MILWAUKEE- It's been a tough road for Junior Cadougan since arriving on campus in 2009. A consensus top-100 nationally ranked recruit, the point guard ruptured his right achilles tendon on September 18th of his freshman year (2009).
Instead of redshirting, Cadougan rehabbed aggressively to return in time to compete in Big East conference play. He made his debut for the Golden Eagles against Syracuse on January 23rd, contributing two rebounds and two assists in eight minutes off the bench for Buzz Williams. The appearance would mark a season-high in rebounds, assists and minutes played.
Cadougan would only net four points and tally four assists during limited minutes in twelve appearances off the bench during the injury shortened season.
"It's kind of hard when you use a year of eligibility and then you really use the summer prior to your second year to get your body completely ready to go," said Williams.
Cadougan's conditioning has been an issue in prior years. The 6'1" guard arrived in Milwaukee weighing 220 pounds, before slimming down to 205 in the fall. This season, however, Cadougan may be in his best physical shape yet.
"His minutes are relative to his cardiovascular condition," Williams said. "I think that he can play more than he's ever played."
Defense may be the biggest factor in determining whether Cadougan can give the Golden Eagles major minutes this season.
"He's got to improve defensively," said Williams. "The more that he can guard the mirror opponent, the more he will get to play."
Offensively, Cadougan gives Marquette a true pass-first point guard for the first time since Dominic James graduated in 2009.
Cadougan showed promise last season, especially towards the end of Big East competition. He registered a double-double against Providence on February 27th, and an impressive 15-point, five-assist game at West Virginia on March 9th.
"I think he's kind of put it all together," Williams said. "I tend to think that we're probably going to be best when he's a major contributor to what we're doing."
Expectations from fellow teammates are also high. Freshman point guard Derrick Wilson thinks Cadougan "…can have a fantastic year. I think he can be one of the best point guards in the Big East."
Cadougan is the only point guard on the roster with Big East experience, and the success of the offense will be largely dependent on him. That being said, Cadougan is still taking things one day at a time.
"I've just got to be consistent, and try to get better everyday."
At MU's media day, I asked Aki Collins to give us a progress report/update as to the new additions…