11.11.2010 / Excitement is Building for the Season Kick-Off of Creighton Basketball this Friday. Posting by Brian Kooienga, Creighton Mens Basketball Graduate Manager

After a great exhibition game victory against an extremely tough and competitive Northern State team last Thursday, the guys had a good couple days of practice and took Sunday off. With another strong week of practice this week, there is little doubt that the players, coaches, and staff are all extremely excited to begin this season on Friday Night!

"With another strong week of practice this week, there is little doubt that the players, coaches, and staff are all extremely excited to begin this season."

Exhibition Game Wrap Up: The exhibition game was a great start to the season by allowing everyone to get some minutes, shake off the rust, and get acclimated to playing on the big stage. All of the freshmen were extremely excited to finally have the chance to put on their home jersey and play their first game in a Creighton uniform at the Qwest Center.
With every home game, there are certain traditions and rituals that the players have to get themselves ready. A specific drink, routine, or having a specific warm-up pattern are all examples. Senior center, Kenny Lawson held true to his tradition of being the first player to the locker room and was (and always is) the first one on the court. All of the freshman, completely unaware of the amount of time they are allowed to warm-up, showed up soon after and then realized that unlike high school, there are no games prior to theirs and they can simply warm up and get shots up whenever they want.
Freshmen Kody Ingle and Jahenns Manigat got dressed and were completely warmed up and ready to go before 6 PM, their excitement and eagerness quickly spread throughout the locker room as game time approached. After the awesome tip-off videos and starting line-ups were announced, the game was finally ready to tip-off. A scrappy Northern State team gave us everything we wanted and more and taught us a lot about how far along we are as a team, and how far we have to go. Doug McDermott paced the team with 18 points, good enough for the most points by a freshman in an exhibition debut since Rodney Buford. Some other cool notes about the game: Coach McDermott is now 18-0 in exhibition games as a head coach. Also, when senior Wayne Runnels was on the floor, Creighton outscored Northern State by 22 points!

Season Prediction: After what was, a relatively newsworthy and busy off-season in Creighton standards, the arrival of November and the official start of basketball season has arrived. In what many believe will be one of the more highly anticipated seasons in recent history by Bluejay fans everywhere. With a strong core of seniors looking to leave their mark on a program that has seen its fair share of peaks and valleys over their time at Creighton, the stage is set for a memorable senior year.

Led by MVC Preseason Player of the Year in Kenny Lawson, this team has unlimited potential. Kenny has worked extremely hard in the off-season and has prepared his mind and body for what should be another strong season for the California native.

Playing next to Kenny for the 5th year in a row, Casey Harriman is also one of the more experienced players returning this year. Sidelined by nagging injuries over the past few seasons, the former Iowa High School leading scorer is looking to step into a bigger role of leadership for the incoming freshman, both on and off the court. 

One of the players looking forward to forgetting last season’s miscues and struggles is another Iowa native, Kaleb Korver. After searching to find his shot all of last year, summer workouts and fall exercises have shown that Korver has worked extremely hard to find his shot again and getting ready for new the season, while maturing into a leader and key piece to this team’s success.

Also joining Korver on the wing are fellow seniors Darryl Ashford and Wayne Runnels. Ashford is looking to grow upon last seasons inconsistencies and has really gotten a lot tougher both physically and mentally from hard work in the weight room. 

After an unbelievable start to his Creighton career, Wayne Runnels struggled with handling some of the difficulties that nearly all junior college players encounter in their transition to D1 basketball. Fueled by a chance at a fresh start and a strong senior campaign, Wayne has worked hard in the off-season to get into peak physical condition while focusing on getting back to the fundamentals, which will allow him to play nearly anywhere the coaching staff sees a need for him.
As far as the media is concerned, they have picked Creighton to finish anywhere from second to fifth and have predicted post season play all the way from making the big dance (NCAA tournament) down to staying at home and watching it from the couch. In an effort to not give any teams out there any locker room/message board material, I will not be making any predictions, but I believe that if we play to our potential, this season has every opportunity to be something extremely special. 

Alabama State Preview:
Alabama State comes into the season opening game coming off a good season in 2009-2010. Returning two starters and nine others off the bench, this team certainly does not lack experience at the Division One level. Led by head coach Lewis Jackson, Alabama State has made appearances in the NCAA Tournament and the NIT in the last 5 years. The key player to keep an eye on is Tramaine Butler. Butler averaged 10 points per game and nearly 5 rebounds per contest. The junior guard, was a highly touted recruit to the Alabama State program, and is looking to take on more leadership and responsibility this season. 

This should be a great game that will be fun for all fans. Let the season begin!

Next Week Preview:

  • Get to know the assistant coaches
  • Interviews: Kenny Lawson and Wayne Runnels
  • Northern Arizona Preview

Go Jays! Brian Kooienga

Do you have any early season predictions for the Jays? Join in the conversation NOW and post your comments. We look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on the new era of CU Basketball.

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