2013-14 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: 29-6, 14-4 in MVC)

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Will Artino (Jr)/Geoffery Goeselle (Soph)/Zach Hanson (Fr)

F: Doug McDermott (Sr)/Ethan Wragge (Sr)/Toby Hegner (Fr)

G/F: Grant Gibbs (Sr)/Avery Dingman (Jr)/Darian Harris (Fr)

SG: Jahenns Manigat (Sr)/Isaiah Zierden (Fr)/James Milliken (Jr)

PG: Austin Chapman (Jr)/Devin Brooks (Jr)

Gone: C-Gregory Echenique, SG-Josh Jones, G/F-Nevin Johnson (transfer-NW Florida State), PG-Andre Yates (transfer-Cleveland State)

2013-14 Outlook:
Transitioning to a new conference is a lot easier when Doug McDermott is your team. He is the most dangerous scorer in college basketball as he shot from 49% from distance last year, but is also very capable of taking defenders in the post and using his craftiness around the bucket. What is most impressive about McDermott is that he puts up huge numbers without being selfish or a “me first” player.

Creighton will undoubtedly ride McDermott’s back to wherever the team ends up in March, but he won’t have to do it all by his lonesome. The Bluejays return all three starting guards from last season in Austin Chatman, Jahenns Manigat, and Grant Gibbs, who was granted a sixth year by the NCAA (and why McDermott is now considered a walk-on … get ready for that angle to be beat into the ground.) Manigat is a terrific, experienced role player while Chatman is a capable three-point threat. Gibbs’ return means the most to the team since he is a jack of all trades who contributes in multiple areas of the game and can play a few different positions.

Avery Dingman is the lone returning reserve at guard and is another weapon who can help space the floor with his outside shooting. Minutes will be up for grabs with redshirt freshman Isaiah Zierden, JUCO transfers Devin Brooks and James Milliken, true freshman Darian Harris competing for spot minutes.

The biggest question mark for head coach Greg McDermott comes inside where the team tries to replace physical big man, Gregory Echenique. Will Artino played sparingly a year ago but has the leg up to start in the middle. Seven-foot Geoffrey Groselle barely sniffed the floor last season and is expected to compete for minutes with newcomer Zach Hanson.

More than likely, the Bluejays figure to play a decent amount of small ball with McDermott and Ethan Wragge. Wragge is another stretch four who lives beyond the arc and doesn’t bring much to the floor as a low post presence or defender. He does make Creighton an insanely talented shooting team when both he and McDermott share the floor at the same time.

Having won 57 games the past two seasons, the Creighton Bluejays appear ready to for the new Big East. They may not have the athleticism of most other conference foes, but by having an experienced lineup with perhaps the best player in the country, don’t be surprised to see the Bluejays competing for a conference title.

Player to Watch: Grant Gibbs, G/F
Doug McDermott was too obvious of a choice, so I’ll switch it up and roll with Gibbs. It was huge news for Creighton to get Gibbs for another year since he is a crafty veteran and stat-sheet stuffer who averaged 8.5 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 40% from downtown. I fully expect him to be McDermott’s second banana this season.

Key Non-Conference Games:
  • 11/16 at St. Joseph’s
  • 11/23 vs. Tulsa
  • 11/28 vs. Arizona State (Wooden Legacy)
  • 11/29 vs. San Diego State/Charleston (Wooden Legacy)
  • 12/1 vs. Marquette/Cal State-Fullerton/Miami/George Washington (Wooden Legacy)
  • 12/3 at Long Beach State
  • 12/8 vs. Nebraska
  • 12/22 vs. California

  • Predicted Big East Finish: 3rd

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