Marquette has a great dichotomy between great Marquette players and great players who happened to go to Marquette. You could really put put two lists together of five players who fit each category. Here’s what would hopefully be the best of both worlds.
5. Dean Meminger, 6’ 0”, Guard, 1968-71
The centerpiece of Marquette’s 1970 NIT champions was a prime product of Al McGuire’s recruiting philosophy- get the tough city player. Few came tougher than Meminger, whose leadership took the Warriors to the top ten during that championship season. He’d go back to New York when his Marquette days were over and served a key role off the bench for the second Knicks NBA championship in 1973.
4. Markus Howard, 5’ 11”, Guard, 2016-20
You will see few players who know how to put points on the board at the pace Howard did in his four years at Marquette. The “shoot first” point guard put up 2,761 points in his four seasons for the Golden Eagles hitting threes at a 43% clip in his college career. His overall impact will still need time to measure but to his credit he managed to help the Denver Nuggets to the three seed in the 2020-21 playoffs after not being drafted.
3. Maurice Lucas, 6’ 9” Forward, 1972-74
As his college coach McGuire might say “Maurice Lucas did the dirty work and thanked you for the privilege.” Lucas averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds a game in each of his two seasons at Marquette leading the team to the Sweet 16 in 1973 and the NCAA championship game in 1974. He jumped to the ABA foregoing his senior year after the 1974 Final Four and would later team up with Bill Walton in Portland to help the Trail Blaxers with the franchise’s only championship in 1977.
2. Butch Lee, 6’ 0”, Guard, 1974-78
Lee was not the best prospect McGuire recruited from New York City but he turned into the most important as the shooting guard extraordinaire would bring Marquette their only national title in 1977. Lee’s 1735 points have to be put in context that he played in the “pre-shot clock, pre-three point shot” era. Lee did not last long in the NBA but does possess a ring for playing with Magic Johnson and the 1980 NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.
1. Dwayne Wade, 6’ 4”, Guard, 2001-03
Wade’s record speaks for itself. A late blooming basketball prospect overlooked by every major conference (his time at Marquette pre-dates their 2005 invitation to join the Big East) Wade revitalized a dormant Marquette program in his two seasons. Marquette would go 53-13 with Wade running the point winning the 2003 Conference USA regular season title but the real fun came in the NCAA tournament where back to back upsets of top five Pittsburgh and Kentucky took Tom Crean’s Golden Eagles to the Final Four. His NBA accomplishments are too numerous to document here, but if any player epitomizes the underdog spirit at Marquette it was the shortest of the Miami Heat’s “Big Three”
Honorable mention- Jerel McNeal, George Thompson, Jimmy Butler