Creighton has been a model of consistency in the Missouri Valley Conference. Even with their long time head coach Dana Altman heading for greener pastures, that shouldn’t change the Blue Jays ability to maintain their status as one of the better mid-major programs in the country.
The Sports Bank’s “99 in 99” ranks the 72 power conference college basketball teams and top 27 mid-majors. Our countdown will lead right up to the start of the season and provide you will all the in-depth information about the top teams in the game. Click here if you missed #61-#99.
By: David Kay
Creighton Blue Jays (4th, 10-8 in MVC, 18-16 overall)
Projected Depth Chart
C: Kenny Lawson Jr. (Sr)/Gregory Ecehnique (Jr)/Will Artino (Fr)
F: Ethan Wragge (So)/Wayne Runnels (Sr)
G/F: Daryl Ashford (Sr)/Casey Harriman (Sr)/Doug McDermott (Fr)
SG: Josh Jones (So)/Kaleb Korver (Sr)/Kody Ingle (Fr)
PG: Antoine Young (Jr)/Jahenns Manigat (Fr)
Gone: SF-Justin Carter, SG P’Allen Stinnett (transfer-Missouri Western), PG Carvell Witter, PG-Andrew Bock (transfer-Pacific), F-Chad Millard
Year-in, year-out, Creighton has been a contender in the always underappreciated Missouri Valley Conference. The Blue Jays have finished no lower than fourth place in the conference every season since 1997-1998. Of course, each of those teams were coached by Dana Altman who left Creighton for Oregon after a very successful 16-year run.
Replacing Altman is Greg McDermott who was formerly the head coach at now rival, Northern Iowa from 2001-2006. McDermott made the rare move of leaving a head coaching position at a power conference school to take over at a mid-major this summer when he left a struggling Iowa State program to take over the Blue Jays.
McDermott inherits a team that loses a few valuable contributors from last season. Second leading scorer Jason Carter graduated while P’Allen Stinnett was kicked off the team by McDermott after being suspended indefinitely in January. Kenny Lawson Jr. briefly flirted with the NBA Draft before wisely returning to school for his senior season giving Creighton what might be the best low post player in the MVC.
The Blue Jays will get a major boost after the first semester when Rutgers transfer Gregory Echenique becomes eligible. He and Lawson should form an intimidating tandem down low that should cause match-up issues for other teams in the conference. If the wings can chip in their part, which will be a concern heading into the season, Creighton will once again find itself in the thick of the conference race.
Player to Watch: Gregory Echenique, F/C
At 6-9, 250 pounds, Lawson is considered a big body in the Missouri Valley Conference. So when you add a 6-9, 265 pounder like Echenique alongside him, that is quite the force to be reckoned with. The former Scarlet Knight suffered a detached retina last January (OUCH!) and then decided to transfer. He averaged an impressive 8.4 points and 8.4 boards a game as a freshman and 12.6 and 7.7 in seven games last season before the injury. Echenique also adds a shot blocking presence as he averaged about 2.3 swats a game during his time at Rutgers.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/21 vs. Iowa State
11/28 at Northwestern
12/1 vs. BYU
12/5 at Nebraska
12/11 vs. St. Joseph’s
2/18-2/20 vs. TBA (ESPN’s Bracket Busters)
Other 99 in 99’s:
#64 Texas Tech
#65 Miami, FL
#68 Ole Miss
#69 George Mason
#71 Weber State
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#78 Oklahoma State
#82 South Carolina
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#89 Boston College
#93 Oregon State
#97. Iowa State