After a long and anxious month around Omaha and the Creighton University campus, the saga that was the Doug McDermott decision is finally over. Now that the First-Team All-American has decided to stay in school for his senior year, we can finally start to piece together what this Creighton Bluejay team is going to look like when they take the floor in their new conference next season.
Given the diverse nature of the teams they’ll face on a nightly basis in the Big East, it’s highly unlikely that the Jays march out the same starting lineup every game, regardless of injury.
Junior Austin Chatman will be the safe bet to start at point guard through most of the non-conference schedule. During that time, the development and maturation of junior college transfer Devin Brooks will be key. Brooks is the prototypical old-school Big East point guard who can find the open man as well as he can create his own shot and score. He could very well unseat Chatman at the point before conference play begins.
Senior Jahenns Manigat looks like the favorite to join either Chatman or Harris in the backcourt. Deadly from beyond the arc, Manigat displayed the ability to drive and create toward the end of last season and could prove to be a key difference maker in a conference where putting the ball on the floor is a necessary element of survival. He’ll rotate out with junior sharpshooter Avery Dingman — the leading candidate to replace Grant Gibbs in the hustle department.
I fully expect Ethan Wragge to find a permanent place in the Creighton starting five during his senior season. The 6-7 forward is one of the most dangerous and respected shooters in the nation and a perfect compliment to McDermott on the wing.
Joining McDermott down low with the unenviable task of replacing Gregory Echinique will be Will Artino. The 6-11 junior does not have the same physical defensive presence underneath that his predecessor had, however, he brings a stronger offensive skillset as well as the ability to match up and guard true seven-footers. Artino will likely be spelled by sophomore Mogboluwaga Oginni, a 6-8 shot-blocking specialist from St. Louis. I’d also look for Geoffrey Groselle, a true seven-footer, to see significant playing time.
Change is on the horizon for the Jays — however you want to cut it. Thanks to the return of McDermott and the arrival of Devin Brooks, Creighton is in a great position to overcome the hurdles of joining a new, stronger conference and compete with the Georgetowns and Marquettes of the world right away.