Marquette's coaching influence felt in NBA draft

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- NBA teams look for certain qualities in a potential player. Height, weight and scoring ability are just a few characteristics prospective teams observe. But teams also look for how players were coached in college and FOX6's Tim Van Vooren discovered a common thread in this year's NBA draft.

Given the success of recent Marquette men basketball players in the NBA, it is clear the instruction of the team's current head coach, Buzz Williams, and his predecessor, Tom Crean, factors into the "pro-readiness" of a Golden Eagle.

Vander Blue, a former Marquette guard, hopes to be the latest example of Williams's successful coaching and entered into this year's NBA draft to prove it. Though Blue's only played for Williams for three years, he feels he has a boost many of his fellow prospective draftees do not.

"Coach Buzz is more than a coach, he teaches life lessons," Blue said. "It's all about going hard every single day. Nothing is promised. It's all about going the hard route - we don't want anything given to us."

Crean is now the head coach of the men's basketball team at Indiana University. This year, he has worked with a couple of players who will likely be drafted by the NBA.

"It prepares me well." said Cody Zeller, a forward for Indiana University's basketball team and prospective draftee. "We were always having four-hour practices late in the season, you know, pushing us hard. But that's what I want - I want to get better and that's how you get better. And a lot of credit to him (Crean) for making me better."

Victor Oladipo, a guard who also played for Crean at Indiana, is also entering this year's draft.

"Oh man, it's going to prepare me at a high level - because that's how they coached at Indiana," Oladipo said. "They demanded so much of us - an even more than just that. So, as much as they demanded of us, we have to demand that much of ourselves. And that's what I try to do every day."

Like Zeller and Oladipo, Minnesota forward Trevor Mbakwe was also coached by Crean during his brief stint playing for Marquette during the 2007-2008 season. He transferred and soon landed at Minnesota, where he played for Tubby Smith. After a long and circuitous college career, Mbawke is in this year's draft.

"Coach Crean and Coach Smith, they stress discipline and they're fiery guys," Mbakwe said. "And I think I'm used to it and I think that coaches like that definitely know how you like to be coached and they definitely get you ready for the next level. And I feel very lucky to have been with two coaches like Coach Smith and Coach Crean, who helped me to get where I am now. And they definitely prepared me for the next level."

However, William and Crean aren't the only Marquette-affiliated coaches with players in this year's draft. Former Marquette Coach Kevin O'Neill also coached forward Dewayne Dedmone, at the University of Southern California.

"He does have that NBA experience, so he brought that NBA-style to college, so he definitely prepared us for NBA scenarios," Dedmone said about O'Neill.

These players all have two thing in common - being coached by men with Marquette on their resume and a potential spot in this year's NBA draft. Hopefully for them, this Marquette coaching will pay off.