ESPN Insider had an article forecasting the 2017-2018 season for all NCAA tournament teams. Here is what they said about Creighton. Definitely some things to take issue with:
1. They claim Kobe Paras sat out this past season after transferring. Nice research/editing!
2. Made a claim that Mo Watson changed his game as a senior to be more of a distributor. Huh?
3. The projected starting five doesn't seem very realistic. Can you imagine that team rebounding?
Here it is...
We continue our recruit and return series with the Creighton Bluejays, whose season ended Friday with a loss to Rhode Island in the Midwest Region. Here is a look at what the 2017-18 season could hold:
Possible 2017-18 starting five:
G: Khyri Thomas
G: Marcus Foster
G: Ty-Shon Alexander (freshman)
G: Kaleb Joseph
C: Toby Hegner
Who is lost: Creighton got a taste of what life without Maurice Watson Jr. will be like after his season-ending injury in January. The Bluejays struggled at point guard without him, which is understandable, considering he was playing like an All-American through 19 games. He changed his game as a senior to become more of a distributor, and it worked to perfection. Shooter Isaiah Zierden is also departing from the backcourt. Up front, talented forward Cole Huff and backup forward Zach Hanson are graduating. Huff always looked poised for a huge season, and he showed flashes, such as the 35 points he had against Seton Hall in the 2016 Big East tournament. The big question mark is redshirt freshman Justin Patton. He had a tremendous first season for the Bluejays and played himself into first-round and possible lottery consideration for the NBA Draft. If he leaves, Greg McDermott will have a tough time replacing the super-talented 7-footer from Omaha.
Who is added: McDermott is bringing in two four-star guards, including ESPN 100 shooting guard Alexander and Kansas native Mitchell Ballock. Alexander can really shoot from the perimeter and is capable of knocking down midrange jumpers and getting to the rim. He should fit perfectly into Creighton’s system. Ballock fits the same mold, though he’s less of a pure scorer and more of a crafty passer and ball-handler who can light it up from the perimeter. Two players sat out this past season: Phillipines native Kobe Paras and Syracuse transfer Kaleb Joseph. Paras parted ways with UCLA last summer and enrolled at Creighton. Joseph was a touted recruit coming out of high school but never made an impact with the Orange. He could push for a starting job next season.
What it means for next season: If Patton doesn’t return, the first orders of business will be to find a point guard and big man. The scoring on the wing will come from Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster and multitalented guard Khyri Thomas. Foster became one of the best scorers in the country after he sat out for the Bluejays in 2015-16, and he carried Creighton offensively once Watson got hurt. Thomas took on more of a playmaking role when Watson went down but still averaged double figures and contributed on the glass. Toby Hegner, a steady 6-foot-10 contributor who can shoot 3s, should be in for a bigger role. Creighton is also still involved with a few 2017 prospects -- including five-star Brian Bowen -- and is expected to hit the foreign and transfer markets.
Trending: Down. Before Watson went down, this was a potential Final Four contender. With his leaving along with three other seniors and potentially Patton, McDermott could be a little shorthanded. This team will go as far as Foster can carry them -- unless they find consistency at point guard and down low.