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Creighton Thread 2020-2021

bilsker

Tom Osborne
15 Year Member
No likey, no clickey! ;)

Jays enter the season ranked 11th in both AP and Coaches poll. Basically they are loaded. They have the entire team back from last year with the exception of Ty-Shon Alexander. Losing TSA obviously isn't trivial but they bring back 78% of their scoring, 85% of their rebounding and 85% of their assists from a team that went 24-7, won the Big East and was poised for a 3 seed.

Key additions are Antwann Jones, a 6-6 SG Transfer from Memphis. He was a 4* out of H.S. Ryan Kalkenbrenner, a 6'11" 4* recruit from last year's class who is expected to get minutes. Also, Jacob Epperson is back after an injury. If he can stay healthy he's going to rack up some good minutes.

CU has know quantities in Marcus Zegarowski who is on the pre-season watchlists for just about every award out there, Mitch Ballock who has been on a few of the watchlists. Those two form the back bone. Bishop, Mahoney and Jefferson round out the likely starting 5 initially.

This program could use a little luck. Injuries have kicked their -ss a few different years. Last year the injury to Zegarowski in the last regular season game would have ruined the season had it continued uninterrupted. We all know what ultimately happened. Now, with the highest expectations ever Covid threatens the wreak havoc on this season too. Already CU has pulled out of the tourney that started today in Sioux Falls. They did pick up a game with NDSU for Sunday...not sure about TV on that one yet.

Other non-con games (fingers crossed) are Kennesaw St., UNO, Kansas and Nebraska. I suppose if you're ever going to play at KU this is the year although I'm sure if you asked they players they'd prefer the full Phog experience...especially Ballock as it's a homecoming for him.

The Big East is now 11 teams with UCONN jumping back in. 20 game schedule there.

Honestly, I think this season will be a total sh-- show from a covid perspective. As I understand the NCAA "recommendations"...basically ANY positive (coach, player, managers, etc.) results in a 14 day shutdown. I hope I've misunderstood that. If it's for real I would imagine getting 15 games in would be a win. :(

I won't even bother with W/L predictions. I will say that if they stay healthy and can get in any kind of rhythm with the schedule I expect them to go into the final week of the Big East leading or within a game. I'd expect a 4 or better seed and it's time to move beyond the first weekend of the tourney (however the tourney looks this season).

On the recruiting front CU got a couple big ones in the last 2 weeks.

TyTy Washington is a 6'3" guard. 4* ranked 53 in the nation. With Zegarowski a good bet to be gone after this year TyTy's arrival will come just in time. Not to say Shareef Mitchell can't be the next PG...but nothing wrong with a little 4* competition to make him earn it. https://247sports.com/player/tyty-washington-46057695/

Mason Miller is a 6'9" forward from TN. His dad is former NBA player Mike Miller. 4* ranked 64th. He's the "new style" 6'9" guy with guard ball handling skills. Super versatile...lots of film of him taking guys off the dribble. Miller is a player not like any other that CU has recruited in the past. He will play immediately. https://247sports.com/player/mason-miller-46082135/

Their other 2021 recruits are Ryan Nembhard, a 4* PG from Florida (speaking of potential replacements for Zegarowski) and John Cristofilis a 3* 6'4" SG from Washington...think Ballock on this one.
https://247sports.com/player/ryan-nembhard-46059386/

As of right now CU ranks 8th Nationally in recruiting. I still pinch myself thinking back to competing with the likes of Drake, SIU, Wichita St, etc. The transition is complete. Time for the Jays to take the next step and make some noise in March (or whenever the tourney happens).

If Fred Hoiberg can get things rolling in Lincoln, and it looks like he may, Nebraska is going to be a fun place to be a basketball fan in the coming years.

Enjoy the season!
 

Huskerwisdom

Red Shirt
2 Year Member
Nice writeup!

This team has tons of depth and talent. If we have a weakness it's at the backup PG spot, with Rati getting hurt that takes away and option for this year, but Shereef showed some signs of being a good combo type PG last year and we have a lot of willing and effective passers across the roster. That said, the team needs Marcus to be playing PG at a high level and healthy all year

If Epperson's healthy we go from a team with no real height or depth at the 5 to a team with a great deal of height and depth. Bishop played exceptionally well down the stretch last year and if he's been able to add some handle skills and a jump shot, he'll be even more effective (especially on that top of the key pick motion they were running in the second half where he usually ended up passing, but there are open shots to be had there)

Probably the best and deepest class in Creighton history coming in for 2021, so it looks like Mac's built continuity into the program now, coming off of the best BE season we've had as well. Miller was my top choice for a long time in recruiting (even above some of the higher ranked people we recruited), but the depth and balance of the class is perfect for the roster as well

Hoiberg seems to be getting his recruiting going and getting the roster he wants as well. The state of Nebraska really is putting out more BB talent than I remember in my lifetime right now. It's a fun thing to see just how many HS kids are capable of playing D1 and even high level D1 ball right now.

Now, fingers crossed that we'll have a season that goes off better than expected.
 

bilsker

Tom Osborne
15 Year Member
I think Shareef can be a capable back up...his Yr 1 to Yr 2 progress will be interesting to see.

If there's anything good about what is likely to be a pretty disjointed schedule it's that coaches probably won't have to worry about their starters playing too many minutes and having it take a toll by the end of the season.

I hope to see Bishop on the floor with Epperson and Kalkenbrenner at times. Hopefully he has developed a mid-range shot...that would do wonders for his game.
 

BubbaGene

Fossil
10 Year Member
What do you guys think of CU's chances of getting Hunter Sallis? He has some nice choices, but staying home would be great!
 

Huskerwisdom

Red Shirt
2 Year Member
What do you guys think of CU's chances of getting Hunter Sallis? He has some nice choices, but staying home would be great!
I think Kentucky leads, but I really don't have any idea, and it sounds like he wants to do in person visits prior to committing. He can go anywhere he wants and his last 8 was a bit all over the map (Creighton, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon and UCLA). Figure playing time where he can be "the guy" at the off guard spot is important, pathway to the NBA by playing top talent is important, style of play and then just fit with the coaches. He can afford to look for whatever he wants most given his talent and rankings.

I think Creighton has a lot to offer him in terms of a perfect style where he could be much like Tyshon in getting open shots, being a guy to create shots, and passing and handling as well, but the home state schools don't have a great record of landing local kids who start looking around at the blue bloods around the country.

From Creighton's standpoint the class they got, plus O'Connell and Jones as transfers, and Rati, Washington, and Cristofilis means they don't have to count on landing him to complete their roster. It'd be great, but they will be very good regardless of Sallis' decision
 

EdgeCrusher

Recruit
2 Year Member
No likey, no clickey! ;)

Jays enter the season ranked 11th in both AP and Coaches poll. Basically they are loaded. They have the entire team back from last year with the exception of Ty-Shon Alexander. Losing TSA obviously isn't trivial but they bring back 78% of their scoring, 85% of their rebounding and 85% of their assists from a team that went 24-7, won the Big East and was poised for a 3 seed.

Key additions are Antwann Jones, a 6-6 SG Transfer from Memphis. He was a 4* out of H.S. Ryan Kalkenbrenner, a 6'11" 4* recruit from last year's class who is expected to get minutes. Also, Jacob Epperson is back after an injury. If he can stay healthy he's going to rack up some good minutes.

CU has know quantities in Marcus Zegarowski who is on the pre-season watchlists for just about every award out there, Mitch Ballock who has been on a few of the watchlists. Those two form the back bone. Bishop, Mahoney and Jefferson round out the likely starting 5 initially.

This program could use a little luck. Injuries have kicked their -ss a few different years. Last year the injury to Zegarowski in the last regular season game would have ruined the season had it continued uninterrupted. We all know what ultimately happened. Now, with the highest expectations ever Covid threatens the wreak havoc on this season too. Already CU has pulled out of the tourney that started today in Sioux Falls. They did pick up a game with NDSU for Sunday...not sure about TV on that one yet.

Other non-con games (fingers crossed) are Kennesaw St., UNO, Kansas and Nebraska. I suppose if you're ever going to play at KU this is the year although I'm sure if you asked they players they'd prefer the full Phog experience...especially Ballock as it's a homecoming for him.

The Big East is now 11 teams with UCONN jumping back in. 20 game schedule there.

Honestly, I think this season will be a total sh-- show from a covid perspective. As I understand the NCAA "recommendations"...basically ANY positive (coach, player, managers, etc.) results in a 14 day shutdown. I hope I've misunderstood that. If it's for real I would imagine getting 15 games in would be a win. :(

I won't even bother with W/L predictions. I will say that if they stay healthy and can get in any kind of rhythm with the schedule I expect them to go into the final week of the Big East leading or within a game. I'd expect a 4 or better seed and it's time to move beyond the first weekend of the tourney (however the tourney looks this season).

On the recruiting front CU got a couple big ones in the last 2 weeks.

TyTy Washington is a 6'3" guard. 4* ranked 53 in the nation. With Zegarowski a good bet to be gone after this year TyTy's arrival will come just in time. Not to say Shareef Mitchell can't be the next PG...but nothing wrong with a little 4* competition to make him earn it. https://247sports.com/player/tyty-washington-46057695/

Mason Miller is a 6'9" forward from TN. His dad is former NBA player Mike Miller. 4* ranked 64th. He's the "new style" 6'9" guy with guard ball handling skills. Super versatile...lots of film of him taking guys off the dribble. Miller is a player not like any other that CU has recruited in the past. He will play immediately. https://247sports.com/player/mason-miller-46082135/

Their other 2021 recruits are Ryan Nembhard, a 4* PG from Florida (speaking of potential replacements for Zegarowski) and John Cristofilis a 3* 6'4" SG from Washington...think Ballock on this one.
https://247sports.com/player/ryan-nembhard-46059386/

As of right now CU ranks 8th Nationally in recruiting. I still pinch myself thinking back to competing with the likes of Drake, SIU, Wichita St, etc. The transition is complete. Time for the Jays to take the next step and make some noise in March (or whenever the tourney happens).

If Fred Hoiberg can get things rolling in Lincoln, and it looks like he may, Nebraska is going to be a fun place to be a basketball fan in the coming years.

Enjoy the season!
Thanks for the write up! Just hoping for a decent amount of games played to keep the flow going and experience for players into a hopefully more “normal” 2021!
Go Jays, GBR on the football front!
 

Red Don

Tiger
Staff member
10 Year Member
Good Discussion, everyone. I'm glad you start this thread every year @bilsker (and even happier that you maintain it :wink:)

For players like Sallis, it seems like the-grass-is always-greener on the other side of the fence, with talented local players looking out-of-state, but that may be changing with the increasing prominence of the in-state teams. :Cheer2::Cheer2::Cheer2:
 
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bilsker

Tom Osborne
15 Year Member
I almost forgot about Sallis. Probably because I still kind of expect him to end up at a higher profile program...no info just seems like that's the typical path for the 5* guys. For giggles I looked and if he did commit to CU their class would move up to #2 in the country.
 

bilsker

Tom Osborne
15 Year Member
Jays finally get rolling today with NDSU. -23.5

I'd imagine NDSU might be a little gassed having played yesterday and having been in Nebraska since Wednesday. They are probably ready to get home. Possibly close early with NDSU having a couple games under their belt and CU coming in cold but I like the 23.5.

Hopefully, it's a blowout so we can see Mac experiment with line-ups a little.

I didn't listen to the podcast but apparently Mac wasn't overly enthusiastic with Epperson's prospects. I guess he's not practicing every day. Too bad because the kid has/had talent but the injuries really wrecked what was a promising college career. Hopefully, Mac was underselling a little but we'll see.
 

bilsker

Tom Osborne
15 Year Member
Pretty uninspired 13 point win today. Got beat up on the boards. Hit about 22% on 35 3s (too many IMO). Would have expected more against a team that played yesterday.

Mahoney didn't play today so that's a small factor.

The good news is Antwan Jones (Memphis transfer) looked really good. Bishop was much improved. Mitchell also looks to be much improved. Kalkbrenner gives CU a "traditional" post up center.
Not worried at all about the lackluster win. It's not like we aren't sure if they can shoot the 3...they can. Mahoney needs to get back for the next couple warm up games before the KU game.

UNO up next tuesday.
 

Huskerwisdom

Red Shirt
2 Year Member
I thought it was a pretty solid start to the season.

Rebounding was bad, but maybe not as bad as numbers looked when we factor in 12 fewer turnovers and 5 more made shots for us. People looked healthy for the most part and looked the part on the floor.

They were packing the paint and stopping the Bishop roll to the basket stuff, so we took the available 3's.. .just didn't hit them this game (but we'll hit them more times than not)

Jones gives us some things that will work when the 3's aren't falling, as will Mahoney when he comes back, and as will Kalkbrenner who had nice touch and hands inside.

Defense was pretty solid after some early sloppiness, but hard to pull much out of a game like this one
 

BubbaGene

Fossil
10 Year Member
Not pretty, but they'll take the it. Ziggy took a while to get going. I think there was a lot of rust to shake off here with him and everyone on the team. Mac even said they really hadn't been able to do much in practice. Glad to see Epperson get in there, but he looked a bit slow. You gotta give NDSU some credit here. They played hard and kept after it. ... made some shots and took advantage of the Bluejay rust.
 

bilsker

Tom Osborne
15 Year Member
Much better performance all the way around today against UNO.

94-67. CU shot 11-22 from 3. I'd much rather see 22 threes than 35 like the other day...especially if they are going to shoot as poorly as they did against NDSU. Unless you're bombing away trying to get back in a game or just out of your mind like the Villanova game 6 or 7 years ago I really don't want to see 35 threes taken in a game...I'm sure Mac feels the same way most of the time. Out-rebounded UNO 45-30 which was also a big improvement over the NDSU game. UNO isn't horrible. They have a few nice players...Ruffin especially had a good game.

CU got 18 and 8 from Bishop. He's really looked good the first couple games. Hit a mid-range jumper in both games...a shot he definitely did not have last year. Zegarowski had 11 points and 11 assists and shot the ball much better than the other day. Mahoney with his first action didn't skip a beat...17 points on 5-7 from 3. Antwann Jones came off the bench this time for 12, 6 and 4. CU had 28 assists on 34 buckets...that's when you know CU really has their offense humming. 28 out if 34 is the kind of basketball I want to watch. Yes, it's UNO but it's still exactly the performance you want.

Kalkbrenner had 10 and 4 in 15 min. He had a couple real nice moves down low that he failed to finish on. That will come with experience and a little more strength. That kid is going to be good if he stays healthy (an "if" that I think you always have to throw in there on 7 footers). Totally different dimension than they've had since Echinique...a true post player on offense...certainly totally different body types. CU is never going to be a walk it up the court and run the offense through the post for 40 minutes but it's a nice element to have in your arsenal. In addition to the post play ability he'll add in the "run the floor" aspect that Echinique didn't have. He's more of a "future" guy than a right now guy but he will definitely help at times this year.

Kennesaw St. up Friday before the game Tuesday at Kansas.
 

BubbaGene

Fossil
10 Year Member
Not much to add to your nice observations, bils. Definitely less rust in this game. Mahoney was impressive, for sure. Kalkbrenner is like an ocotopus out there....long skinny limbs everywhere, but he's as advertised, I think. Bishop is just flat out solid and getting better. I am really looking forward to the Kansas game. Pretty good measuring stick there.
 
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