By Jon Rothstein
» More Columns
Creighton was ranked in the Top 25 in the preseason and considered one of the better mid-majors in the country because of Doug McDermott.
The 6-8 forward is one of the most versatile players in college basketball and a legitimate contender for national player of the year.
But as productive as McDermott is (21.3 PPG, 7.1 RPG), his teammate Grant Gibbs has also had a major impact on the Bluejays’ impressive 7-1 start.
The 6-5 Gibbs has excelled in a “point forward” role for Creighton, dishing out 48 assists and committing only seven turnovers in the Bluejays’ first eight games of the season.
“It’s incredible what he’s done,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said of Gibbs. “He’s in a position to make so many decisions that you’d think he’d make more mistakes but he doesn’t. That’s his game. He’s always had unbelievable vision. He’s not as quick as he used to be because he’s battled some injuries but he’s still a really cerebral player.”
Gibbs’ savvy and intelligence has also allowed McDermott to slowly bring along Austin Chatman, who’s in his first year as the team’s starting point guard.
“Grant has taken some pressure off Austin,” McDermott said. “Austin is playing some really good basketball in his own right (8.8 PPG, 4.8 APG) but having Grant really helps him.”
It’s tough not to be impressed with the Bluejays. Creighton has one of the better power forward-center combos in the country with Doug McDermott (son of Greg) and Gregory Echenique along with one of the nation’s better shooters in Ethan Wragge, who has made 23-of-46 three-point attempts so far this season.
With wins already over Wisconsin, Arizona State, and Saint Joseph’s, Creighton is building a strong resume, one that figures to only keep improving as long as this team keeps defending at a high level. In the first eight games of the season, the Bluejays have only once given up more than 74 points.
“We’re not blessed with a lot of good individual defenders,” Greg McDermott said. “We have to be good defensively as a team if we want to have a chance to win.”