Recently Fran Fraschilla of ESPN.com ranked the best defensive players in all of college basketball on his insider blog. With individual defensive performances like his last second steal that led to a game winning layup against South Florida during his sophomore season, there's no surprise to Marquette fans that Jerel McNeal is on that list. In the blog Fraschilla wrote, "he's got the competitiveness, strength and athletic ability to guard four positions on the court and is the Golden Eagles' most important player." I think it's fair to say that after watching Jerel guard the opposition's best player game in and game out, he's the heart and soul of this team. But don't take my word for it, take a look at his numbers. Among BIG EAST players he ranks in the top 15 in scoring (14.9ppg), assists (3.54apg) and steals (2nd best with 2.17spg). When you look at just Marquette, he is the only player on the team to average double digit points as well as at least 3 assists (3.5) and rebounds (4.9) per game.
It's interesting to see who else Fraschilla put on his list. Other BIG EAST players include Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrien from UCONN and Jonny Flynn from Syracuse. Wisconsin Badgers Marcus Landry and Joe Krabbenhoft are also listed, but as honorable mention.
So when Marquette needs somebody to step up and hang 28 points on Notre Dame in the BIG EAST Tournament, or when Marquette goes to Pittsburgh and has to face Sam Young, I'm sure that Buzz Williams will look towards Jerel McNeal to guide the Golden Eagles to victory.
MUTV Sports Director