#77 Creighton: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #77
Conference Rank: #4 Missouri Valley Conference
2009-10: 18-16, 10-8
2009-10 postseason: CIT
Coach: Greg McDermott (First year at Creighton, 280-195 overall)
Coach Greg McDermott is not unfamiliar with his new surroundings at Creighton. Coach McDermott made a name for himself at fellow Missouri Valley Conference member Northern Iowa before heading to Iowa State. Back in the MVC, McDermott may be where he belongs and he turned UNI into a consistent winner and the sky is the limit now that he has taken over a program that has already been a consistent winner over the last decade.
Key Losses: F Justin Carter, G P’Allen Stinnett, G Cavel Witter
What this team really needs is a power forward to replace Justin Carter and all the frontcourt depth it can find. Will Artino, 6-10 center, may need some time to develop his strength and skills before he can play too many minutes and Doug McDermott is a talented player, but better suited for the small forward position. Gregory Echenqiue will be the talented and experienced player this team really needs once he is eligible in December. The 6-9, 275 pound transfer from Rutgers averaged 12.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in the seven games he played in last season. The backcourt needs less immediate help, so Taylor Stormberg, Jahens Manigat, Kody Ingle and Nebraska transfer Ross Ferrarini should not be asked to play much in 2010-2011.
Josh Jones and Kaleb Korver will have to hold off the newcomers for minutes off the bench, but those two have starting experience and should be able to help cover the loss of P’Allen Stinnett and super shooting sub Cavel Witter. In the meantime, Antoine Young and Darryl Ashford will go back to their starting roles. Young, a 6-0, 165 pound junior, is ready to become more of a leader on the floor. After averaging 7.1 points and 3.1 assists per game as a sophomore, Young is ready for a big year. Ashford is more of a small forward than a shooting guard, but the 6-4 Houston, Texas product can do a little bit of everything. This was a team that lacked an outside shooting threat in the starting lineup last year and probably will again this year. Ashford, however, can attack the basket very effectively and will help out the frontcourt with his ability to hit the glass.
Casey Harriman will not put up big numbers in any category, but the 6-5 small forward is the glue guy on this team. He does the dirty work all over the floor. He may lose his starting job eventually, but he will likely be on the floor when it matters the most. Ethan Wragge or Wayne Runnels would be who would fill in for Harriman. For now, one of them will start at the four spot. Wragge has the size, but he is a pure shooter, and the only returning player to connect on over one three-pointer per game. While he can certainly build off of his very successful freshman campaign, on this team Wragge should be a shooter off the bench. That is because this team needs a shooter who can provide a spark, but also because of Runnels. The 6-6 senior is a superb athlete who is finally coming into his own. Right now the Bluejays need him to be a power forward and he can play there. However, he can pretty much play anywhere else on the floor as well and his athleticism and versatility could turn him from a roleplayer as a junior to a star as a senior.
Who to Watch:
The frontcourt will spend a little time undersized until Echenique is eligible, but that is not much of a worry with Kenny Lawson, Jr. around. The 6-9, 250 pound senior led the team with 13.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks a year ago. Lawson can even stretch out the defense by consistently knocking down the mid-range jumper. Yet, it is his interior scoring that really opens up the rest of the offense and makes everybody’s job easier.
Creighton was disappointing last year. They had enough talent to win the conference, but struggled with consistency. A year of experience from their point guard should help, but now they have to deal with the transition from the Dana Altman era to the Greg McDermott era. This team should be better than last year and that will at least get them into the NIT, but they have more than enough talent to make a run at a conference title if everything comes together.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Antoine Young, Junior, Guard, 7.1 ppg
Darryl Ashford, Senior, Guard, 7.4 ppg
Casey Harriman, Senior, Forward, 3.0 ppg
Wayne Runnels, senior, Forward, 4.4 ppg
Kenny Lawson Jr., Senior, Center, 13.1 ppg
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