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College Basketball Preview: 10. Creighton Bluejays

10. Creighton Bluejays 29-6 in 2011 (14-4 Missouri Valley)

Last season the Bluejays proved they were ready to roll with the big boys. Creighton won 29 games including 14 in the Valley, and lost in the second round to perennial power UNC. Now, the squad returns four starters including my preseason All-American Doug McDermott. So how high could the Bluejays ride this season? It's a realistic possibility that the Jays, even with the loss of point guard Antoine Young, could win 15 games in the Valley and ride McDermott to the Elite Eight. Yeah, so I'd say the Jays are ready to roll with the best of them.

Doug McDermott

Backcourt: The loss of leader Young hurts significantly but the backcourt is still strong. Junior Jahenns Manigat is the top returner entering his third season as starter. Manigat is experienced and makes smart decisions but isn't a prolific scorer or distributor like Young. Likely to start alongside him will be senior Grant Gibbs. Gibbs is smart and has fantastic court vision but needs to step it up in the scoring category. If he does he could have a breakout season. Creighton will rely on sophomore Avery Dingman to give them scoring on the perimeter. He is the future of the team and with added experience could be lethal off the bench. Likely to replace Young at point is sophomore Austin Chatman who served as Young's understudy last season. He can shoot and is just as strong as a passer as anybody else on the roster. Senior Josh Jones could have a big year and freshman Nevin Johnson has talent.
Gregory Echenique
Frontcourt: Few can deny McDermott as being one of the best players in the nation. He averaged 22.9 points per game that helped Creighton produce the 9th best scoring offense in the nation. He can score inside and on the perimeter but his mid range game is his only "weakness". With most people focusing on McDermott, senior center Gregory Echenique excelled. He'll score a moderate amount of points a game and provides a fantastic rebounder and shot blocker. He has a great back to basket game but has some flaws in his game. Ethan Wragge enters his junior season as a sixth man that should contribute more on the perimeter than inside. Sophomore Will Artino will back up Echenique and provides an unorthodox approach but an effective one.

Top NBA Prospect: Doug McDermott
Missouri Valley Rank: 1st
PG Austin Chatman- Sophomore
SG Jahenns Manigat- Junior
SF Grant Gibbs- Senior
PF Doug McDermott- Junior
C Gregory Echenique- Senior

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