What’s all the Buzz?

Marquette, which finished 11th in the regular season, is just one of two Big East teams to make the Sweet 16.

Buzz Williams would tell you to go ahead and cross off Marquette in your bracket, only hardly anyone has it going this far.

Marquette is a program built on castoffs and players often overlooked. In fact, five players in the Golden Eagles rotation were little-recruited junior college transfers. So when one of the team’s few high-profile recruits is caught daydreaming Friday at the Prudential Center, most coaches would be inclined to baby them. But just one day before his team takes on the juggernaut that is North Carolina in the Sweet 16, Williams is literally in the face of point guard Junior Cadougan.

For a moment, there is a look of disbelief on the face of the former top-100 recruit, who mouths a “But really coach?” as Williams continues his in-your-grill rant so close that Cadougan can count the beads of sweat dripping off Buzz’s buzzed dome. A stare-down between player and coach seems inevitable until the frosh drops his shoulders and runs the play again. Successful this time around, Cadougan looks back at his coach for approval. He is greeted only by a glassy stare.

“My title has changed, where I’ve lived has changed. Who I am hasn’t changed,” Williams said. “I don’t want what this stage is about to change me.” 

And who Buzz Williams is, in fact, is quite the character.

As evidenced by his midcourt reaming of Cadougan in front of several thousand fans at Thursday’s open practice at the Prudential Center, Williams is a fiery guy. He’s passionate on the court and the term “high-energy level” is forever linked with his name. But for players like Darius Johnson-Odom, who went to prep school then junior college as a lightly recruited guard before ending up at Marquette, the intensity of their scrappy, tenacious coach mirrors the team’s mentality.

“We follow coach Buzz and he does a great job of making sure that we are doing the right things,” Johnson-Odom said. “And when you have a coach who is in your face all the time, making sure you are doing the right things — then you are going to make sure your other teammates do the right things.”

“Right things” is a phrase Williams loves to use as the Marquette head coach liberally sprinkled the terminology into his press conference. But players like Johnson-Odom and Cadougan are in lock-step with their coach. It isn’t a point of pride for Williams that, in the Machiavellian sense, this coach is both loved and feared.

Rather for Marquette, it is the way they do business and they make no excuses about it. A chip on their collective shoulders is what makes the last Big East program selected to the tournament a dangerous team even this far into the NCAA tournament. Tonight, the Golden Eagles face a Tar Heels program that has seven players on their roster who were McDonald’s All-Americans coming out of high school.

Marquette doesn’t have one, and Williams is OK with that. He never had an All-American 18 years ago at Navarro College and that didn’t stop him either.

“Of course, it is a feel-good story while you started at a place that I am really not sure how to pronounce, and you are not supposed to be in the NCAA tournament and here you are,” Williams said. “But the real story is how hard it is to live trying to do it right, and not using shifting – not trying to become a politician, not trying to use this platform to be something or be somebody that I am not.

“I just want to be who I am.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…