette blue and gold in quite a few years in just his first semester. Ellenson has shown tremendous skill at the tasks expected of a forward such as rebounding (1st in the Big East with 9.7 RPG) and scoring (4th with 15.9 PPG), but perhaps the most impressive skill he has shown is starting fast breaks with his ball-handling after cleaning up the boards. The freshman has room to improve his communication on defense with front-court mate Luke Fischer, but Ellenson has all the talent to be a multi-tool star in the NBA. His ability to stretch the floor with 25% three-point shooting is talent reminiscent of Kevin Love. A top-ten lottery pick may be in his future, but for now the freshman is impressing scouts and fans alike with his versatility. Grade: A+
If Ellenson is bringing the lightning, Fischer is bringing the thunder. Blocks and dunks have been a huge part of Fischer establishing himself in the paint this season. The defense Fischer has brought since his transfer to Marquette has become more efficient, as the junior sits tied for second in the Big East in blocks while avoiding foul trouble more than in his first season in Milwaukee. The offense has been there for Fischer as well, as he leads all Big East centers in PPG with 13.6. It may be too much to ask for, but a second year of this Ellenson-Fischer duo could produce some truly spectacular basketball. However, Marquette fans will likely have to settle for a strong second semester and an outside shot at tournament play. Grade: A
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All photos courtesy of Douglas Peters.