Marquette guard Duane Wilson’s decision to redshirt is a smart choice for all sides

The salvation of Marquette's struggling backcourt won't be the debut of heralded freshman guard Duane Wilson.

That rather far-fetched scenario ceased to be a possibility Friday when Marquette announced Wilson will take a medical redshirt this season and will not play for the Golden Eagles until next year. Wilson recently returned to practice in a limited capacity but has missed every game this season after suffering a stress fracture in his left leg in September.

Though Wilson's ability to create off the dribble surely could have helped Marquette this season, the decision to redshirt appears to be a wise choice both for his future and for the program's.

Had Wilson attempted to return for Big East play after missing 13 non-conference games, it's unlikely he would have been able to make the impact many envisioned he would before the season. He reportedly was still only practicing no more than 20 minutes per day, suggesting that he not only isn't fully healthy yet but also wouldn't be in good enough shape to play for long stretches even if he were.

Rather than rushing back to play scant minutes off the bench for a team experiencing a rare transition season, Wilson instead decided not to burn a year of eligibility. The former top 100 recruit will have a full four seasons left at Marquette should he choose to stay that long.

The downside for Marquette is Wilson won't be available to help a backcourt that has been unable to successfully complement a deep, talented frontcourt.

With Vander Blue turning pro a year earlier than expected and Wilson out with a stress fracture, Marquette has lacked perimeter scoring punch. Derrick Wilson is a solid defensive-minded point guard better suited for the backup role than a starting job and Todd Mayo remains erratic and prone to mistakes off the floor that land him in the dog house. Jake Thomas is the team's lone outside shooting threat, but he doesn't bring much else and he hasn't been hitting consistently from behind the arc either.

Perhaps Wilson could have helped in a limited capacity, but coming back more likely would have resulted in a freshman season similar to Junior Cadougan's a few years ago.

Cadougan rushed back from an ACL tear and burnt his redshirt at midseason but played only a total of 48 minutes and scored only four points. He went on to become a starter at point guard and to graduate in four years, but the Golden Eagles surely would benefit from having him as a fifth-year senior this season far more than they did him playing as a true freshman.

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