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August 29, 2008
The return of three guards who joined the program last season is the main reason expectations again are high for the Bluejays.
Guard P'Allen Stinnett turned in a big freshman year for Creighton last season.
Opposing defenses also must respect Booker Woodfox and Cavel Witter, two former junior college transfers who provide firepower. Woodfox emerged as a reliable 3-point shooter and scored in double figures in 14 of the last 15 games on his way to capturing the league's Sixth Man of the Year award last season. Witter exploded for 42 points in the Bluejays' 111-110 double-overtime win over Bradley.
Witter will share time at the point with senior Josh Dotzler, who provides a good change of pace. Dotzler isn't a threat to score but does a good job protecting and distributing the ball. He posted a career-high 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio last season.
The loss of veteran big man Dane Watts creates big questions up front. Watts was the team's second-leading scorer and its top rebounder.
Junior Chad Millard (6-8) and sophomore Kenny Lawson Jr. (6-9), who have experience as role players, will be counted on to make up for much of Watts' production. Millard's strength is outside shooting, while Lawson has the physical tools to be a good rebounder and an anchor on defense.
Under Dana Altman, the Bluejays use a perimeter-oriented attack with lots of pick-and-rolls. Often, all five players on the court have the green light from beyond the arc. The system is predicated on patience and unselfishness.
The Bluejays will utilize a number of presses, some designed to create turnovers and others simply to cut down the time an opponent has to run its offense. They plan to play man-to-man predominantly, but will mix in a variety of zones.
SHOES TO FILL
Watts. He had developed into one of the top big men in the MVC. His ability to score on the inside and free up space for the outside shooters may be missed most.
MUST STEP UP
Lawson. The coaching staff believes Lawson has the ability to be an all-conference player. If he plays at that level, the Bluejays will have no trouble winning the MVC regular-season title.
Justin Carter. Carter will look to continue the recent tradition of junior college transfers contributing for the Bluejays. A 6-4 wing, he'll be an instant part of the rotation.
Andrew Skwara is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.