Bluenotes has published (close only counts in:) Horseshoes and Hand Grenades a couple of times. Also put out a piece on stretching the limits of our limitations.
Here is George the Poet, from London, UK with his video poem on “Impossible”. You may recognize yourself within this piece. For all our Bluejay “realists” and pragmatists. Enjoy!
Gonna be one interestingly short season of hoops in 2020-21.
Ty-Shon Makes the NBA Combine Cut!
Creighton Jr SG Ty-Shon Alexander has made the NBA Combine cut for 2020. He received an invite in the 1st round (60 player invites) on Sunday, July 26, 2020. Congrats Ty-Shon! Bear down and show ’em. Your dream is within reach – Go for it!
Back in the day, the road to collegiate play for Black athletes lay in the small, segregated Black colleges and universities. Tuskegee, FAMU, Grambling, Southern, Hampton, Alcorn, NCCU, Howard, Morehouse, etc., etc. Many such athletes went on to become legends in the black communities. So-called Jim Crow laws were still in effect across the U.S., so black schools played for their own championships as they weren’t allowed to play against the white schools. In football and basketball a sprinkling of those “mythical” Black Championship games still exist today.
Black and other minority basketball players began to trickle into Catholic universities and others in the 50’s and 60’s. Some (Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlin, Paul Silas, others) went on to the professional leagues.
Generally speaking there was a spot for 1 or 2 non-white players at several schools. But most major colleges & universities did not accept black players. The unspoken color bar was not officially broken until Don Haskins’ 1965-66 Texas Western University (now UTEP) team, with 5 black starters, won the NCAA Championship. After that historic event Black players began to be widely accepted at the major college level.
Remember, that the legendary UK Coach Adolph Rupp, a “guardian of the game”,
Perhaps Rupp’s most memorable game was a loss, a 72-65 defeat in the 1966 NCAA finals. Texas Western was the first team with five African-American starters to win the national title, and its victory over an all-white Kentucky team carried social significance, especially during the 1960s civil rights struggles.
Nowadays, one can hardly squeeze in a white player on UK’s men’s hoops teams.
Here, fifty-four years after Texas Western’s championship, 56 years after the Voting Rights Act of 1964, and the perennial “open season” on Black lives in the United States, we may be at a turning point. There is a renewed black protest movement afoot in the U.S. and it has captured the hearts and minds of people worldwide. It is even influencing the thought processes of HS basketball recruits, some of whom espouse the notion of returning “home” to HBCU’s.
Young Makur Maker, a top 20, five-star recruit in the class of 2020, is perhaps setting the tone and starting a trend. While other top recruits have occasionally opted for Mid-Major schools over the elite and the state univerisities, Makur is the 1st top level recruit to commit to an HBCU in the modern era. Hailing from Sudan, via Australia and Los Angeles, Maker selected Howard University, in Washington, DC early today (Friday, 3 July 2020). Makur is hoping to begin a migration of top Black recruits back to predominantly Black colleges and universities, in recognition of the current protest movement for racial equality in the United States. One can only hope that this is in fact the case, that this is the beginning of a migration of the top minority HS sports talent back to the HBCU’s.
M Maker Hillcrest Prep photo
Mikey Wms @WhosNextHS photo
If such a trend develops it could see changes in not only the movement of top talent to HBCU’s, but a shift in the NCAA participation level for said universities. Furthermore, we should see a migration of shoe company monies to said HBCU’s as well, as their newfound talent base will vastly improve on-the-court performance across the board.
If 50% of the Top 25 talent and an overall 50% of the Top 150 talent in hoops were to move to traditional Black schools, one can expect an increase of NCAA participation of 200-300% over the current levels of 1 autobid school, based on the uptick in winning percentages and annual records. Many such schools “hit the road” in the hoops non-conference slate to pay the bills at their schools. Should these schools generally become competitive and begin to win the majority of their non-conf “buy games”, the college hoops landscape changes. If the MEAC and SWAC were to put 2-3 schools annually in the dance, while the CIAA and SIAC put one school annually in the dance, that would take 4-6 NCAA bids away from Mid-Majors and middling major schools in the top tier. Taking an additional 4-6 bids from the power schools is unconscionable, negating all the hard work the power conferences have put in over the years to siphon off all excess NCAA bids to their coffers.
With top name talent onboard the HBCU train, it follows that some of the billions in shoe company monies will follow. As MEAC and SWAC schools prosper on-the-court, so too will the schools prosper in the TV and Rights game as well. The sports public will want to see the top talent play and not want to merely wait for the NCAA Tourney to see them. While not in high $100 millions or $200 millions as with Kansas or UCLA, HBCU’s will see an major uptick in both their TV and shoe company contracts.
Such a migration would be good for the college games. Siphoning off a significant portion of top talent would become an equalizer in sports. No longer would a mere handful of “elite” schools have a stranglehold on NCAA Titles, but they would no longer have the talent to reel off strings of gaudy annual w/l records. Spreading the top talent across a broader spectrum of schools would have a leveling effect on the big schools. As such, the realistic possiblities for winning a national championship would increase from the current 10 schools to upwards of 50 schools. The deck would become less “stacked” against the non-elite schools.
Here’s hoping for Maker and his peers to follow through and set a trend of top recruits committing to HBCU’s. Here’s hoping for a trend of spreading the recruiting wealth around towards making a more level playing field in Div 1 Basketball (and football too). And here’s hoping the current protests for racial equality bear real and significant progress for all minority folk in the USA. It’s the least to ask for after nearly 500 years (1524 AD) of slavery and inequality in the United States.
Congrats to Makur Maker on his choice of Howard University. An excellent decision.
PG Devin Davis joins Creighton, on a Business Scholarship, as a Preferred Walk-on
Creighton picked up another 2020 commitment on Saturday. Chicago Point Guard Devin Davis selected Creighton for his college career. Devin has won a full ride business scholarship from Creighton’s Heider College of Business. He has elected to become a Preferred Walk-On member of the Men’s Basketball team.
Davis is a 6´/160 PG, known as a scoring PG. He is a Chicago Sun Times All-City (Top 20) selectee for 2020. Devin played for Chicago Westinghouse HS and as a senior he averaged 21pts, 4 assists, 4 rebounds a game.
Matt DeMarinis posted about Devin’s commitment and also found a great highlight video of Devin’s Senior season.
Devin along with Jett, while on the smaller side, are both capable point guards to have in reserve. Given our injury history it is preferable to have men like Devin and Jett who can ably contribute to the team when needed.
Welcome to the Hilltop Devin. We’re happy to have you as part of the team.
Bluejay Banter and WBR (Bluejay Underground) Interview Ryan Nembhard.
This has been a bit of a worldwind. Ryan commited on Saturday and much has been written about his commitment on both the national and local levels. Our resident boards – Bluejay Banter and White and Blue Review have now posted interview articles as well. Both interviews offer some insights into the Nembhard family’s evaluation process and thinking, relative to the short turnaround in his commitment timeline. Nice.
Creighton received a pleasant surprise yesterday with the early commitment of Canadian standout point guard Ryan Nembhard. Ryan has received a bucketful of collegiate offers and many had assumed his selection process would continue into the fall, given the lack of visits due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
Ryan has drawn a lot of interest his play over this past year, with several schools in the mix. His play in last June’s FIBA U16 Championships opened the eyes of many of the experts. Nembhard followed that up with sterling play this year in helping Monteverde Academy to the #1 spot in High School ball.
“With that, he’s drawn tons of college interest and offers. Many of whom would’ve taken him for either class but will now obviously accept the fact that he moved up one class.
“Stanford, Seton Hall, USC, Arizona State, (Florida, Ohio State) are among those involved,” he said. Also mentioned some new programs involved which include Creighton, Gonzaga and Maryland.” – Jake Weingarten, StockRisers
“The 6-foot-1 guard is a quick and tough-nosed prospect at the point of attack that makes everyone around him better. He brings great composure and a pace for the game, and is more than capable of defending the opposing team’s best ballhandler.” – Corey Evans, Rivals
Claude Nembhard (Dad) discussed the decision. “I just think that he is mature enough and he is ready. He has been playing up and has never really played his age. He belongs in the 2021 class and academically, he is really good so there is no need in prolonging it,” he said.
“Ryan is one of the premier guards in America at both pushing the ball in transition and putting pressure on the ball-handler full court,” Montverde coach Kevin Boyle said. “He’s a great student and leader.”
All indications point to the Jays picking up a great PG in Ryan and an excellent reload guy for the 2021 season. Ryan is an excellent start to the 2021 class. Way to go Coach Mac!
The Jays strike early with their initial 2021 commit. Monteverde Academy’s Junior PG Ryan Nembhard (4-Star) commited today to Creighton University. Coach Mac and staff have been recruiting Ryan since the Spring of this year. Ryan had moved up to the 2021 Class earlier this year. He (Ryan) took a virtual visit to the Hilltop in May, but according to an article on Stockrisers an early commit was not expected. https://stockrisers.com/2020/05/12/four-star-junior-ryan-nembhard-talks-recruitment/
“I just felt like from the jump I had a great relationship with coach McDermott and the rest of the coaching staff,” he said. “They also have a great play style that really fits me. I feel like I can contribute early and get a lot better with there player development.”
The Jays had been looking for another point guard for 2021 to augment the potential loss of Marcus Zegarowski after this season. Now they have 2 in Ryan Nembhard and 2020’s Rati Andronikashvili. Andronikashvili, at 6-5 can play both guard spots.
Nembhard is a great pickup for Creighton and their first for 2021. The Jays have 2 more open scholies for 2021, three if Zegarowski leaves early. The 2021 recruiting cycle has the makings of a great class for the Jays and the Ryan Nembhard commitment gets this class off to a great start. Congrats to Coach Mac and staff for their tireless work in securing Ryan for the Hilltop.
Bluejay seniors pose with coach Eddie Sutton on October 12, 1973. Top Row, from left: Gene Harmon, Ted Wuebben, Ralph Bobik. Bottom row, from left: Jim “Bimbo” Pietro, Richie Smith and Sutton. PHIL JOHNSON/THE WORLD-HERALD Creighton University basketball. October 12, 1973
Coach Sutton followed a Creighton Legend, the late great, Coach John J. “Red” McManus, as the 10th Head Basketball Coach in the Jays lineage. Eddie Sutton, in his first Div 1 assignment, coached Creighton Basketball for five seasons from 1969 to 1974. Coach tallied the following record during his 5 year span on the Hilltop: 82-50 (.621) and one NCAA Tournament in 1974. His 1974 NCAA Tourney team is the last CU squad to play against Kansas, losing 54-55 in the Midwest Regional.
“The only time I had been back was when I brought my team here to play,” said the 77-year-old Sutton, a member of basketball’s Hall of Fame. “I had a marvelous five years here. One of the things I enjoyed was that as the host school for the College World Series, I got to see every inning of every game.
“I’ve always been a big baseball fan, and that event just keeps on growing.”
The same could be said about Creighton, Sutton said. He said he took time Tuesday to tour the campus, and its growth astounded him.
“I’m so pleased that it’s grown like it has,” Sutton said. “We were talking today, and I think we’re all pleased to see how this program has developed.”
Creighton again honored Coach Sutton during the 2016 season.
Coach Sutton was inducted into CU’s athletics Hall of Fame in 1997. He’s also a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (class of 2011). He is a member of this year’s Naismith Hall of Fame (Class of 2020).
Evan Daniels and his 247 crew evidently think very highly of Mr. Andronikashvili.
247Sports evaluated Andronikashvili in the FIBA u18 Division B European Championships in Skopje, Macedonia in 2018 and at the same event in Oradea, Romania in 2019. Andronikashvili averaged 17.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists in the 2019 event.
The 247Sports policy on international prospects is to hold off on ranking them until they make their college destination.
Now that Andronikashvili has signed with Creighton, he’s been graded as a 95 and ranks as the No. 64 overall prospect and No. 13 point guard in the 2020 recruiting class.
This gives Creighton its second top 100 recruit in the 2020 class, joining Ryan Kalkbrenner, who ranks No. 91 overall. The Bluejays also hold a commitment from Lithuanian forward Modestas Kancleris. Kancleris has been evaluated by 247Sports as a three-star prospect.
The updated ratings of Andronikashvili and Kancleris move Creighton’s recruiting class up to No. 24 overall and No. 3 in the Big East Conference.
The two Euro recruits give a surprising boost to this Creighton class. Jays have 5 recruits overall in this class. In addition to the 3 above Creighton has picked up sit 1 transfer SF Alex O’Connell (Duke) and preferred walk-on SG Sami Osmani (Oak Lawn, IL). Sami O
In case you missed it. Sami is my favorite and I have high expectations of his performance on the Hilltop.
Rati and Ryan make this Bluejay 2020 Class the best in the modern era. The best since current rankings systems have been devised and used. 247 rankings below.
Mac lands another Euro Recruit in PG/CG Rati Andronikashvili!
Rati is a 6-5/190 combo guard from Tbilisi, Georgia. He has extensive FIBA level experience.
Creighton picked up one of the top international prospects headed to college on Thursday when Rati Andronikashvili pledged to the Bluejays.
This was a big pickup for Creighton as Andronikashvili – who will be graded as a four-star prospect when 247Sports ranks him nationally in the 2020 class – gives the Bluejays one of the top point guards entering college next season.
The Tbilisi, Georgia-born Andronikashvili, 19, is considered one of the top European prospects in the 2020 class committing to the college route. He has represented his national team in every age group (under-16, U18, U20) and even played rotation minutes in February for the senior national team in the FIBA qualifying window, which is rare for someone his age.