2007-2008 Creighton Bluejays Basketball Preview
Creighton Bluejays - Missouri Valley
2006-07: 22-11, 13-5, 2nd (t)
2006-07 postseason: NCAA
There are eight players who should be seeing their first action for Creighton this year. That is a lot of youth and inexperience which should cause all sorts of problems, right? Well three of those eight spent last year with the program and were redshirting and two of them are experienced junior college transfers. Of the three incoming freshmen, two are probably the best recruits heading into the conference this year and the other is a Korver, and you can never go wrong with a Korver.
The group of newcomers are not as inexperienced as it may sound, but they do have some big shoes to fill. Even though his shooting numbers were down quite a bit for his senior season, Nate Funk was still the heart and soul of the team and averaged 17.7 points per game. The inside threat that freed up Funk is also gone. Anthony Tolliver led the team with 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game and added 13.4 points. Two other starters, Isacc Miles and Nick Porter are gone. Brice Nengsu is joining Miles on the transfer list and big man Manny Gakou has run out of eligibility.
It will not be easy and the Bluejays will lose a lot of casual fans because of it, but forget about Funk. P’Allen Stinnett may not be quite as neat of a name as Funk, but it is not bad. The 6-2 freshman is a great athlete and can create shots for himself. The perimeter shot may be a little inconsistent, but when he is on, Stinnett will make the opposition pay in a variety of ways. The other highly touted incoming freshman is power forward Kenton Walker. The 6-8, 225 pound San Diego, California native may need some time to polish his game, but Walker will battle for minutes as a freshman. Kaleb Korver is not expected to make a big impact, but the 6-4 guard can at least shoot. Speaking of neat names, junior college transfers Booker Woodfox and Cavel Witter will bolster the perimeter depth. Woodfox, a 6-1 combo guard, is a great shooter and will use quickness to get to the basket. Witter, who played one season at the juco level, is more of a true point guard, but will definitely add even more quickness to the roster. Redshirt freshman walk-ons Aaron Brandt and Casey Harriman will add emergency depth on the wings. Chad Millard played 32 games for Louisville during the 2005-2006 season. He did not get the opportunity to play many minutes, but the 6-8 wing is a diverse talent who will make a big impact for Creighton.
Who to Watch:
Kenny Lawson, Jr. could just as easily be one of the newcomers. The redshirt freshman only played in two games last year before going down with an injury. But there was some promise shown during those two games for the 6-9 center. Lawson is a good athlete and will score around the basket. As long as the injuries do not strike again, Lawson will be starting. Dane Watts returns to do the dirty work. The presumable four year starter will do a little bit of everything and is an effective rebounder and shooter.
Final Creighton Projection:
Josh Dotzler may take over the starting point guard duties if he can hold off the junior college transfers. Dotzler started eight games last year and averaged 2.2 points and 2.0 assists during his junior campaign. Dotzler has been hampered with injuries over his two year career in Omaha, but he has the potential for a breakout season if he can stay healthy for an entire year. Pierce Hibma and Nick Bahe will not light up the scoreboards, but the seniors will at least provide some experience off the bench. Experience is not a word that will be used too often when describing the Bluejays. As long as the group can come together relatively soon, Creighton has more than enough talent to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Josh Dotzler, Junior, Guard, 2.2 points per game
P’Allen Stinnett, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Chad Millard, Sophomore, Forward, DNP last season
Dane Watts, Senior, Forward, 9.9 points per game
Kenny Lawson, Freshman, Center, 5.5 points per game
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