Wednesday, April 13, 2005


as reported by the Milwaukee Journal:

MU recruit changes plans
Mortensen will join team next season
By TODD ROSIAKtrosiak@journalsentinel
Posted: April 13, 2005

Matt Mortensen, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound forward from Provo, Utah, has decided to join the Marquette Golden Eagles this coming season rather than in 2007, as had been expected when he committed last fall.

The change stems from Mortensen's decision not to go on a Mormon mission, which would have seen him arrive at MU as a 21-year-old freshman. Instead, he'll join incoming recruits Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews as the Golden Eagles gear up for their inaugural season in the Big East.

"I just had a change of heart, I guess," Mortensen said on Wednesday. "As you grow up, you make decisions for yourself and I just think it's the right decision for me to go to college now instead of on a mission. Coach Crean has a scholarship for me, so it worked out pretty well."
Mortensen, who was named first team Class 4A all-state as a senior this past season at Timpview High School, projects as a small forward at MU as coach Tom Crean begins a shift toward the three-guard lineup he eventually hopes to employ in the Big East. Mortensen played small forward at Timpview as well.

"I think I'm fairly versatile," Mortensen said. "I'll come in and work as hard as I can and see what happens. I haven't been guaranteed anything. If I play, great. If not, it's probably my fault for not working hard enough."

Having originally caught Crean's eye with his ability to shoot the basketball, Mortensen is also considered to be a solid athlete who can run the floor and finish at the rim with dunks, qualities the Golden Eagles have been lacking in the last few seasons.

MU has one more scholarship to use and is looking for both size and athleticism. Chicago Crane's Tyrone Kent remains a possibility as does Philadelphia Lutheran Academy's Maurice Thomas, who had committed to UNLV last week only to have coach Lon Kruger withdraw the scholarship offer on Tuesday.

Making official visits to MU this weekend will be Dwight Burke, a 6-8, 240-pounder from St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J., and Jamil Lott, a 6-7, 220-pounder from North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, N.D. Burke had committed to East Carolina but was released after coach Bill Herrion was fired and is being pursued by fellow Big East members Pittsburgh, Rutgers and St. John's as well as Miami (Fla.).

Lott is a native of St. Paul, Minn., and played on the same AAU team as MU's Dan Fitzgerald, who redshirted this season after transferring from Tulane. Lott already had visited George Mason, is also considering Georgia and USC and has reportedly piqued the interest of Arizona.
As for James, McNeal and Matthews, all three earned first-team all-state honors from the Associated Press and other various media organizations, with Matthews of Madison Memorial earning Wisconsin's Mr. Basketball award from the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association and the Journal Sentinel.

The 5-10 James averaged 31.1 points per game for Richmond High School, leading the state of Indiana in scoring and finishing as the runner-up in Mr. Basketball balloting. He also averaged 7.1 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 3.9 steals per game and is expected to assume the starting point-guard spot at MU as a freshman.

The 6-3 McNeal averaged 20 points, 9.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 4.0 steals for Hillcrest High School in Country Club Hills, Ill., and was named a third team All-American by Parade Magazine.