- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Practice for the 2014-15 basketball season at Marquette is barely a few days old and already there is talk about next year.

Yes, this upcoming season could be challenging for new Golden Eagles coach Steve Wojciechowski - with only one player taller than 6-foot-7 - and 6-11 center Luke Fischer isn’t eligible to play until mid-December because he’s a transfer.

But at the same time Wojciechowski had his first media day at Marquette, the program received a huge lift for the future after getting a verbal commitment from elite in-state prospect Henry Ellenson, a 6-10 high school senior.

NCAA rules forbid Wojciechowski from talking about prospects until they sign a letter-of-intent, which could happen as early as Nov. 12. But it just so happens that Ellenson’s brother, Wally Ellenson, is at Marquette, too. The same guidelines don’t apply to family.

“It’s a little weird. I was wondering if you guys could figure out that you could talk to me,” said Wally Ellenson, a transfer from Minnesota who must sit out this season. He can, though, take part in practice.

And a year from now, the Ellenson brothers from Rice Lake, Wisconsin, will officially be Marquette teammates.

“There will be a little telekenesis going on,” the elder Ellenson joked. “I mean we know each other better than anyone else.”

Henry Ellenson reportedly had offers from Michigan State and Kentucky. Fischer is a transfer from Indiana. Together, they could make for a tall and formidable frontcourt next year.

This year, though, height is an issue for the Golden Eagles.

Frontcourt mainstays Davante Gardner, Jamil Wilson and Chris Otule are gone. The tallest player on the roster until Fischer becomes eligible is 6-7 forward Steve Taylor Jr.

The Golden Eagles might have trouble defending beefy frontcourts even when Fischer is finally able to play. Wojciechowski will have to get creative. Rebounding will be challenging.

“We’re going to have to do it collectively. We’re going to have to figure out ways to guard outstanding post guys collectively, and we’re going to have to figure out how to rebound as a team,” Wojciechowski said.

Marquette’s roster is heavy on guards and swingmen. Wojciechowski, a former Duke point guard, will have senior Derrick Wilson and redshirt freshman Duane Wilson available at the point. Both players, who are not related, are holdovers from former coach Buzz Williams’ roster.

“This is the most work I’ve ever put into my game,” Derrick Wilson said. “It’s been a change of scenery a little bit with the stuff we’ve been doing.”

Six-foot-2 guard Matt Carlino is a senior transfer from BYU who can play right away. Another returnee, 6-4 sophomore Deonte Burton, has an athletic, 240-pound frame seemingly built to drive fearlessly into the lane.

So far, the team has picked up defense easier than offense, which isn’t surprising to Wojciechowski. That could work out just fine given the challenge that Marquette faces in the paint.

“The other thing is some of our best post defense should be our ability to put pressure on the ball,” the coach said. “Hopefully we can disrupt the vision of the passers and the ball-handlers enough where they don’t see the guys inside who they’ll want to hit.”


Follow Genaro Armas at https://twitter.com/GArmasAP

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