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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

October 17th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Creighton Bluejays

 

Overall Rank: #26

Conference Rank: #2 MVC

 

2005-06: 20-10, 12-6, 2nd (t)

2005-06 postseason: NIT

 

Nate Funk only saw action in six games for Creighton last year before succumbing to a shoulder injury.  Even without Funk, who averaged 17.8 points and 5.1 rebounds two years ago, the Bluejays still managed to tie for second place in a tough MVC and reach the NIT.  With Funk, the expectations are much higher. 

 

Who’s Out: Johnny Mathies stepped up with the absence of Funk and averaged 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists during his senior campaign.  The backcourt will also lose Dominic Bishop who has opted to transfer.  Jeffrey Day and Jimmy Motz were solid frontcourt options off the bench and little used Steve Smith will not rejoin the Bluejays for the 2006-2007 campaign.

 

Who’s In: Nick Bahe never saw much action at Kansas, but the 6-3 guard is a high energy guy who can provide a spark off the bench.  Isacc Miles and D’Angalo Jackson will see some time at the point this year.  Miles, who can also play at the two guard, is the more highly touted recruit and will see the majority of the backup point minutes and maybe more.  Casey Harriman and Aaron Brandt could provide some emergency depth on the wing.  Kenny Lawson and Ty Morrison will immediately provide depth to the frontcourt.  Lawson could end up to be a steal for Coach Dana Altman.  After a late growth spurt, the 6-9, 220 pound freshman can contribute right away.  Lawson has a nice touch around the basket and is athletic enough to run up and down the floor.  Morrison has the experience after spending two years at Redlands Community College in California.  With a little time to adjust, Morrison will be providing quality depth for Creighton.

 

Who to Watch: And while the frontcourt is talented, it could use the depth of Lawson and Morrison.  Anthony Tolliver improved greatly for his junior season and averaged 13.2 points and a team high 6.7 boards.  With another year of improvement, the 6-9 center is eyeing first-team all-conference honors.  Dane Watts will start by Tolliver’s side once again and the 6-8 bruiser can step outside and hit the three ball.  Manny Gakou only averaged 3.4 minutes per game in 12 contests last year, but has the potential to be more effective during his senior campaign.

 

Final Projection: Funk may be the best player on the team, but the most important player may end up to be Josh Dotzler.  Dotzler missed the last seven games with a knee injury and there are questions as to whether or not the point guard will be 100% by the start of the season.  After averaging 6.4 points and 4.2 assists as a freshman, Dotzler saw his team struggle without him on the floor.  Even if he is out for a while, the return of Funk should make things easier, but Creighton will need Dotzler healthy to reach the lofty expectations.  Nick Porter returned from injury last year and averaged 9.6 points and 4.6 rebounds.  Porter can hit the long ball, but the Compton, California product adds a major rebounding presence to the backcourt.  Pierce Hibma managed to find ten starts last year and will offer an experienced option off the bench.  The Bluejays can live without Dotzler for a little while, but they need him if Creighton expects big things in March.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

Projected Starting Five:

Josh Dotzler, Sophomore, Guard, 6.4 points per game

Nate Funk, Senior, Guard, 17.0 points per game

Nick Porter, Senior, Guard, 9.6 points per game

Dane Watts, Junior, Forward, 7.3 points per game

Anthony Tolliver, Senior, Center, 13.2 points per game

 

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