Around the Rim–7/15/09

July 15, 2009

Been pretty crazy lately with summer activities so I haven’t been able to do as much in-depth stuff as I would have liked to this summer.  Anyway today’s ATR is more of a link dump more than anything as a lot of these things have already been talked about or know about, but interesting nonetheless.

  • George Mason coach Jim Larranaga twittered on Sunday that MVC commish Doug Elgin and coach Dana Altman called to see if they could move the December 12th matchup to ’10-’11 but coach Larranaga said NO.   He has since removed those two entries from his Twitter, but makes you wonder what was going on.  I’m wondering if Creighton was trying to schedule a home game that weekend since there was no UNO hockey in town that weekend.
  • A big congratulations goes out to the Creighton Sports Information Office as they received 4 publication awards for the Volleyball and Men’s Basketball media guides from this past season.   Rob Anderson and the staff there do a great job for the program.  This is a great honor.    Here were the rest of the winners.   The Creighton department was also recognized by the conference this past season as the top SID office in the conference.  Great job.
  • The NCAA removed the “last 12 games” criteria from the NCAA Selection Committee’s toolbox starting this season.  I guess there was a point of confusion between the different members of the selection committee on the weight of the last 12 games.  Some people thought it was more important than others and the application of that tool was not consistent.  So while the last 12 games for most teams deal with Conference play, it will be interesting now to see if the non-conference schedules carry more weight now.
  • A Saluki fan that started a new site a few months ago came out with his opinion of the rankings of the basketball facilities in the MVC.  The Qwest Center tied with Wichita’s Koch Arena as the best in the league.  I’m not sure you can really put the two on the same line.  The blogger talks about the facility as well as the environment, though he only has the Saluki home court 6th in the list.  If you want to put environment over the actual facility, I think it would have been higher than Drake and Northern Iowa.    We will have to see where Evansville ranks in a couple of seasons with their new Arena.
  • An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this week about AAU teams and how players are being developed without fundamentals and focused more on what coaches want athleticly to be recruited.  College Basketball is starting to look more like the NBA and individuals rather than teams.  I wonder if AAU basketball is the crux in all of that.  At the same time the NCAA is really scrutinizing recruiting services.  I always wonder how Scout, Rivals and the like get away with how they have access to the players and influences without getting in trouble.
  • I will have to give props to the Omaha World Herald in the past few weeks as they have been heavily covering not only Creighton Basketball, but Creighton Athletics in general.  They have talked about the Ryan Center about how it could give more access to the Men’s team due to open practices over there  and some Soccer news.    With basketball, they have done features on P’Allen Stinnett, Cavel Witter, and others.However, because of the newly re-designed site, most of those articles are falling off the online site within a few days when new articles are put up there.  That is too bad.  There are some great features there and as more and more newspapers try to add more online features to draw more interest, it appears the OWH would rather people not read the newspaper on the internet and instead purchase the newspaper and cut out news clippings.  I guess that is a model to go, but could really give the Jays and people outside of Omaha more exposure.  I also figured since they were cutting off western Nebraska since they don’t deliver papers out there anymore better online information and access so those people could still keep in contact with Omaha.   But to each their own.
  • A website called “The Hoops Report” has started previewing their top 65 basketball teams for the upcoming season and have Creighton in at #61.  Interesting enough, I will be excited to see how well Kenton Walker does in the starting lineup…..obviously they didn’t get the memo on him.
  • Here’s an interesting way to introduce the non-conference schedule for basketball.  Marquette (who the Jays may play this season in the Old Spice Classic) started this week announcing 1 game each day and giving a little capsule of the team they are playing with the full schedule to be released by the end of July.
  • Finally, since it is a big recruiting period, here are some recent articles on players the Jays seem to be interested in:  Elliott Eliason, Ricky Kreklow, Jose Bonilla and Josh Gasser.
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Banter Recap and ATR–6/29/09

June 29, 2009

I figured today as I recap the Bluejay Banter radio show from yesterday, I would also throw in some links of interest in a little Around the Rim.

Bluejay Banter recap

  • A nice interview with Lance Wilkerson from Evansville TV and Radio.  I nice preview of the incoming players for the Purple Aces squad and their chances for next season.
  • Later in the show, Mary Simmons from Evansville took some time from a father/son camp to talk.  Very entertaining.
  • A great interview with Creighton Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen.  In the interview it appears within the next couple of seasons there is a good possibility of a home-home matchup with Vanderbilt and LSU.    There is also one game left to schedule for the Jays this season which is expected as Coach Altman likes to hold one game late to see if a high level team needs to fill a game late.  If necessary the Jays will go on the road for this game this season depending on the opponent available.    (With the Jays also already bringing back St. Joesph’s in 2010-11, the home schedule that season is starting to look quite favorable in 2010-11) Also a lot of great info with the new Ryan Center and the new baseball stadium stuff.

Around the Rim

  • Northern Iowa’s Lucas O’Rear has decided to stay at UNI for this upcoming season.  Very interesting the different scenario’s presented to him and UNI keeping him from going to another Valley school for baseball.
  • Gregggg Marshall seems to be pretty happy with what he as built and Wichita may be interesting for the next couple of seasons.
  • Summer workouts–with the Jays not in Summer League this season, the Jays are having their own private summer workouts, so it is hard to know how they are looking and I don’t know if media types or others are let in to see them play some pickup games.  However some have had looks at other teams.  See New Mexico (who the Jays play at The Pit this season) and Wichita St.
  • This was just funny to me.  See what the University of Iowa is doing to provide incentives for students to attend athletic events.   Lunchboxes and stickers?  Is this junior high?
  • The Jay’s odds to win the 2010 NCAA tournament?  Vegas has their say.
  • Coaches Twittering…Jim Les and Chris Lowery do it.   Marty Simmons might be next to join the Valley coaches who Twitter.  Any Creighton coaches?

Also, Booker Woodfox did not get drafted last week in the NBA draft.  Anyone know where he is headed for Summer League?  I would imagine he will get a shot on some NBA Summer League team.    Also Kyle Korver has until tomorrow to decide if he is staying in Utah or not.  Things I have heard say he is leaning toward staying.  Should be interesting.


St. Joseph Series Coming back

June 9, 2009

This past Sunday, the Bluejay Banter radio show had Joe Lunardi on.   Joe is ESPN’s Bracketologist, but also does broadcasts for St. Joseph athletics and is really tied into the program.  On the show it was mentioned by Mr. Lunardi that the Creighton/St. Joseph’s series will be starting up again in the 2010-11 season.  The games from the past two seasons have been fun and can benefit both teams come Selection Sunday.

Joe went on to say:

It is off this coming season 09-10, but has been renewed for 2 more years beginning the following season of ’10-11 and ’11-12, so I’ll be looking forward to a great steak dinner in Omaha in about a year and a half.

So it sounds like the series will start again in Omaha in 2010-11 and in Philly in 2011-12 at the remodeled Michael J. Hagan ’85 Arena.

Creighton won both games from the past two game series during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.  I think Creighton enjoys playing the A-10 teams as St. Joes and Dayton have been on the schedule the past few seasons.

Former Jay Nick Bahe was on the show as well and had a lot of insight on the new guys coming in and the offseason workout program.  It still appears he is really involved in the program.


Around the Rim–6/4/09

June 4, 2009

A few different things going on the past few days with the Jays and around the Valley.

  • Scheduling–Earlier this week, an Iowa St. message board, CycloneFanatic.com, mentioned that a local radio show in Des Moines was talking that the Jays have been working at securing a date at the Wells Fargo Center for the upcoming season assuming that it is for a neutral game against Iowa.   Now initially, I am skeptical that it would be for this season for these reasons:

    1)As it stands right now, Creighton goes on the road @Dayton, @George Mason, @New Mexico the Old Spice Classic in Orlando and 9 conference road games.  That leaves Creighton with the potential of having 15 home games this season–9 conference, Nebraska, Arkansas-Little Rock and from what I have been hearing a home Bracketbuster game.  That leaves Creighton with potentially 3 games that haven’t been assumed, plus an exhibition.  That is a total of 16 home games.  Last season there were 17 home games + the exhibition for 18 home games.  Though ticket prices were not raised this year (probably because of less home games), it is hard for me to imagine that the athletic department would take one of the 3 remaining  games on the schedule to be a neutral site game.  I’m not sure how many fans are going to potentially lose 3 home games from last year.

    2)You know that there are a couple of games to sort of get the team acclamated to each other, especially with 5 new players hitting the court.  So you schedule the Iowa neutral game and that leaves the SWAC to fill the remaining 2 games.  Not an absolutely stellar home schedule and people complained last year with an average home schedule.  Hate to see what happens now unless the tough road schedule sort of fills that gap.

    3)I could see this more as a preparation of some type of 3-game series with the first game starting in Omaha, 2nd year at Des Moines and then the 3rd year at the opponent home.  But then the Iowa Events Center is always looking for things to be at the Wells Fargo Center.

    I guess we’ll have to see on this one.  Seeing schedules take shape is always interesting in the offseason.  Rivals has part 2 of their series of behind the scenes of scheduling.   Then you have UMass. They are having some trouble filling their schedule too.

  • Former Recruits–Former Creighton recruit D’Angalo Jackson is on the move again.  He will be playing for Mississippi Valley St. this season.  This will be his 4th team in 4 seasons.  He spent the first half of his freshman year nursing an injury on the Jays squad and transferred at semester to Wisconsin-Green Bay to be closer to home.  He played in the second half of the next season, but still did not see the court like he wanted, so he surfaced at Arkansas-Fort Smith last season.  With two years of eligibiliy left, it is a strong possibility we will actually see D’Angalo set foot on the Qwest Center court as MVS almost seems like a regular staple on the Creighton schedule.
  • Arkansas revisited–Coach Altman’s name came up again in Arkansas this week as former player Patrick Beverly came out with a story how players on the basketball team were having papers written for them by other people.  As the Arkansas writers said, “John Pelphrey had absolutely nothing to do with Beverley cheating. Nothing. That was Beverley’s decision, but it makes more sense every day why Dana Altman bolted back to Creighton.”   So under Pelphrey’s watch in 2 seasons, 15 scholarship players have left the program through different means.   Can you imagine what Coach Altman would have to be dealing with right now?
  • Honors–Creighton AD Bruce Rasmussen had a great honor bestowed to him this week as the 2nd part of the Ryan Athletic Center will be named after Mr. Rasmussen.  The facility will be a great addition to an already nice looking complex with Morrison Soccer Stadium and the women’s Sokol Arena.
  • Omaha World Herald–The OWH has ramped up some nice Jays coverage over the past few weeks with the breaking Cavel Witter returning stories, 1 & 2 , the near misses with all of Creighton Athletics this year, the workouts of the team going on this summer, and the exclusive on Bruce Rasmussen’s honor.  Keep up the great work.
  • BluejayCafe–The original BluejayCafe disappeared this week and has now become part of the Rival’s scouting network.   A lot of nice interviews out there, but unless you want to drop some coin, you won’t be able to take part in them.
  • Bluejay Banter–Finally, if you haven’t checked it out yet, there is a new radio show on Omaha’s 1620 the Zone AM and 1620thezone.com on Sunday mornings that talks Creighton Bluejay Athletics.  The past few weeks they have had several great interviews.  This week, be sure to check out the show as they will have interviews with former Jay Nick Bahe and take some time to interview ESPN’s Bracketologist Joe Lunardi, which may also provide some insight to a future continuation of the St. Joeseph basketball matchups.   Be sure to check them out at 10AM on Sunday.  If you happen to miss the show, you can always visit Bluejaybanter.com to get the podcasts, but also the guys have been gracious enough to allow access to the podcasts from this site.  There is a Bluejay Banter section on the right side of this page to check out the latest podcasts.

As always, if there is anything you ever want to contribute or provide information, feel free to e-mail me at wildjaysATgmailDOTcom.


Around the Rim–5/1/09

May 1, 2009

So I was hoping for some interviews this week to post, but it appears it is not working out like I expected.  As I try again and also keep afloat with other things going on in life, here are some things of interest from this past week.

  • Incoming recruit Andrew Bock will be playing in the Academic All-American Classic on May 9th at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.   Playing with Bock is 6-foot-10 UCLA-bound Brendan Lane, who was on Rocklin, the Bock let Eisenhower team defeated to win the state championship in Sacramento.  Bock just missed being named California D-II player of the year from CalHiSports.com.   Lane beat him out for that.  Must be because Lane is going to UCLA.
  • If you want to see Anthony Tolliver and “Friends,” then sign up your K-8 child to participate in the 2nd annual Omaha Sports Academy’s Anthony Tolliver camp that runs July 27th-30th. Campers will experience a high interaction level with not only Anthony Tolliver, but also current and former D1 and D2 standouts.
  • Now that the Utah Jazz NBA season is over, it will be interesting to see if Kyle Korver stays in Utah or opts out of his contract.  I remember initially when he got traded to the Jazz from the 76ers, I was really dumbfounded why Utah?  But after seeing him play there the last year and a half, he looks like a natural fit there.  I see him staying.
  • When was the last time Jays fans received a personal letter from head coach Dana Altman?   I find it interesting that John Pelphrey sent out a letter to all Arkansas ticket holders to provide some very frank information about the team.  Now, the Razorbacks just hope they don’t lose a scholarship as the APR reports come out.   I am only mentioning this stuff because it could be Coach Altman that is in the situation that Pelphrey is in with the Arkansas basketball team.
  • Ryan Anderson from Nebraska declared for the NBA draft.  Wow.  Maybe he is being pushed out with all of the players Doc wants to play on scholarship next year.  Maybe the scholarship is being pulled out from Anderson, so he wants the NBA pre-draft experience to hopefully come back as a better player for them.  Keep an eye on this one.  He torched the Jays as a freshman.  Osiris Eldridge from Illinois St. is joining him.   Two thorns in the sides of the Jays.
  • Matt Perrault, who did a sports talk show in Omaha that had a lot of Jays coverage, has landed back on his feet at KXNO in Des Moines.  Now he can talk Drake basketball :)

In other Valley related things

  • Indiana St. coach and former Bluejay assistant Kevin McKenna will be coaching an Athletes in Action team this summer.  Dane Watts and Anthony Tolliver  participated on these teams in the past that go to other countries to play basketball but also teach the game of basketball to others in those countries.
  • Apparently the powers that be in Wichita like the job Gregg Marshall is doing down there as they extended his contract which will keep him around until 2015.   Marshall currently makes $750,000
  • This will be an interesting year for Bradley.  Jim Les signed all just out of high school players this season and no JUCO players.  Before this, 17 of his 33 recruits before this class were junior college or Division I transfers. I mentioned before that I think Les is on the hot seat this season, but he may have just gotten himself another year because he can use the excuse that he brought in 4 young players that he expected to contribute right away.
  • The brand new Diamond Head Classic that pretty much replaces the Rainbow Classic that the Jays played in a few years back has announced their field.   No MVC teams in that one.

Finally, check out a new radio show starting this Sunday covering Bluejay sports.  The Bluejay Banter show will be on Omaha’s 1620 the Zone radio station from 10-11AM on Sundays.  For those outside of Omaha, the stream will be available at 1620thezone.com and podcasted for listening later. The first show will feature Steve Pivovar from the OWH and Kevin Sarver from Creighton athletics.


Around the Rim–4/14/09

April 14, 2009

After a little break, I am excited to start doing some posts again.  Here are some thing of possible interest over the past couple weeks:

  • It is that time of year for transfers.  Obviously, people are aware of the Cavel Witter situation and the possible Kenton Walker situation.  I’ll probably post more later on those.   But the Jays aren’t the only Valley team losing and adding players.  UNI was probably the only team spared at this point which will make them tougher next year.  The Pantagraph has a good rundown of who has left so far.  I’m betting things aren’t done yet with this stuff so stay tuned.
  • As far as coaches, it looks like the Jays are still going to hang on to Brian Fish as he did not get the head coaching job at North Florida.
  • The Creighton/Kentucky game still gets talked about, especially since Gillespie was let go.  With Kentucky hiring John Calipari, I’ll be interested to see if Memphis will still be a power to reckon with or if this was the final blow to the “Mid-Major” programs to have any prominence in the NCAA Tournament with the large conference schools continuing to be “preferred”  Apparently the preference of having large conference teams play in the Tourney this year garnered good ratings.
  • The Jays play at Dayton this coming season and of course they have the same scheduling problems that the Jays have but sound like they have a decent schedule this season.    The Jays have a great tourney in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando over Thanksgiving.  Last season, all 8 teams in the tourney made the postseason including 6 into the NCAA Tournament.
  • Creighton recruit Andrew Bock continues to garner awards getting Player of the Year honors out in California, a John R. Wooden Player of the year and just missed getting California’s Mr. Basketball.   I can see why Cavel Witter wanted to solidify his position for next season as it looks like Antoine Young and Andrew Bock could pretty much solidify the point guard position and I bet Cavel didn’t want to come off the bench again playing the SG.  But once again, fans are going to put the pressure on a new player (Bock) early with high expectations going into the season.
  • I don’t know if people noticed the half empty arenas during the NCAA Tournament, but the Valley has to feel proud that in their postseason ventures in the NIT, CBI and CIT tournaments as they were involved in a lot of the games with the most attendance including the Jays running away with the top attendance figure of the tournaments.
  • This player has commitment phobia.  Just thought it was an interesting story.
  • Speaking of recruiting, an interesting story out of NC State last week where the NCAA has thrown a hissy-fit over a student starting a Facebook group to try and entice top recruit John Wall to consider going to NC State and that by doing this it is breaking NCAA rules.   As Matt Perrault would say….Really??    If that is the case, then every message board and every Rival’s type recruiting sites needs to be shut down because that talks about recruiting on all of those boards and message boards have several posters that type comments or articles including comments that are exactly the same as this Facebook group.  The NCAA says it wants to have a “level” playing field for every team.  Well that is a bunch of bunk because major recruits will still go to the large schools.  Geez…the NCAA can continue to live in this black hole and be very subjective about their opinions on things.  This is the same group who doesn’t want a football playoff because it would take the kids out of school too much but can take a group of kids out of school for 4 straight weeks because of the Basketball tourney.  The same group that is OK with having Rick Pitino or Mike Krzyzewski doing commercials during games of the NCAA Tournament or during the season, but says it doesn’t give them an advantage in recruiting.  Just keep lying to yourself.  Rush the Court has their own nice view of all this stuff.
  • Finally, there was a little hub-bub during the season about former UNI Athletic Director, Rick Hartzell refereeing games in the Valley.   He may very well be back in the AD seat again at a Valley school.  He has expressed interest in the open AD job at Missouri St.  in the Springfield Leader and has actually applied and interviewed for the job according to the Des Moines Register.   But if he does get the job, will he continue to do referee games in the NCAA?  Not sure how he handled the pressures of both while at UNI.  We’ll have to see.

I hope to post some more things tonight or in the next few days.  The offseason is definitely a different animal for people.  BTW, Creightonjoey has some updates in the Recruiting section and will have some additional updates in the next week.  Oh, and also, I didn’t post on this before, but I think it was a travesty that McClinton won the 3-point contest the other week.  Most of his makes, his foot was over the line, but they still counted him.  Maybe I am just sore that Booker didn’t make it to the next round.  Anyway,  good luck to Booker Woodfox in his future endeavors.


The One that Got Away

March 24, 2009

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Box Score

The night started a little eerie as we made our way into the Qwest Center and the sirens were going off for a Tornado Warning for the area.  As that was happening, I was wondering if it was Kentucky since I remember the last post season they endured tornadoes at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in the SEC tournament.  It sort of made people wonder if the game would start as scheduled.  They finally had us all file into the arena and the storm had passed and the game started as scheduled.

The game was everything it was built up to be.  Both teams came out with a lot of energy and the crowd was loud the whole game.  The Jays played so hard and fought their way to a hard fought halftime lead.  Things were going their way.  They held Jodie Meeks to 3 points at halftime and sent Patrick Patterson to the bench early with 2 quick fouls.

P’Allen Stinnett, Antoine Young, Cavel Witter and even Booker Woodfox was denying Meeks the whole game, but it was a basket with about 10 seconds left that could have gone either way as a charge or a block.  Woodfox had the shot to win it at the end and just missed and the Wildcats escaped the Qwest Center with a 65-63 win.   The Jays had their chances to put the game away but missed 5-6 free throws in the last few minutes and it slipped away.

Booker Woodfox finished his Creighton career with 18 points in the game.  However, fans will still get to see him one more time as he participates in the 3-point contest on Final Four weekend in Detroit.  He will be missed.  Josh Dotzler the other Senior fouled out, but had 6 big assists and made some great plays in only playing 16 minutes due to the foul trouble.

There is a lot to look forward too for next year.  Justin Carter was all over the court getting 14 rebounds and 8 points and just seemed to be everywhere.  He had a great steal against Jodie Meeks late in the game, but missed both free throws to try and extend the lead.  However, his play this season has been great and there is a lot of great things to look forward to from him for next season.   Along with Carter, having P’Allen, Kenny Lawson, and all of the bench returning next season, this will be a veteran team and playing these type of games will prepare them to get excited about the seemingly tougher schedule next season.

Though we were disappointed with the loss, you can’t really complain about the effort.  This team has had some roller coaster times throughout the season, but you can tell how much they have grown as well.  Looking forward to next season.