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.

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JC Came Through

January 27, 2009
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Kenton Walker with a nice block in the first half

Box Score

No, it wasn’t that JC, but there might have been some divine intervention tonight to help the Jays win tonight against Indiana St. 73-62 .  It was the emergence of Justin Carter.  As is the case with many JUCO players coming into the Bluejay program, it is this time of year that these players start to be the difference maker.  The one you can depend on down the stretch.  Justin was all over the court tonight and seemed like he was around for every rebound.  His line for the night–17 points, 6-7 from the field, 2-3 from three, 3-4 from the free throw line, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 assists in only 23 minutes of play.

The other side of the coin was the view of Creighton’s future in Antoine Young.  Young is continuing to press, seems to be a step faster than everyone else and not afraid to take it to the rim.  He has been playing more and more minutes with 24 tonight.  He had 12 points, but his 8 points in the first half is what kept the Jays going when no one else wanted to shoot the ball and looked tentative in playing.  Understandable I guess after the horrible shooting on Saturday.   But man, Antoine looks like he could be someone to lead this team down the stretch and if he continues to play like he is, then Cavel Witter and Josh Dotzler will see fewer minutes, though it does appear that Coach likes to use 2 of the 3 on the court at the same time.  I know Josh doesn’t like to shoot, but unfortunately in some games he becomes ineffective because the opponents won’t cover him outside of 15 ft. and he will not be able to drive to the basket and kick out.

Overall, the Jays had 4 players in double figures with P’Allen Stinnett and Booker Woodfox being the other two.  However, it took P’Allen until about 8 minutes left in the game to get things going by getting 1 of his 3 rebounds off a missed free throw and an off balance put back.  He then reeled off a bunch of points over the next couple minutes and ended the game with a nice dunk, though a little excessive hanging that led to a technical.  Booker had an up and down night, but hit some key shots throughout the game that kept things going.

Casey Harriman hit two straight wide open 3-pointers in the second half and again fought in the paint for rebounds.

Kyle Whelliston (of Midmajority.com and ESPN fame) was supposed to be in the stands tonight and I thought it was in the front row somewhere.  I tried to find him, but I don’t think it was him.  But, otherwise some random guy can get excited that he has his picture posted.  Oh well.  Anyway, this had to be a weird game for him to watch and probably not at all what he was expecting to see.  I guess we can explain it that this team kind of played like it has all season and had enough this time to come out with the win.  There are things I could be critical of, but I’m just happy they got a win.  If we have to win ugly, then we can roll with it.  Hopefully we can see the Jays continue to improve as they finish the homestand against Missouri St. before the Super Bowl.  Should be fun.

Oh, and Qwest Center personnel–Thanks.  I noticed the sound was noticeably louder tonight.  Though I don’t know if it was because you turned it up or if all the empty seats helped the sound resonate a little better.

And the student section—Sorry excuse for basically no-showing tonight along with Billy Bluejay not being there.  Whoever was supposed to be Billy today needs to be taken off the list.   The students aren’t supposed to be fairweather fans, but I guess the haughty-taughty students can’t support their classmates when they need it the most.  Thanks a lot student section.  I threw up newspaper for you tonight.


Gametime Primer: Jays vs. Indiana St.

January 26, 2009

creighton Vs.  indiana-st

Tuesday, January 27th, 7PM
Qwest Center Omaha

Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or Bigsports590.com
TV: Nebraska NET-2 (Cox Channel 16)
Free Video Streaming Available

Creighton Game Notes | Indiana St. Game Notes

Audio to Listen To
Coach Dana Altman (BS 590)
Coach Kevin McKenna (BS 590)
Poor reffing over the weekend (1620 The Zone)

Other Previews
Jays Must go back to Basics (OWH)
Turnovers Plague Indiana St. (Tribstar)

The Jays are trying to rebound from a cold shooting performance and lack of effort Saturday against Drake. Of course it is another matchup against coaching friends and coaching partners in Coach Altman and Coach McKenna.  In most instances, the Jays have been able to come out with a much better performance after a performance like Saturday.  But, I am not in a prediction kind of mood at this point.  It isn’t worth the time and effort.  However, I am a bit superstitious.  Obviously the home court has not been nice to the fans and to the Bluejays as of late.  As fans we need to look to see what we can change up to try and get things going again.  We can’t put the ball in the basket, so we do what we can control.  So it is time to change things up.   Here are the things I would like to see different in Tuesday’s game:

  • Instead of stopping the clock before the game starts at 14.3 seconds, I think it needs to be 10.8 in honor of the 108 days since practice started and where we are at in the season.
  • When the starting lineups are announced, what do you think it would be like to see the whole Qwest Center do the newspaper thing that the student section does? In the past few games I have noticed a couple sections around the student section and “The Perch” taking part.  It is time for others in other sections to get their section to take part.  As long as the OWH is nice enough to hand us papers, it looks good flying through the air.
  • A plea to Qwest Center Video and Sound people—TURN UP THE VOLUME……Some of the advertisements are louder than the Tunnel Walk video, tip off video and timeouts.
  • I think it is time for the return of the Under Armor video on “Protecting This House.”  I think the Jays players need that pleasant reminder.
  • Can we get pyros or fireworks in the Qwest Center like they had at the Civic the final season?
  • Have no one touch the game ball except for the World Herald ball kid.  The scoring table needs to keep their hands off of it.
  • Have the fans that really want to be there show up.  Nay-sayers can stay at home.  They can watch it on TV or online for free.  It is on Nebraska Public Television.
  • I hope to see players diving on the floor for loose balls and defensive pressure picked up.  Better 3-point percentage.  Can’t be too hard to get that, right?
  • Kevin McKenna not wearing a sweater vest. The 80’s have called and want their wardrobe back.  Oh, I guess we don’t have control of that.
  • Choose #2 for the Bowling Party game.
  • A former Bluejay sighting on the Big Screen.  There has to be at least one former Jays player sitting in the stands that could get the crowd a little excited.
  • I’d like to see the Jays Dancers put their hair down.   Now that would be hot.
  • What happened to Dancing Grandpa?  Maybe I have missed it, but I don’t think I have even seen him this season.
  • Get a guy out there that can actually putt and get the ball in the Borsheim’s gift box.
  • Referees that don’t decide the game.
  • A win so that the Bluejay Cafe can calm down.
  • A good night of sleep.

What am I forgetting?

Oh well, this was kind of fun.  The Jays will go home winners Tuesday night—They have to.  I just won’t predict how much.  I’d be wrong.  I’m still a supporter and will be.  I’m not ready to give up my tickets


Picking up the Slack

January 2, 2009

Ed. Note–I had planned on posting something the other day after the game, but I had a little too much fun on New Year’s Eve and I was too tired yesterday to post anything.  However I guess the good news is that I found out I will be going to the Valley Conference Tourney this year.  Woo Hoo.  Good times.

Box score

You knew it was going to happen sooner or later, Booker Woodfox was going to have an off shooting game.  The question was, “Who was going to pick up the slack.”  Well I think we found that out on Wednesday as P’Allen Stinnett broke out of his offensive slump and put on a shooting clinic for the Sycamores scoring 20 points (18 from 3) including a crazy shot at the end of the first half that sort of said that it was going to be his day.

Then couple that with Cavel Witter’s performance at the point with Josh Dotzler saddled with fould trouble all day and the return of Chad Millard hitting a couple of 3-balls down a critical stretch.  You sort of see how this team has evolved since the losses at Little Rock and Lincoln.  This is a different team.

The three-point shooting was just amazing as they were 151-24 from 3 and if you take out Booker’s 2-6 day from 3, the Jays were an amazing 13-18.  The other great thing is that the Jays took the lead on the road and held on to it.  That didn’t happen earlier this season.

There are a lot of things going right for the Jays right now and hopefully it will continue this weekend against Illinois St.  They are a little full of themselves right now and not afraid to talk about it.   I guess we’ll see if the Jays can take that too heart and see if the Redbirds are the paper tiger they are setting themselves up to be.


Gametime Primer:Jays vs. Indiana St.

December 30, 2008

creightonindiana-st

Wednesday, December 31, 1PM
Hulman Center

Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or Bigsports590.com
TV: None, Video Streaming Available

Creighton Game Notes | Indiana St. Game Notes

Audio to Listen To
Coach Dana Altman (BS 590)
Coach Kevin McKenna (BS 590)

Other Previews
McKenna’s Sycamores Hope to Grow (OWH)
Richard Emerges in ISU Victory (Trib Star)
League Favorite Jays on tap for ISU Men (Trib Star)

The Jays got a nice win to kick off MVC play against Wichita St., but begin a tough stretch of 3 out of the next 4 games on the road. This could establish the Jays as the team to beat if they are successful in this swing.    First off is the scary game against Indiana St.  Here is what we need to know about Indiana St.

  • The season started out horribly for the Sycamores with a couple of unexpected things.  Their expected returning scorer Marico Stinson abruptly decided to leave and their point guard Harry Marshall was academically ineligible to start the season.  However with Marshall now back, the Sycamores are 2-2.
  • Since coming back, Marshall is leading the team in scoring at 16 pts. a game and playing 37 minutes a game.
  • Jay Tunnel, Rashad Reed and Aaron Carter (of Backstreet Boys fame) also average double figures in scoring.
  • Creighton has lost the last 2 games at Indiana St.
  • The teams have played at least one game decided by 8 points or less in each of the last 15 years.
  • Indiana State’s 3-point percentage is better so far this season (36.3%) than it has ever been and are making more 3 point shots per game.
  • The Sycamores average 61 points a game while giving up 71.

Playing in Terre Haute on New Year’s Eve.  Boy what a way to spend the holiday.  I can see why there is no TV for this one.  I wouldn’t want to spend my New Year’s Eve with this game.  Creighton has a bad history with Terre Haute.  3 of the last 5 have been lost there.  After ISU getting that double-overtime win on the road at Northern Iowa, this team will be fired up.  Plus with the coaching friends Dana Altman and Kevin McKenna, you know they would both like to come out of there with a win.

This has the makings of a dangerous game, but one that could be very winnable.  The difference in this team since the start of the season is the return of Harry Marshall.  He seems to be leading this team like many expected at the beginning of the season.  The key to this one will be to shut him down, maybe get him into foul trouble, and just take him out of the game.  If the Jays can do that, then they will win easily.

Though Indiana St. is 3-9, this could be a good win for the Jays.  Indiana St.’s strength of schedule is 123 while Creighton’s is 236.  I guess we’ll have to see.  Any road win in conference play is a good win.  They just can’t get caught in the trap of looking forward to Illinois St.

So while I am listening to this game on the radio and getting primed for New Year’s Eve and celebrating my wedding anniversary, I think it will be a great day for Creighton basketball.   I look forward to see how Justin Carter performs in his first conference road trip.  Can Booker Woodfox keep up his amazing shooting percentage?  Who will be the step-up player in this game?  Josh Dotzler has been quite efficient this season and is holding the glue together for this team more than anyone give him credit for.  This season is a season of redemption for the Jays and it starts with Indiana St.  There are too many players on this team from last season to let them lose three in a row in Terre Haute.  That hasn’t happened since 1992-94.   And winning 13 of the last 16 games in the series, this looks like a solid road win.

Prediction:  Jays 71, Indiana St. 60