Creighton fans got some great news late last week as two-time first-team All-American Doug McDermott announced that he will be returning to school for his senior season.
But he may not be the only Bluejay thought to be gone that could end up getting an extra season in Omaha.
Grant Gibbs was a fifth-year senior for Creighton last season, but he has only played three seasons during his five-year career. As a freshman at Gonzaga, he redshirted but would not have been able to play due to a shoulder injury. After playing as a redshirt freshman with the Zags, Gibbs transferred to Creighton. He redshirted once again while sitting out, but knee surgery would have kept him out for the year even if NCAA rules had allowed him to play.
An athlete has five years to use up his four seasons of eligibility, and the clock begins when the athlete enrolls in college. By the letter of the law, Gibbs’ career should be done.
But as it turns out, he may actually have a case strong enough to get himself a sixth season. From the Omaha World-Herald:
Gibbs said his paperwork was submitted to [a law firm that specializes in dealing with NCAA issues] on Monday and Creighton was told it would likely receive an answer “sooner than later.”
“They indicated we should have an answer any day now,” Gibbs said. “If they indicate it would be worth pursuing, I would sit down with Coach Mac (Greg McDermott) and Ras (Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen) and discuss it.
“If it’s something they would want to pursue, I’d be more than willing.”
Gibbs is a valuable piece for the Bluejays. He’s an excellent distributor that can create off of the wing and in the pick-and-roll. His playmaking allows guys like Jahenns Manigat and Austin Chatman a chance to space the floor and get clean looks from the perimeter.
And his return should help take some pressure off of McDermott as Creighton makes their foray into the new Big East.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
It’s worth noting here that Derek Willis is not left-handed, yet he dunks this with his left hand.
No. 8 North Carolina knocked off Pitt on the road on Saturday afternoon, picking up an 85-67 win that clinched at least a share of the ACC regular season title for the Tar Heels this season.
It’s the second straight season and the eighth time in the 14 years that Roy Williams has been the head coach of the Tar Heels that they can make such a claim. For comparison’s sake, Mike Krzyzewski and Duke have won just three ACC regular season titles in those 14 years and they haven’t won one since 2010.
So this is a pretty good run that Roy Williams is on, and that’s before you consider the two national titles — plus a third national title game — that he’s won during that stretch.
And this year may be as impressive as any job that he’s done during his career.
This UNC team is different than past UNC teams in the sense that it’s the first time that one of his great teams doesn’t have a front line anchored by a future first round pick that is a killer on the block and a stallion running the floor in transition. There’s no Brice Johnson or Tyler Zeller or Tyler Hansbrough or Sean May. Joel Berry II is a really good college guard, but he’s not Kendall Marshall or Ray Felton or Ty Lawson, and his inconsistency is one of UNC’s bigger question marks heading into the tournament. Justin Jackson has turned into a killer this season, which is not something we would have said about Justin Jackson in any other year.
Put another way, this team is not a team that you can look at and know will be a title contender.
But they are.
They hold a two-game lead over an ACC that might get 10 teams into the NCAA tournament with two games left. If they win at Virginia next week, they will be playing for pride and for seeding when they take on Duke in the season finale.
I’d go as far as to say that the Tar Heels are as good, or better, than anyone in college basketball this season. They’ll probably end up as the No. 1 seed in the south and could very well make another run to the Final Four this season.
Considering just how good Williams has been throughout his career, and particularly during his tenure in Chapel Hill, you can understand what it means to say that this may very well be the best coaching job of his career.
Duke will be without star junior guard Grayson Allen on Saturday.
According to a report from Greg Gumbel of CBS Sports, Allen will miss the Blue Devils’ road game at Miami with an ankle injury.
The 6-foot-5 Allen is averaging 15.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game this season as he’s battled a few different injuries as well as getting suspended for another tripping incident. Duke is used to playing without Allen and the Blue Devils should still have enough to stay in this one against Miami but it is going to be a tough game to win on the road.
Duke is coming off of a road loss to Syracuse earlier this week as the No. 10 Blue Devils are trying to finish out a tough regular-season schedule these next three games.
Drake senior center Jacob Enevold received a special surprise on Saturday afternoon as his parents flew all the way from Denmark to surprise him for Senior Day.
The 7-foot-1 Enevold appeared perfectly content to take part in the Senior Day celebrations when his parents appeared on the floor and he ran to greet them.
Starting freshman guard De’Aaron Fox will be out for Kentucky on Saturday as the Wildcats host Florida in an important SEC showdown.
The 6-foot-3 Fox has a knee contusion, and without him, the Wildcats will start senior Mychael Mulder. Fox is averaging 15.5 points, 5.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game as he’s been one of the country’s best two-way freshmen this season.
Kentucky and Florida both enter Saturday’s game at 13-2 in SEC play but the Gators took the first matchup by 22 points between these two teams in Gainesville on Feb. 4.