Men's Basketball
Marquette's Recruiting Class Complete With Four Additions

Buzz Williams and his staff have assembled another highly-regarded recruiting class.

Buzz Williams and his staff have assembled another highly-regarded recruiting class.

Nov. 9, 2011

Press Conference Podcast (.mp3)

The Marquette University men’s basketball coaching staff, which has collected numerous nationally ranked recruiting classes in recent years, announced another quality class Wednesday as the official signing period opened.

Joining the Golden Eagles in 2012-13 are Aaron Durley (Houston, TX/Ft. Bend Bush HS), Jamal Ferguson (Norfolk, VA/Maury HS), Steve Taylor (Chicago, IL/Simeon HS) and T.J. Taylor (Denison, TX/Paris JC).


Aaron Durley

Durley, a 6-10, 270-pounder, will arrive on campus this summer and have four years of eligibility with the Golden Eagles.

“I have great admiration for Ronnie Courtney, Aaron’s coach, as a person and as a professional,” Williams said. “Coach Courtney has won everywhere he has coached and his opinions on Chris (Otule) turned out to be exactly right, so I have no reason to doubt him on Aaron. Determining the future of big guys is at times, very dicey, but our entire staff has seen Aaron multiple times and similar to where Chris was at this time in his development, I believe Aaron is on that same trajectory.”

The 2011-12 campaign will mark Durley’s first with the varsity squad at Ft. Bend Bush High School in Texas. He missed the 2010-11 season because of an achilles injury after playing at Houston’s St. Thomas Catholic High School as a sophomore. That year he was named second team all-state by the state’s private and parochial schools association.

Durley most recently competed on the AAU circuit with the Houston Hoopstars. He is ranked 58th nationally at his position by ESPN.com.

Current Marquette center Chris Otule also prepped at Ft. Bend Bush High School under head coach Ronnie Courtney.

“Aaron comes from a beautiful family and because of who he is as a person, he fits perfectly into our culture,” Williams said. “His best days are ahead of him and our daily regimen will be exactly what Aaron needs in order to reach his full potential. Having Chris here to be his chaperone next year will be an advantage Chris didn’t have, but one that will be instrumental in helping Aaron.”

While living in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, with his family while his father worked in the oil industry, Durley made multiple appearances in the Little League World Series with the team from that town. The first baseman is one of the tallest players to ever compete in the annual event.

Jamal Ferguson

Ferguson, a 6-4, 180-pounder, will arrive on campus this summer and have four years of eligibility with the Golden Eagles.

“Jamal was our first commitment in this class, and like the others, comes from a great program and a wonderful family,” Williams said. “Jamal and his mother were able to come on campus early in the process and that allowed our relationship to grow at a more rapid pace than normal. Coach Collins has been very diligent during his time here to build relationships along the East Coast and for us to have two guys (Davante Gardner) from Virginia on our roster, speaks to that commitment.”

A nationally recognized recruit under head coach Jack Baker at Maury High School in Norfolk, Va., Ferguson is ranked 22nd at his position by Scout.com, 29th by Rivals.com and 51st by ESPN.com. Rivals.com places him 137th overall amongst all players nationally.

A three-year letterwinner at Maury HS, Ferguson averaged over 19.0 points and 7.0 rebounds as a junior in 2010-11. He was named first team all-district and shared the squad’s most valuable player accolades. As a sophomore, he chipped in 17.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game and helped the Commodores to an appearance in the state quarterfinals. He was tabbed first team all-district and all-area in 2009-10.

As a freshman, Ferguson was named the squad’s newcomer of the year and second team all-district.

Ferguson competes on the AAU circuit with the highly successful Boo Williams program.

“Jamal played for Boo Williams and history may never be able to replicate all that Boo has done to help players throughout his career,” Williams said. “Jamal’s versatility is like the guys we have won with in the past. He doesn’t have a true position, but his length and athleticism allow him to impact the game on both ends.”

Steve Taylor

Taylor, a 6-7, 210-pounder, will arrive on campus this summer and have four years of eligibility with the Golden Eagles.

“Building relationships in the Midwest, specifically in Chicago, has been vital to our growth as a program since we have been here,” Williams said. “Our entire staff has been superb in those efforts and coach Benford has been our leader in the city of Chicago. I am really excited about Steve. I absolutely love his spirit and have liked him as a person, from the very first time I met him and his parents.”

A nationally recognized recruit under head coach Robert Smith at Chicago’s Simeon High School, Taylor is ranked 56th overall by Scout.com and 108th by Rivals.com. He is ranked 11th and 20th, respectively, at his position by each of those outlets. ESPN.com places him 18th amongst all small forwards in the nation and 64th in the ESPNU 100.

Taylor averaged 9.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game last season at Simeon HS, helping the program to its second-straight state championship and a 30-2 overall record. He netted 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Wolverines’ supersectional victory over Farragut.

Taylor was named All-State Special Mention by the Chicago Tribune as a junior.

“Where guys come from means a great deal to me,” Williams said. “Not their locale, but their stock. There is not a better example of that than Steve. He is who you want your son to grow up to be as a person and he has been an elite level winner at every stop along the way as a player. Simeon High School is currently the No. 1 high school team in the country and will be going for their third consecutive state title this year.

“Every summer, Steve has competed against the best in every high profile tournament there is as a member of the Mac Irvin Fire,” Williams added. “I believe Steve has a very high ceiling and will grow to be better than any of us even think possible.”

Taylor suits up on the AAU circuit with the Mac Irvin Fire.

T.J. Taylor

Taylor, a 6-3, 220-pounder, will arrive on campus this summer and have three years of eligibility with the Golden Eagles.

“We are thankful to finally be able to announce T.J.’s signing,” Williams said. “Coach Benford and I have been recruiting him since we were both hired at MU. This is my 18th year in college coaching and T.J. is the first player I have ever signed from the county where I grew up. I knew his family prior to being employed here and I absolutely adore them. We all have built a great relationship, and have endured many turns in the road to get to this day.”

The Denison, Texas, native signed with Oklahoma out of high school and spent the first semester of the 2010-11 campaign with the Sooners, but did not see any game action after missing time with a concussion. Taylor is currently in his first season at Paris Junior College in Texas.

A three-time Texas Association of Basketball Coaches all-state selection, Taylor concluded his career as the all-time scoring leader at Denison High School with 2,630 points. He was ranked No. 78 nationally by ESPN and No. 104 by Rivals.com.

Taylor averaged 20.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists as a senior in 2009-10, helping the Yellow Jackets to a 16-win season. He was named the district’s co-offensive player of the year and also claimed the same award as a sophomore and junior. As a junior, he averaged 27.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per outing and led Denison to a 21-11 record and an appearance in the state tournament area final.

Taylor finished his four-year varsity career (112 games) with averages of 23.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists per contest under the direction of Jody Bass (senior year) and Scott Curran.

“History has proven that the guys we have signed with three years of eligibility remaining have been really good for us and I have great belief that T.J. will be next in that line,” Williams said. “Similar to the guys in the past we have signed with three years left, TJ fits into what we do with our perimeter players. He is a switchable and has the versatility we rely on from those guys on both ends of the floor.”


 

 

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