Two years ago, Marquette had one of the best basketball teams in college basketball, one of only five programs to ever win 20 straight games.
But the team lost its way in the Big East Conference tournament and was eliminated from the NCAA tournament.
The team’s season was over, and the coaching search for a new coach was beginning.
But a year later, with a new head coach and a new front office, the team’s basketball fortunes have never been the same.
One of the biggest challenges Marquette has had is maintaining its talent.
With five players from the 2015-16 class and seven from the 2016-17 class, the school has had to replace four players since its last NCAA tournament appearance in 2018.
The team also has lost seven of its past eight games.
Marquette lost its best players, including All-Big East performer and 2015 Big East Player of the Year, senior guard Devonte Graham.
And while the losses were not the only ones for the program this season, they were the biggest, the most costly and the biggest test to this team.
Marquettes basketball has been in flux.
The 2016-2017 season was not without its ups and downs.
The first three games of the season were a bit of a struggle for the team.
The Wildcats lost to Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament Round of 64 and lost to Xavier in the Elite Eight, where Marquette defeated No. 4 seed Gonzaga.
After the Gonzaga game, Marquettes coach Frank Martin spoke to ESPN about the team, saying: “I think the most important thing for me was to win those games and then move on.
I just wanted to be able to have some fun and have some energy in the locker room.”
But then, after the Gonzate game, a video surfaced that showed Marquette players taking a knee in protest during the national anthem before a game against Butler.
The players, in a statement to ESPN, said the decision was not made lightly, and it was a “symbol of resistance to injustice and oppression.”
The video caused a massive backlash on social media, and many people wondered how the team could be so willing to take such a drastic stand against racial injustice.
This wasn’t just about taking a stand against racism and injustice.
It was about taking it a step further.
That’s where Marquettes new coach and head coach of basketball operations, Matt Bonner, comes in.
In the video, the players were seen protesting the national flag.
Bonner said in a recent interview that his job was to “give Marquette back its identity and its pride, its identity as a football program.”
Bonner also said that he had a lot of support from the coaching staff, especially in the backcourt, where the team was lacking depth and athleticism.
Bonning also has a strong relationship with Marquette’s fans, a large group of people who attend games, and he said he believes in what Marquettes fans want.
He believes in the people on the court and he believes that the fans are important to the program and they’re going to be rewarded for that, Bonner said.
“I’ve spent a lot more time with them than I have with the players,” Bonner told ESPN.
“I’ve had more conversations with the fans than I’ve had with the coaches.
And they want the same thing as I do.
I’ve heard that from them.
It’s just the fans.
They want it and I understand that.
So I just try to do what I can to give it back to them.
That’s why we have this thing that we do.”
After the Duke game, the Marquette fans made a public statement and called for the players to be fired.
“You guys are the reason why we’re here,” Marquette player Jaxon Tatum said, according to ESPN.
Bonners response was a positive one, but it was also a reminder of the lack of cohesion within the program.
Bonner acknowledged that the players may have been upset about the national flags, but they didn’t take the time to take a stand, and they weren’t prepared to stand up for what they believed in.
“It’s not just about the flag.
It is the players.
It [is] the staff.
And it is all of the coaches,” Bonners said.
“It is all the players.”
As part of his job, Bonners has to get Marquette out of its hole, and that is a challenge that he is determined to overcome.
Bonnen said in an interview with ESPN that his first priority is the health of the team and the health and well-being of the players, and if he can’t accomplish those goals, he’ll be back to the drawing board.
“The team is what makes us a successful basketball team,” Bonnen said.
“[But] the players are the glue that keeps it all together.”