Gotsch brings energy, fundamentals off Marquette bench
MICHIGAN CITY — When the Marquette boys basketball team opens its season on Saturday night at Gary West Side, there will be six returning players from last year’s Class 2A regional champs.
Five of them will be introduced as starters, but the one who won’t start the game on the floor might be the most important to the Blazers’ success during this transition season.
And he’s going to Notre Dame.
Yes, THAT Notre Dame about 35 miles to the east of Michigan City.
Marquette senior Tommy Gotsch won’t be playing basketball for Mike Brey and the Fighting Irish, though he could try to walk-on in his other favorite sport, baseball. More importantly, Gotsch will be going there because of his brain.
“He’s got the top grade-point-average on the team,” Blazers’ first-year head coach Fred Mooney said.
Also, his dad, Tommy Gotsch Sr., works in the registrar’s office at Notre Dame. But the 4.3 GPA gets him into the ND business school anyway.
And Gotsch should succeed if he carries over his best traits from basketball.
“We could start him at two or three different spots for us, but it’s more important who finishes a game than who starts it, and that’s how he looks at it,” Mooney said. “His motor runs; he might have the best motor on the team. He’s our Energizer Bunny.
“And he doesn’t turn the ball over. That’s important off the bench on late in games. You know what you’re getting from Tommy all the time. I’ll hang my hat on him.”
Mooney added that Gotsch is “the complete package,” which seems like hyperbole. But deeper analysis may prove him right.
Sure, at just 6-foot he’s not going to be a post presence. But he can play defense, takes care of the ball and can shoot the three. None of those aspects of the game are his favorite.
“I love moving the ball and getting teammates involved and getting assists,” he said. “It’s great to see ball movement in our offense.”
Gotsch’s three-point shooting skill is also important in Mooney’s offensive plan for the Blazers.
“With Colin (Kenney) and Buddy (Jaffee) … everyone shooting the three well, I need to follow their lead,” he said.
It’s not much different than last year’s offense under Donovan Garletts, who stepped down as coach to become the assistant superintendent in Greencastle. Mooney is following the recent trend in college and professional basketball with 3-pointers becoming more important.
“When you don’t have any dominant big guys, you play with what you got,” Mooney said. “We want teams to guard us so we can read and react.”
The Blazers were 19-10 last season, losing a heartbreaker at semistate, 77-75 in overtime, to eventual Class 2A state champion Frankton.
Leading the probable starting lineup will be Kenney, who is the reigning News-Dispatch Player of the Year after averaging 17.2 points and 4.8 assists per game last year. Buddy Jaffee, who is headed to Marquette University next fall, averaged 9.7 points and 3.3 assists per game, while Joe Andershock moves into the starting lineup after posting 8.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
Jalen Russell (2.7 ppg) and Chandler Goodwin (7.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg) round out the starting five for the now-independent team after dropping out of the Greater South Shore Conference.
Reach sports editor Steve T. Gorches at firstname.lastname@example.org or (219) 214-4206. Follow him on Twitter @SteveTGorches
MARQUETTE BOYS BASKETBALL ROSTER
MARQUETTE BOYS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Nov. 25 — at Gary West Side, 7 pm
Dec. 2 — at South Bend St. Joseph, 6 pm
Dec. 6 — at La Lumiere, 7 pm
Dec. 8 — Lighthouse CPA, 7 pm
Dec. 9 — Gary 21st Century, 7 pm
Dec. 22-23 — Bloomington South Tournament
Dec. 28-29 — Lebanon Tournament
Jan. 6 — at Andrean, 7 pm
Jan. 9 — at Washington Twp., 7 pm
Jan. 13 — Kankakee McNamara, 4:30 pm
Jan. 18 — at Mishawaka Marian, 6:30 pm
Jan. 23 — Crete-Monee (Ill.), 6:30 pm
Jan. 24 — at Illiana Christian (Ill.), 7:30 pm
Jan. 27 — Winamac, 3:30 pm
Feb. 6 — at Culver Academy, 7 pm
Feb. 8 — Hammond Noll, 7 pm
Feb. 20 — Lake Central, 7 pm
Feb. 23 — at Goshen, 7:15 pm