Big East Media Day kicked off today. All the usual stuff in John Fanta, Coaches Poll, All-Big East lists, etc.
Much love being shown to Seton Hall this year as they are the pick to win the conference. Villanova and surprising Xavier are picked 2nd and 3rd. I would have guessed Marquette (4th) or Creighton (7th). Providence also a surprise at 5th, ahead of Georgetown and Creighton. Butler, the Johnnies, and DePaul finish the list.
Standouts from five programs make up the #BIGEASThoops Preseason All-Conference First Team.
Well! This is gonna spur a lot of debate, as though that wasn’t the case already. Powell over Howard as PoY. IMO could have gone either way. However, the spoils generally go to the player on the best/better team. So with The Hall predicted to win the conference, Powell gets the nod.
No Villanova player on the First Team All-Big East? The Wildcats are picked Second in the league, but muster only two Second Team picks at 5th (Gillespie) and ? 6th (Samuels). I didn’t know there were 6 second team picks also. This seems to be a hit/slight towards the defending champions. I would have placed one of the three; 3rd place Xavier, 5th place Providence, or 7th place Creighton 1st team picks on the 2nd team. No need to guess which one, probably Diallo. Butler’s Baldwin is a good pick.
Villanova freshman center Jeremiah Robinson-Earl picks up the FoY.
The Jays are picked low again. The Coaches seem to habitually pick Creighton in the bottom tier. They have done so 4 time in 7 years. Last year 9th, now 7th this season. Fortunately the team and staff don’t generally listen to the noise and chatter. CU has finished 3rd (ties) the last 3 years running. In my August predictions I have the Jays 3rd again…hedging only due to the questions regarding pivot players. With a healthy team Creighton can win the conference.
In Lexington, it’s “Big Blue Madness”; in Lawrence, it’s “Late Night in the Phog.” Indiana is home to “Hoosier Hysteria,” while other schools opt for celebratory scrimmages or slam dunk contests to introduce their players to their fans and create hype for the upcoming season. Many schools even make the event a part of Homecoming weekend, with entertainment and extravagance at the center of the chaos.
The event has turned into a major recruiting tool as well, with programs competing to secure the attendance of top recruits and pulling out all the stops to impress them. Snoop Dogg will be making an appearance at Allen Fieldhouse this year, while John Legend will perform at Providence’s Late Night Madness and T-Pain will be at Marquette Madness.
…And I respect them, and I wasn’t gonna put no smut on their name and say they did anything wrong because they invited me to come do what I do. … And when you pay for Snoop Dogg, you’re gonna get Snoop Dogg.”
Jays hit one out of the park to start off their 2020 recruiting efforts! While many fans were seemingly worried that CU wouldn’t pull in a top prospect, the staff just continued to keep their nose to the grind and kept working. Now it is still really early in the 2020 recruiting cycle, but folks were antsy when seeing no early results. Visions of last recruiting cycle (no top HS recruits) were rampant, with fingers ready to push the panic button. The staffs hard work bore fruit Sunday night (22 Sep 19) as 247 (composite) top #75 center Ryan Kalkbrenner committed to Creighton. Rivals.com #69. Make no mistake here… This is a Big Time get!
Young Mr. Kalkbrenner is the Real Deal. He was the EYBL’s Defensive PoY this spring, averaging 4.5 blocks and 8.9 rebounds in 13 games for the Mac Irvin Fire. He entered EYBL play relatively unknown…13 EYBL games and 58 blocked shots later, Ryan has become well known.
At Trinity Catholic in St. Louis, Ryan averaged 13.9 points and 7.6 rebounds as a high school junior. He is tapping into his potential and showing major improvement at the perfect time.
Kalkbrenner is becoming a well rounded player. While known primarily for his defensive acumen, he is a good shooter and is developing his offensive game. Seems his best days as a hoopster are still ahead of him.
Jerry Meyer/247 Sports:
Has NBA center length as a 7-footer. Possesses good mobility, good hands and feet. Not an explosive athlete and needs to gain strength and build up mass. Not a long-range shooter at this point, but has good shooting touch and shoots a high-free throw percentage. Offensive game is improving as strength and confidence improves. Greatest strength is shot blocking. Blocks shots at a high rate.
Coach Irvin/Mac Irvin Fire_EYBL:
“First of all, he’s 7-foot and mobile,” Irvin explained. “He can guard a pick and roll, he blocks shots, and he can guard all five positions. He’s a very smart defender.”
“He never gets in foul trouble,” said Irvin.
That notion is backed up by Kalkbrenner’s 1.6 personal fouls per game. This has allowed him to constantly be on the floor for the Fire, and their defense has proven to be amongst the league’s best when he’s manning the backline.
“(Ryan) has been unbelievable on defense,” Irvin said. “He’s the best defender I’ve ever coached.”
Ryan remarkably grades out higher on 247’s ratings than both Justin Patton and Jacob Epperson, although both were numerically ranked higher. His 0.9698 score makes him the highest rated player for CU since 247.com began such player ratings.
Ryan had accumulated 17 offers, including GT, Illinois, Pitt, Mizzou, VT, Purdue, Stanford, KU, and Cincy, among others. He visited many schools unofficially, the focus centered early on Illinois, and later on Purdue. Ryan and family narrowed his official visits to the Jays, Purdue, and Stanford. Kansas offered on 10 Sept 19, attempting one of their famous late entry swoops to snag a promising recruit. LOL. However, the process was too far gone by then and the Kalkbrenner family stayed the course with their final 3.
Creighton, with this committment has addressed their greatest needs, in getting a legit big with defensive chops. Ryan will fill the holes in rim protection, rebounding, and blocked/altered shots. He adds much needed depth in the frontcourt for the Jays. Although not needed on a team constructed like Creighton’s, he will develop into another nice offensive weapon also as he fills in his body and gains more strength.
The Jays still have one scholie to give for 2020. Perhaps a nice Euro PF? Perhaps SG Kerwin Walton from Minnesota? We shall see. For now, the Jays have broken the ice for 2020 and are looking good. Well done Creighton, well done!
Welcome home Ryan. You done good in making your best decision. Looking forward to seeing your exemplary play as a Bluejay!
Creighton’s Marcus Zegarowski (hip) has been fully cleared for all basketball related activities, per Greg McDermott. Jacob Epperson (knee) has only been cleared for “non live” activities.
Strategy: We’re not in the MVC any more…and we’re not playing checkers either.
Our Jays have moved up to the big leagues. As George Jefferson would put it: “We’re movin’ on up…to the East Side. To a deluxe apartment in the sky. Oh, we’re movin’ on up…” Feels good, exciting, the air seems fresher up here. However, we should be mindful of the “catches”. Even though things have generally gone well thus far, there are a few pitfalls, landmines, and avalanches to be mindful of. We have acquired new enemies which we may not yet be aware of. Creighton should be playing the Long Game strategy.
She thought they were playing checkers; he knew they were playing chess. She was so taken with the small wins, the piling up of red chips, that she lost sight of the board. Tactics vs. strategy. Rookie mistakes. She won’t be asked to play again.
Exercising power in the workplace is even more delicate in that the relationships are symbiotic and long-term. Short-term gains at someone else’s expense will eventually erode those relationships, and someone will lose. Oddly enough, the losers are usually the ones who have been winning, but winning by playing crudely: looking for chances to take a cheap shot, always needing to be right and having the last word.
Over the long term, you need to nurture your dream clients: Patrons/Donors, campaign goals, Marketing partners, & longterm goals. Nurture recruits, create new opportunities, and win those opportunities. Campaign management and Persistence are key elements. Always be closing.
Your Short Game
Creating new opportunities is the short game. Your long game can set up your short game. By nurturing and building relationships over time, you may make it easier to create opportunities.
Creighton Athletics all aspects, especially MBB, should always be selling our strategic goals of becoming a perennial player/team for conference championships, NCAA successes and contention for National championships, and the perception as an elite program. Our athletic financial and support campaigns, our donors and patrons, our public supporters, our marketing friends, business partners, our athletes and staff, our recruits, and our fans/the public should be informed of these primary goals of the program and our campaigns and online platforms should also inform and sell our strategic goals. Campaigns should cite specific athletic department purposes and goals; and at least one campaign should be running at all times.
Our ascent to the Big East has brought some opportunities. We have tremendous television exposure. We have upgraded our schedules. We now have the Gavitt Games and the new BE/Big12 Challenge. We are going to a 20 game BE schedule. Beginning next year we are participating in upper tier early season exempt tourneys the next few years (Battle for Atlantis, Maui Classic).
Recruiting has expanded nationally from our traditional regional foes (Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebr., K. St., Iowa St., Mizzou). We are now recruiting internationally as well as against upper tier conference teams. More from the B1G (Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, Mich. St.) and the Big 12 (KU, Oklahoma, Okla. St, Texas). This also implies that CU is now on the radars of said teams. While perhaps not a direct threat, Creighton is newly infringing on territories others think is theirs. In the process creating new enemies.
Kansas, while not directly threatened by CU, has recently over the 6 months, started to late offer select recruits heavily recruited by CU. It appears that if a top 50-75 recruit has heavy interest in/interest by the Jays, KU offers late to snatch up the recruit. Perhaps they see it as a way to contain/stifle CU’s potential rise. Perhaps it is a means aimed to cripple CU competitiveness, as we may play one another in an upcoming BE/B12 Challenge match. I see KU’s actions as the “big dog” in the region telling an up and coming CU program to “stay in your place/lane” type move. Perhaps it is a welcome to the neighborhood gesture – “keep your enemies closer”. KU did so last spring with Tristan Enaruna and is doing so again (now) with Ryan Kalkbrenner. KU had 5 Ctr/PFs prior to getting involved with Enaruna and now has 6 players onboard while they are offering Kalkbrenner. In both cases the player is/was not a Top 25/50 player and not a primary KU target. In both cases the recruit will see little to no playing time unless KU gets hit with multiple injuries. However, the loss of Enaruna hurt Creighton’s frontcourt depth and so would the potential loss of Kalkbrenner.
Regardless, Creighton is on the right track. The important thing is to delineate the primary, longterm, long game goals. Nurture our campaigns, our multiple stakeholders, and our recruits – educating, encouraging, and selling them along the way. Obtaining their buy-in to CU’s longterm goals. Being creative in making opportunities, but selective in taking the appropriate opportunities which support our longterm goals – whether these opportunities are of our creation through exemplary play, campaigning, and marketing, or whether they are presented by others. Expand our international recruiting – as there is less brand bias with international recruits. Lastly, the success or failure is pinned to our ability to execute team/program performance. All the planning is for naught if we fail to perform, to meet program objectives, milestones, and overarching goals.
Work hard, work smart, rise together, and meet our goals. Always be selling, always be closing.
Yougov.com the online brand rater has a Creighton listing in their YouGov Ratings.
YouGov Ratings measures the popularity and fame of anything and everything, based on millions of responses from the American public. Find out more
Creighton is listed under the sports heading. CU is rated in the 14% (percentile), as the 253rd most popular sports team in America and the 274th most famous. We’ve got nowhere to go but up.
Creighton Performance-wise: Our brand is that of a non-elite school – good, but not good enough. We are neither a nor b below. We are a good college basketball team that is a midpack major. Creighton wins consistently, but not well enough to challenge for conference honors, and while we make the NCAA tourney with frequency, we do not perform particularly well as we generally are 1 and done, occasionally 2 and out.
a) There are good college basketball teams that win games, challenge for conference championships and perform well during March Madness.
b) Then, there are programs that consistently do all of those things year after year and regularly find themselves in contention for national championships. (elites)
Of the five listed components in this article. We lack a few things: Exceptional Leadership, NCAA success, and Longterm Recruiting Success
Until we –
1) improve upon our routine performance and our recruiting,
2) win a couple of conference championships,
3) make a couple of ncaa runs or more, or
4) all of the above
– the public perception of Creighton being good, but not good enough (and the perception of major recruits) probably will not change.
Fortunately, I believe our recruiting is improving incrementally. If we land either/both Murrell – Kalkbrenner it will continue the improving track of the last few years. (I think 2019 was an aberration). Our current team has the capability to challenge for the conference title(s) and potentially make a NCAA run. We have these guys for 2 more seasons (counting this one). We have the opportunity to improve public perception and increase brand visibility. IMO we are getting to where we want to be – slowly, incrementally. Would I prefer a faster pace? Yes.
Improvements: Michael Sheehan makes good points in his article on rebuilding Boston College’s hoops image.
Update Logos and images – Done
One slogan – ??
Improve Uni’s – Done
Improve Gameday presentation – Done
Improve marketing in select markets, online, ESPN/CBS/Fox – ??
Improve PR – ??
Jays have already done the work with logos, unis, and gameday experience (court). Do we have a unified sports slogan for the department? What select placement of online and TV ads can we utilize to increase our brand recognition. PR/SID should have routine pre-connects with national as well as local media for speed and ease in getting out our message(s) irt history, promotions, as well as for situational awareness (reacting to emergencies/bad press (FBI trials) and NCAA pronouncements).
We’ve done some good work already and can add to that work with a unified slogan, select placement of online & tv ads, and increased PR work. I’d like to see CU move into the top 150 of recognized sports teams in the USA.
Yougov.com Ratings/All Sports teams
Pos Opinion %
Heard of %
Two surprises here. Butler still riding the wave of their 2 FF/Finals appearances. DePaul, decades away from its’ fame, but still in the public eye (for losing?).
From Mike Sheehan’s article: Perception is reality:
Networks like ESPN are always looking for on-location filler – those quick clips and live shots coming in and out of commercial breaks, especially – we should give them as much material as possible.
As much as we make fun of the Syracuse “New York’s College Team” campaign…they’re on to something. I’ve scoffed at it before at bars in NYC…and how have non-BC / non-Cuse friends and others I’ve mentioned it to respond? “Well, it’s not necessarily WRONG… I can’t think of who else would be NY’s college team.” Nobody’s reaction is “COME ON. Notre Dame carries that market more than CUSE!” … Again, perception is reality.
As with our uniforms vs. Oregon… I’m not saying we start a mirror campaign claiming to be “Boston’s College Team.” But there’s so much more we can do to draw casual fan interest in Boston. And it’s much easier for anyone in the Boston area to check out a game at Conte on a week night than it is for someone in Manhattan to drive 6 hours to the Carrier Dome. The reality is we are the ONLY school in Boston playing big-time ball (sorry, Harvard, but Sully from Southie is never going to Cambridge to watch you play Columbia…not that you’d want him to). We need to execute the right advertising strategy. I’m not sure what the campaign slogan should be, but I do know that if we match the right message with the right distribution, we’ll make big headway.
We need to surround Boston sports fans in ways that are native to their “fan” experience. Billboards along the pike near Fenway… in-stadium/TV-visible signage (Cuse buys ad space at MSG and Yankee Stadium) at Fenway, the Garden, and Gillette…These things are not as expensive as you might think (I work in advertising).
Even cheaper / more efficient: digital advertising. While we’ve made great strides in the way BC operates its own twitter account, Facebook page, etc…there’s so much we can do in terms of direct advertising that, to my knowledge, BC is not doing. We can buy incredibly cheap newsfeed ads on Facebook targeted to, say, Men age 12-44 in the greater Boston area…on a “Cost-per-acquisiton” basis – basically, we can blast our ticket promotions and only give Facebook a cut for conversions. There’s still a value to those impressions where users don’t convert to buy a ticket…we’re being SEEN. We’re driving AWARENESS. So many businesses – from JetBlue to local florists – do this. There’s no reason we can’t buy ad space on official sites for the Pats / Celtics, or prominent Boston blogs (like SB Nation’s Pats Pulpit). Sports apps – ESPN, theScore, TeamStream – offer deep personalization features and targeting capabilities…no reason we can’t buy targeted impressions against Celtics fans on these platforms. I work for one of those aforementioned apps (and used to work in ad sales here at SB Nation) … I know not only that this is possible, but that it’s effective, and that it’s EFFICIENT.
Lastly, the creative for this campaign must be unified with the message that we would be sending through our re-branded logo, facilities, etc.: it should scream history, tradition, excellence, and excitement.
In a sense, this goes hand-in-hand with marketing. My mantra here: look at what Gene did, and do the opposite. Brad Bates seems to get that, is very polished, and a great face/speaker for the school and program. I hope he continues to make strides embracing the community and fan base. Obviously, however, we all were alarmed by his seeming inability to control the message re: Donahue. No matter where “Thamel’s” sources came from, if the decision had not been made, Bates should have issued an IMMEDIATE statement refuting the report – he should not have waited as long as he did for Vega to call him, and get that quote published. With the modern ability to disseminate information in real time, there’s no excuse for the way BC and Bates let Donahue’s status linger.
To conclude, I realize that none of the above matter if we don’t also win basketball games, but I think it’s foolish to think that our image isn’t affected by how BC / BC Hoops portrays itself beyond the W-L record. Would love to hear what you all think.