Creighton Blue Jays 2013-2014 College Basketball Preview
Creighton Blue Jays - Big East Conference
Home Court: CenturyLink Center Omaha 2012-2013 Overall Record 28-8
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With their long tenure in the Missouri Valley Conference in the rear view, the Creighton Blue Jays make their move to the new Big East with high xpectations and a veteran lineup sure to challenge for the new look conference's title.
Backcourt: Creighton received very good news this offseason as the NCAA made the decision to grant one extra year of eligibility to guard Grant Gibbs -- that makes season number six for the Blue Jays assist leader. In addition to his distribution skills, Gibbs excels on defense and routinely draws the opponents best player. Joining Gibbs in the backcourt is junior point guard Austin Chatman (7.4 ppg, 4.2 assists) who really grew into his role as floor general as last season wore on. Two players to keep an eye on are junior college transfers Devin Brooks and James Millikin -- both will add much needed depth for this backcourt and are expected to get significant minutes out of the gate.
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Frontcourt: The best news of all for the Blue Jays this past season was Doug McDermott's decision to return for his senior season. McDermott is arguably the best player in the country, finishing 2012-13 averaging 23.2 ppg and 7 rebounds. McDermott can shoot it with the best of them but will need to continue to be a strong contributor on the boards with the departure of big man Greg Echinique who was an enforcer on the defensive end and the teams leading rebounder. With Echinique gone, the Blue Jays will turn to Will Artino to anchor the paint. Artino averaged 3.9 points per game and 2.2 rebounds in limited minutes last year but adds a new element with his stellar passing skills for a player of his size -- the guards and McDermott should benefit a ton from this in the half court offense.
Outlook: The Blue Jays only have to replace Echinique this season and given the decisions of McDermott to return and the NCAA to grant Gibbs an extra year of eligibility, the Blue Jays are the consensus pick to win the conference title this season. I would expect a huge year from McDermott and somewhere around 25 wins and a solid NCAA tournament run to be highly likely.