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August 29, 2008

Head coach: Dana Altman
Last season: 22-11 overall, 10-8 in Missouri Valley
Postseason: Lost 82-54 to Florida in NIT first round
Breakdown: Probable starters | Backcourt | Frontcourt | Offense | Defense | Outlook


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.

G Josh Dotzler, 6-1/Sr.
3.4 ppg, 3.6 apg
G Booker Woodfox, 6-1/Sr.
9.6 ppg, 42.4 3-pt FG%
G P'Allen Stinnett, 6-3/Soph.
12.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.6 spg
F Chad Millard, 6-8, Jr.
4.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg
C Kenny Lawson Jr., 6-9/Soph.
5.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg
G Cavel Witter, 5-11/Jr.
9.1 ppg, 2.6 apg
G Justin Carter, 6-4/Soph.
Junior college transfer
The group is led by sophomore wing P'Allen Stinnett, a former four-star recruit who has the kind of athleticism and raw ability rarely seen in the Missouri Valley Conference. That showed last season when Stinnett captured the league's freshman and newcomer of the year honors. Stinnett ranked 12th in the MVC in scoring at 12.6 points per game he was the only freshman in the top 30 and that number should go up significantly. He averaged 15.2 points over the final 14 games.

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.

Creighton was supposed to be down last season after losing its top three scorers. But the Bluejays responded by matching the previous year's win total and extending their streak of postseason appearances to 11 in a row. We fully expect that streak to reach 12. Most of the top teams in the Missouri Valley are facing massive losses. The Bluejays' only significant loss is Watts. They have a rising star in Stinnett and, thanks to raiding the junior college ranks, a host of other talented guards. The league title is theirs for the taking. The worst-case scenario should still result in another NIT trip.


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.


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 askwara@rivals.com.

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