By Emmett Prosser Special to Published Oct 16, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Junior guard Dwight Buycks is majoring in communications at Marquette. After his first interview session of the season Wednesday, he's already got the public relations thing down.

He might want to add political science to his course load.

At Marquette's basketball media day, Buycks was speaking words coaches love to hear. He even wanted to talk about practice.

"My main thing is defense," said Buycks. "Defense is going to be what sets the tone to get us wins."

Buycks earned All-America honors last season at the shooting guard spot at Indian Hills Junior College, but he's ready to sacrifice some of his offense to stay on the floor, where he can display his court vision and ability to play multiple positions, either.

"With one point guard down, I have no problem slowing down the scoring role," he said. "I feel I can help contribute at the point guard spot also."

Buycks doesn't seem to be too concerned about the fact that when the Golden Eagles begin to practice Friday night, they will count on six newcomers to help replace four starters... including a trio players that ranked first, third and eighth on the school's all-time scoring list.

"We (the new players) are coming in with the mindset that we can be a leader, too," he said.

While 50 percent of Marquette's 2009-'10 roster hasn't played a minute of Division I hoops, confidence doesn't seem to be an issue for coach Buzz Williams' second recruiting class.

"Their versatility might turn out to be their biggest strength," Williams said. "But so much is going to be expected of them early... and everything will be new to them."

Last year, Williams had a pretty clear idea what his starting five would look like. Jerel McNeal, Dominic James and Wesley Matthews were all 1,000-point scorers prior to their senior seasons.

This season is marked by plenty of questions. Playing time is up for grabs in a rotation that includes just one returning starter -- senior Lazar Hayward.

A season-ending Achilles injury to freshman Junior Cadougan leaves the Golden Eagles with just one true point guard. Buycks might be one of three players to spell senior Maurice Acker. In addition to averaging 17.5 points per game last season, Buycks dished out nearly five assists per game.

Wisconsin high school player of the year Jeronne Maymon should see action at both forward spots. Maymon had a bit of trouble with the pace of Williams' introductory boot camp, where the workload was slightly different from his practices at Madison Memorial.

"He probably would have left the first day if he would have had a ride," Williams joked.

Though Maymon and Buycks are former all-state standouts, the current coaching staff has taken an aggressive, national approach to recruiting. Since his arrival, most of the players Williams has signed are not from the Midwest.

Combination guard Darius Johnson-Odom is another junior college All-American. He attended high school in North Carolina. Cadougan and fellow freshman Erik Williams join three other players on the Marquette roster with ties to Texas. Center Youssopha Mbao attended prep school in Simi Valley, Calif.

"I don't think you can win past spring break only recruiting the state of Wisconsin," Williams said. "If you want to win on an elite level, you have to recruit nationally."

With all the new faces in new places on the court, you can bet that pre-season workouts will be competitive. With so many minutes still in question, October and November play might get more than a little bit physical.

"People are going to be going at it," said Acker. "It's going to be real heated in practice."

Like Buycks, Acker is confident that this inexperienced bunch is ready to play.

"We've got a young team, but we have a lot of talent," he said. "I can just tell by the work ethic that these guys are going to help us win."


Emmett Prosser Special to

Emmett Prosser is a former sports producer at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online and has covered the Brewers, Bucks and Marquette basketball in many capacities for 13 years.

Prosser also signed a year's worth of 10-day contracts with the Cleveland Cavaliers' media relations department after graduating from Xavier University so he could get three-point shooting tips from NBA great Mark Price. The son of an English teacher and former basketball coach, Prosser attended Marquette high school.

In his spare time, Prosser enjoys live music and fooling people into making them believe he can play the drums. He also serves on the board of directiors for United Cerebral Palsy.