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2011-12 College Basketball Season Preview: Creighton

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Creighton Bluejays (Last Year: 23-16, 10-8 in Missouri Valley)

2011-12 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Gregory Echenique (Sr)/Geoffery Goeselle (Fr)/Will Artino (Fr)

F: Doug McDermott (So)/Ethan Wragge (So)

G/F: Josh Jones (Jr)/Avery Dingman (Fr)/Nevin Johnson (Fr)

SG: Jahenns Manigat (So)/Grant Gibbs (Jr)/Ross Ferrarini (So)

PG: Antoine Young (Sr)/Austin Chapman (Fr)

Gone: C-Kenny Lawson Jr., G/F-Daryl Ashford, F-Wayne Runnels, SG-Kaleb Korver

2011-12 Outlook:
The Creighton Bluejays have been in the upper echelon of the Missouri Valley Conference for the past decade plus. However, the past two seasons the Bluejays have been an average team. Behind star in the making, Doug McDermott, Creighton hopes to return to the top of the MVC.

The son of head coach Greg McDermott, Doug led the team in scoring and rebounding last year as a freshman. He has a well-rounded offensive arsenal and should blossom in his sophomore season. Ethan Wragge played in only nine games last season due to a foot injury. He offers some size on the wing and adds another perimeter threat at forward.

Creighton loses Kenny Lawson Jr. up front but does return former Rutgers transfer Gregory Echenique. He is one of the top shot blockers in the MVC and will need to provide the muscle inside. Freshmen Geoffery Goeselle is the center of the future for the Bluejays and should contribute immediately.

McDermott will likely go with a three-guard look in his starting lineup. Antonie Young is the maestro of the offense and was the only Bluejay to play more than thirty minutes a game last season. Jahenns Manigat and Josh Jones each saw time as starters a year ago and are the favorites to start alongside Young. Gonzaga transfer Grant Gibbs adds another shooter on the perimeter.

A trio of freshman also figure to compete for playing time. Manigat is capable of playing the point when Young needs a blow, but Austin Chapman provides another option. Avery Dingman and Nevin Johnson will also try to work themselves into the rotation and replace what Creighton loses in Korver, Ashford and Runnels.

The Bluejays will be in the battle for the MVC crown but it's doubtful they have what it takes to de-throne Wichita State. Creighton will rely heavily on their three-point shooting, and will need McDermott to be even better than he was as a freshman to earn a spot in the dance.

Player to Watch: Doug McDermott, F
Playing alongside North Carolina's Harrison Barnes in high school, McDermott has somewhat flown under the radar throughout his career. Not anymore. McDermott had a terrific summer playing for the US U-19 team and was without question one of their top performers. The former Northern Iowa commit should be one of the favorites to bring home the MVC Player of the Year Award.

Key Non-Conference Games:
  • 11/15 at UAB
  • 11/20 at Iowa
  • 11/30 at San Diego State
  • 12/4 vs. Nebraska
  • 12/19 at Tulsa
  • 12/22 vs. Northwestern
  • 2/17 vs. TBA (ESPN Bracket Busters)

    Predicted MVC Finish: 3rd

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