Tag: Creighton Bluejays

Mark Gottfried

NC State, Ole Miss among eight teams in 2016 Paradise Jam

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While the 2015-16 season has yet to get underway, some in-season tournaments have already begun the process of finalizing teams for the 2016-17 campaign. Wednesday evening the Paradise Jam revealed its eight-team field for the 2016 edition of the event, which is scheduled to be played November 18-21, 2016 at the University of the Virgin Islands.

NC State, which has reached the NCAA tournament in each of the last four seasons under head coach Mark Gottfried, is part of the event as are Andy Kennedy’s Ole Miss Rebels. Completing the field are Creighton, Loyola-Chicago, Oral Roberts, Montana, Saint Joseph’s and Washington State.

Of the eight teams just two have made prior appearances at the Paradise Jam. Phil Martelli’s Saint Joseph’s team finished fifth in 2009, with Ole Miss finishing third two years later. Washington State may have the most interesting connection to this tournament, however.

The father of forward Josh Hawkinson, who was the Pac-12’s Most Improved Player last season and will be a senior in 2016-17, created the Paradise Jam back in 2000. That should make for a fun return to the Virgin Islands for Josh next November. Nels Hawkinson is the executive director of Basketball Travelers, a company some may be familiar with as they’ve set up foreign tours for many college basketball programs over the years.

While NC State and Ole Miss are the lone teams in this field to reach the NCAA tournament last season, Montana is one of the favorites in the Big Sky entering the 2015-16 season and ORU is expected to be a factor in the Summit League. Scott Sutton’s Golden Eagles were picked to finish third in the Summit League preseason coaches poll.

Four-star 2017 guard commits to Creighton

Greg McDermott
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Creighton went out east and landed a top-100 prospect on Saturday as four-star guard Ty-Shon Alexander pledged to the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

The 6-foot-3 Alexander had a very good summer playing with Team Charlotte as he showed he was a very good 3-point shooter to go along with a lot of team success.

Alexander represents Creighton’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and a prospect of his caliber is a great start for the class. Regarded as the No. 86 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Alexander is playing his junior season at Oak Hill Academy.


Creighton hoping transfers Watson, Huff can spark turnaround

Greg McDermott
Associated Press
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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Even though Maurice Watson Jr. is yet to play his first game as Creighton’s new point guard, he doesn’t lack confidence.

Watson made that clear Wednesday at the Bluejays’ media day when he was asked to describe his playing style.

He said he’s a pass-first point guard who’ll keep his teammates happy. He was only warming up.

“I know the type of game we play with the 3-point shooters we have, teams are going to be forced to play me one-on-one, and I don’t think there is anybody who can guard me one-on-one, who can stop me from getting to the basket,” Watson said. “With my improved jump shot, I think I’ll be more efficient, and I’ll be knocking down way more jump shots. I do think I’ll be aggressive, mainly toward the middle to the end of games when it’s that time to take over.”

Coach Greg McDermott said he has no qualms with Watson’s strong sense of self.

“Sooner or later you’re going to have to back it up,” he said. “As long as he puts in the work to back up what he says, I can live with some of that.”

Watson and fellow transfer Cole Huff will need to play major roles if the Bluejays are going to bounce back from their first losing season since 1995-96. Creighton, which lost eight games in the final minute, was 14-19 and tied for ninth in the Big East at 4-14. The Bluejays were picked to finish ninth again in the Big East’s preseason coaches’ poll.

Forward Toby Hegner (6.7 ppg) is the only returning starter, guard James Milliken (9.6 ppg) played significant minutes and Geoffrey Groselle (5.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg) and Zach Hanson (3.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg) split time at center. Guard Isaiah Zierden (9.5 ppg), who shot nearly 40 percent on 3-pointers, is back after a knee injury ended his season in January.

Watson, who transferred from Boston University, takes over at the point for three-year starter Austin Chatman. Watson averaged 13.3 points, 7.1 assists and 2.1 steals while leading the Terriers to the NIT in 2013-14. Forward Cole Huff, who transferred from Nevada, averaged 12.4 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Wolf Pack.

“We’re more experienced than a lot of teams simply because Maurice and Cole played meaningful basketball and have been good players at their respective schools they transferred from,” McDermott said. “When you add two guys to the lineup that have played as many games as they’ve played, you probably aren’t getting a true reading of exactly what your returning experience is.”

Milliken said he’s excited to play with Watson and likes his cocksure demeanor.

What about Watson’s claim that he’s unstoppable one on one?

“Honestly, he’s tough,” Milliken said. “He’s really quick in changing directions. He’ll find a way to get around you, and he doesn’t miss layups. He might be accurate with that one.”