News and Notes

May 30, 2008

Not to many articles on Bluejay Basketball this week.  Just a few little things:

  • Coach Altman is keeping busy during the summer by taking part in a charity golf event with UNLV coach and former co-worker Lon Kruger.  There were several other NCAA Basketball coaches taking part in this event.  Maybe they had some good discussions in their pairings on setting up some home and home series in the future.  According to the release, it appears USC coach Tim Floyd was there as well.  I hope coach stayed well away from him!
  • Southern Illinois center Nick Evans has given the first bulletin board material of the year for the Jays.  He was participating on a 5 game tour with a Reach USA, a Christian sports ministry team in China.   Evans said he was glad to get good minutes over the summer against real competition.  Even if the plane ride is 15 hours next time, Evans said he was in.  “Put me on a plane,” he said. “Fly me to China and then fly me back, and let’s play Creighton.”  He has big shoes to fill with Matt Shaw and Randall Falker not there anymore.  Let’s see if he can walk the talk.
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Summer League Rosters

May 27, 2008

The Metro Summer Basketball League draft occurred the other day and is posted on metrobball.com

The Jays break down like this:

State Farm – Judd Knispel Agency

  • Kaleb Korver
  • Antoine Young
  • Casey Harriman

Shanks Law Firm

  • Rodney Buford (former Jay)
  • Kenny Lawson
  • Booker Woodfox
  • Josh Jones

EQ School of Hair

  • Tom Whitehead
  • Cavel Witter

Narmi Group

  • Justin Carter
  • Josh Dotzler
  • Chad Millard

PCS Phosphate

  • P’Allen Stinnett
  • Kenton Walker

Porter Tauke & Ebke

  • Aaron Brandt
  • Dustin Sitzman

I understand that former Jays Ben Walker, Dane Watts, Anthony Tolliver and Nate Funk will be around at some point during the summer and available as subs.

The teams look pretty evenly distributed and should make for an exciting summer.  Last year was pretty neat because of so many incoming players for Creighton and Nebraska that they were able to create the “All Creighton” and “All Nebraska” teams.  Too bad that didn’t happen this year.  It would have probably been neat to see Young, Jones, Carter, Whitehead, plus Lawson and your pick between Witter, Stinnett or Woodfox on the same team (since you can only have 2 current players on a roster). Add the DII and NAIA schools that get to field their actual teams and there are 20 teams folks.

I’m pretty excited about the number of matchups that could occur that I don’t think one particular matchup will be better than another, though Shanks vs. PCS Phosphate will be an exciting game.

What is funny is that there are no current Nebraska Husker basketball players except for walk-ons Nick Krenk and Ben Nelson participating on the Porter, Tauke and Ebke allstar walk-on team. No one can confirm or deny that Coach “Slingblade” Sadler has forbidden his current scholarship players from playing in the summer league, but if they really want to advertise the Huskers as Nebraska’s team, you would think they would be playing. Where else are they playing ball this summer except against themselves? But I think they have bigger problems to worry about now that savior Roburt Sallie won’t be playing at Nebraska.


Isaac Miles back at the Qwest Center?

May 22, 2008

We all know Isaac Miles who left Creighton about a year ago to pursue other schools for various reasons that we probably can’t talk about. I won’t get into that.  I don’t know anything, just hearsay which wouldn’t do things justice.   What the world was told was that he wanted to find a school closer to home. I guess 2 hours from KC wasn’t close enough and thought he had a ride with Missouri all lined up. In the end, he ended up at Murray State. (EDIT: He ended up going to Murray State because they hired some new coaches that had KC connections and knew Isaac already and had a scholarship available)  An interesting note today is that on Basketball Travelers, Murray State is looking for a game:

Murray State University-Mens
Type: Game
Dates: 11/10/2008 to 12/21/2008

Murray State is looking to start two home and home series next year in 2008-2009. We would like to play the games in Nov 14, 15, 29 or Dec 30, 31. We would like to start one at home and one on the road. A home and home series in the same year would be ideal. We are not looking for a High Major road game.
Contact: Steve Prohm, 270 809 6768
steve.prohm@murraystate.edu
Date Posted: 09/21/2007
Last Updated: 05/21/2008

Any chances Creighton would be interested in this game? Of course fans would be interested in this one to see the return of Isaac Miles to the Qwest center since we didn’t get a chance to say goodbye… Well, I don’t think the coaching staff would be as excited or willing to do this one.

Oh well, I guess I am stretching to post something almost like the post about Big Monday, but I guess I am interested in generating discussion in the offseason since the Bluejaycafe is not passing that much traffic lately and I am already wanting to get the college basketball fix going again. At least I get the summer to practice this blogging stuff and see if anyone reads it. :)


Would The Valley fit on Big Monday?

May 21, 2008

Today, the Spokesman Review reported that it sounds like Gonzaga and the West Coast Conference is going to drop the Big Monday games that they are part of and move their games on ESPN family of networks to a Thursday/Saturday type of setup where they can start games a little earlier than when they play on Big Monday. The Big Monday games on ESPN or ESPN2 started at 11:00 p.m. Central Time. That is still not starting until 9:00 p.m. on the west coast. But they also seemed to have a game each week that started at 10:00 p.m. Central on ESPNU that featured West Coast teams. The article didn’t mention the status of those games, but I think it would be part of the move to the Thursday/Saturday schedule detailed.

Of course, now there is the question of who will take the West Coast Conference spots on the Big Monday broadcasts? It would make sense for the WAC, the Big West or some other west coast conference to work out a deal for those spots, but would the Valley ever want to throw themselves out there as a potential replacement? Granted, the Valley has received a lot more exposure on the ESPN family of networks this past season, mainly in part because of the additional ESPNU platform, so why would they want to have late night games on Big Monday? People make a big deal because it is so late and creates such a problem for teams, fans, blah, blah, blah, but think about it.

In reality there are only about 8 Big Monday games with conference season starting around January and finishing in early March. The Valley has a bigger advantage than the West Coast Conference because pretty much the Big Monday telecasts showcased Gonzaga more than any other team. That would not happen with teams from the Valley. They are more balanced and more teams have made names for themselves over the past two seasons. Drake, Bradley, Wichita State, Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Creighton, and (even to a degree) Missouri St. are more recognizable and have made an impact on the NCAA Tournament and any of those teams could be appealing to be on Big Monday. As a result of being balanced like this, there would not necessarily be one team taking up all the telecasts because there are several teams that could be showcased. So at most one team would be in that 11 p.m. slot maybe twice.

The second case for this is attendance. Just from personal experience, some of the biggest crowds and craziest crowds were the late night games as part of Bracketbusters. Fresno St. and the Drexel games both started somewhere between 9 and 11 p.m. and those games were just crazy from a fan standpoint. What a way to have some great promotions for the teams involved during Big Monday–wear you pajamas, late night study group (for those that need to be seen) or maybe a craziest fan contest. The possibilities are endless. It is a way to get fans excited about their team during the conference season since there is a time that fans get into a lull during the conference season. What a way to spruce things up. It also gets the real fans to the arena and can create a more intimidating atmosphere even if there are not as many fans as a “normal” game.

Finally, it is an opportunity for the Valley to get back into the spotlight after a subpar season with Drake being the only representative from the Valley in the NCAA Tourney. The season before, the Valley was on the cusp of taking off and winning over the College Basketball pundits with the showing in the Big Dance, but then got hit with a mack truck this past season. Big Monday could be the extra exposure to get that bus going again. A lot of Valley teams are returning a lot of players and should be better as a conference.

So here is the first vote cast to start the momentum to have the Valley get into talks with ESPN about Big Monday. I know I would go if it were an option.


Jays fall from 13th to 15th in Attendance

May 20, 2008

The NCAA released statistics on home attendance for the 2007-08 basketball season. Basically the top 15 teams from last season were all the same except for the position in the ranks. Memphis entered the top 15 while Michigan St. fell out.

There are several things that make looking at the stats interesting. Of the top 15, the only ones to go down in average attendance were Kentucky, North Carolina, Syracuse, Ohio St. and the Jays. Wisconsin and Illinois were exactly the same. Some shady number counting for the Big 10 I think. Hard for me to believe that with the ineptitude of Bruce Weber to coach Illinois this season that they still had the same home attendance. Not likely.

Probably what hurt the Jays numbers a little bit was the attendance of the final home game of the season, which was the NIT game against Rhode Island. With the NCAA Tournament in town later in the week, the late start, and it being a week night, that really brought attendance down for that game, but the true fans showed up for that game. The place was rockin’ more than anytime before. Unfortunately, the 9500+ that showed up for that game may be the actual fan attendance for the rest of the games. The other 6000 show up because it is the place to be and socialize. However, even without the Rhode Island game, the average attendance would have been 15,768 which still would have put the Jays behind Marquette.  Don’t get me wrong, being in the top 15 for attendance is quite a feat.

The fear for the future is this–with increases in ticket prices for next season and the failure to bring bigger name teams into the Qwest center just to have an additional home game, the fans can become complacent and the average attendance will continue to fall. Many will see some of the games that really are important, not that important because they have come accustomed to they Jays winning those games. I know the name of the competition shouldn’t be deciding factor in whether or not you attend a Creighton home game, but for some of the fickle fans of Omaha, the name of the competition makes a difference. Heck, for some people, they can’t even get to the game on time to fill the lower bowl. I don’t even want to mention those fans who leave at 8 minutes or 4 minutes left in the game. What is the point of going to the game if you don’t stay until the end? Do people really have somewhere they have to be to leave early? If you are concerned about getting out of the parking lot and getting home into your PJ’s and calling it a night, Omaha is nothing compared to bigger cities. To to Philly, LA or New York sometime. Then you can worry about traffic. In Omaha, we have the best thing in the world. We can see high quality events and still get there and leave with plenty of time to spare. I just hope the people of Omaha wake up and continue to support the Jays will full power instead of hopping on the bandwagon whenever they want.


Summer League, Scheduling and More

May 20, 2008

A few different things to touch on today that have been sort of developing over the past few days.

  • It was a pretty good article in the Omaha World Herald about recent Bluejay greats Nate Funk and Anthony Tolliver. It is great to see them have some success and still have fun on the court. What we all wouldn’t kill to play a fun thing like basketball for a living and make money. BTW, their team lost the second game of a best of 5 postseason series on Sunday, 83-78. AT had 23 points. Game three is scheduled for tonight (5/20) to see if they can keep their season going.
  • Here is a good piece of news: Creighton opponent for 08-09, St. Joseph’s, has selected Tim Klarich to be the Hawk mascot for the coming year. We remember that good ‘ol hawk as he flapped and flapped and flapped the night away. Apparently his brother was the Hawk for 2 seasons, 2001 to 2003. Be sure to “cheer” for Tim if you make the trek up to Philly this year for this game
  • Rumored opponent Akron is a player down after Rydell Brooks was arrested for attempted murder charges. Brooks has been removed from the basketball team and has been given a presidential suspension, which means he is still a student but cannot attend any athletic activities and is not permitted on campus. Brooks did not play last year as he transferred from Niagara. He averaged 4.7 points per game at Niagara as a freshman.
  • Other teams have been reporting their yearly problems of scheduling games since they are not BCS teams, but solid non-BCS teams that people don’t want to play. Air Force and Austin Peay are the latest. Air Force still has 6 games to fill. Austin Peay won the Ohio Valley Conference last season and lost to Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Their coach goes on to say, “(Putting the schedule together) is not going as smoothly as I would like for it to be going right now,” Loos said. “I can’t get a grip on it and give you a definite reason why, but the process has been a little slower and we’re having trouble getting games to be honest.”
  • Finally, we have reason to be excited about basketball in Omaha again as the Metro Summer Basketball League will be in full swing again. Games start on June 19th at Omaha South. The games will be on Thursdays with the final two weeks at Omaha Central. All of the current and new Jays are expected to take part as well as appearances by Nate Funk, Anthony Tolliver, Dane Watts, Ben Walker, Rodney Buford and other Creighton greats. League organizer Jason Isaacson is also organizing a website to keep people up to date on things going on. We are lucky to have this type of thing in the area and so well organized. Get out there and cheer on the Jays in the offseason!

I hope this information is helpful. Have a great day.


Scheduling, Scheduling, Scheduling–Why not these games?

May 15, 2008

This time of year is the great speculation of what kind of basketball schedule is going to be in store for next year. Each year the talk at the Bluejay Cafe is why Creighton doesn’t schedule certain games and that they want home games but can’t get anyone to play there, etc. etc. Bruce Rassmussen the Creighton Athletic director has mentioned several times that Creighton would like to play x number of home games and finding the right type of teams and schedule is important. Well, checking out Basketball Travelers today there are several potential “good games” that are available with teams begging to go on the road. The question is always, why doesn’t it work out? Well here are theses potential games that are out there as of the first part of May and why I think they would be good:

Iowa State University-Mens
Type: Game
Dates: 12/29/2008 to 12/31/2008

H/H series starting on the road in 2008.
Contact: Ron Smith, 515-294-9342
RonSmith@IaState.edu
Date Posted: 05/07/2008
Last Updated: 05/07/2008

Ok, so our friend, “The Wookie”–Greg McDermott a former UNI coach is heading up the Cyclones. I know he has several Valley teams because of the whole Iowa thing, but they do want to start on the road and it is not that far away. With gas so high in price, wouldn’t be good for them to play closer to home?

South Alabama-Mens
Type: Game
Dates: 11/01/2008 to 11/01/2008

Need two home and home series. One at home and one on the road.
Contact: Ronnie Arrow, 251-460-7353
rarrow@usouthal.edu
Date Posted: 04/27/2008
Last Updated: 05/06/2008

South Alabama is a school in a lower level league, but a consistent NCAA Tournament team. Why not an opportunity to notch a win against a potential NCAA Tournament team?

Ohio University-Mens
Type: Game
Dates: 11/01/2008 to 11/01/2008

Looking to start a H/H series the following Dates: 12/1 or 12/2, 12/16 – 12/18. Willing to start on the road!!!
Contact: John Rhodes, (740)593-1200
rhodesj@ohio.edu
Date Posted: 05/01/2008
Last Updated: 05/01/2008

Ohio was a pretty solid team last year that faltered down the stretch, but playing a MAC team is somewhat a decent thing, especially since Creighton has had problems with the likes of Kent State in the past. It would be a good “Midwest” game.

South Carolina-Mens
Type: Game
Dates: 11/17/2008 to 01/07/2009

Looking to start two home/home series, 1 on the road and 1 at home. Available Dates in November and December.
Contact: Sheldon Everett, 803-777-0544
everetts@sc.edu
Date Posted: 05/12/2008
Last Updated: 05/12/2008

It is not that often that a BCS school will willingly advertise that they want to go on the road. Well, SEC team South Carolina wants to. This would be a fun game just because of the whole BCS team thing. Maybe not the best SEC team, but at least it looks good on a NCAA resume.

U.S. Air Force Academy-Mens
Type: Game
Dates: 11/18/2008 to 12/31/2008

Need home games, guarantees available or start a series @ Air Force & return in 2009-10, also willing to start a series on the road
Contact: Dave Pilipovich, 719.333.3519
dave.pilipovich.ctr@usafa.edu
Date Posted: 02/25/2008
Last Updated: 05/08/2008

Air Force has been pretty consistent over the years and really the distance between the two schools isn’t too bad. Again, another gas situation.

Nevada-Reno-Mens
Type: Game
Dates: 11/29/2008 to 12/23/2008

Nevada is in search of a series to begin on the road either November 29, December 9, 22 or 23.
Contact: Zac Claus, 775-682-6949
zclaus@unr.edu
Date Posted: 05/05/2008
Last Updated: 05/14/2008

And finally, how about playing a series with Nevada? A re-match of the first round of the NCAA tournament matchup a couple of years ago. If I remember correctly, I think I remember coach Fox telling Matt Perrault when they were talking about the NCAA Tournament matchup about willing to play Creighton in a regular season series in the future. Time to put up or shut up in my opinion.

So, if anyone has any influence and thinks these are possible situations, I’d jump on it. The more experience the Jays get on the court with seasoned teams, the better they are prepared for the NCAA Tournament. And isn’t that the ultimate goal?