Sleeping with the Enemy: The Bluejays of Creighton

Your somewhat Fighting Hoyas of Georgetown head to Omaha for a Saturday evening affair with the Big East virgin Creighton Bluejays and as usual we here at THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON are bringing you everything you need to know about Georgetown's next opponent. Here to dish on all things Bluejays is the White and Blue Review, your trusted source for Creighton hoops on the internet.  Let's do this!


Welcome to the Big East! Are you surprised with the success Creighton has had so far in Conference play? Did you think there would be an adjustment period coming from the Missouri Valley?

I'm somewhat surprised with the success Creighton has had so far in conference play. There is a lot of respect for the Big East members and before the season, most fans were very reluctant to put the Bluejays at the top. Even though Doug McDermott was coming back and even the late re-addition of Grant Gibbs, there were still schools of thought that teams like Georgetown and Marquette would be better. Most locally would have been satisfied with at most a second place finish in the league. That being said, and still with a lot of conference season to go, the expectations have been raised after the fast start. Bluejay fans, including myself, are all in for Creighton to take the conference now.

I really thought there would be an adjustment period. Probably the biggest surprise is that instead of falling into the traditional grind it out Big East play, the Bluejays have been able to play their game with the high octane offense and an improved defense. The bigger adjustment will be the second half of the season when seeing teams a second time and how they have adjusted to Creighton's play. If the other Big East teams adapt, it will be interesting to see how Creighton reacts to that.


Talk to me about Doug McDermott. I know he's good and he'll likely crush our souls on Saturday night, but what about his prospects at the next level?


To say he is amazing is probably an understatement. It has been fun each season to see his game evolve and find new ways to refine his game. As a freshman he was able to get some points and regularly score in double figures. As a sophomore his scoring exploded and he made opponents look silly. Last season he increased the scoring even more and continued to develop more ways to score whether it is his left hand or right hand. Now as a refined senior and having All-American status, he is just a treat to watch. His over 20 point per game average almost seems automatic to some and his scoring is almost seems like a quiet performance due to the rest of the team built around him. In fact he is one of the most unselfish players on the team always looking for teammates to get the spotlight instead of him.

I'm really interested to see him play at the next level. With the projections always being a late first round pick, he will likely be a steal for whatever team does decide to draft him just on his work ethic alone. He is always looking for ways to be a better player and to make the players around him better. He has proven he can play against some of the best players and best teams in college. I think he will find a way to do that against players in the NBA. Having two summers of USA basketball against foreign teams doesn't hurt either.

The countdown to the number of games left he has at the CenturyLink Center will definitely be a bittersweet one. To most Bluejay fans, the fact that he decided to come back for this season has been a huge bonus. Kyle Korver was probably the most recent "big name" to put on a Bluejay uniform and he helped lead Creighton to the next level as Creighton moved to a new arena, but McDermott will be known as the guy who helped take the program and the fanbase even farther by sticking around to usher in the new Big East.


What do I need to give you in order for you to have the Bluejays not shoot a million threes against us? Related, is Ethan Wragge the greatest bearded three point shooter in the history of anything?

I don't think you could give me enough money in the world to not have the Bluejays shoot a million threes against Georgetown. The offense is built around the ability to have shooters all over the court. While most of the nation didn't quite believe that and thought the team was all Doug McDermott, then the Villanova game last Monday should have put the doubters to rest. It has been rare that Creighton won't find the hot player from behind the arc, there is that small chance that they have a night like they did against Providence a week ago. They might have problems if that is the case, but you would be surprised how much the Bluejays have been able to adjust to that adversity in games like that and find a way to win those types of games down the line.

As for Wragge, the dude is a magnificent example of having unlimited range. When he gets hot from outside, good luck on getting him to not shoot from half court if necessary. I think he has the confidence that he could shoot it regularly from 30 feet and not have any problems. Greatest bearded by far, though someday I'd like to see him and James Harden have a "Beard-off"


Tell us something about Creighton (the school) that we might find interesting.

Creighton fielded a football team every season from 1900 to 1942. The school suspended the program for the duration of WWII, but didnt revive the sport after the war.


'Bluejays' seems like an odd name for a school in Omaha, Nebraska. What's the deal with the nickname?

He's the most violent bird out there. Seriously, though, here's the deal:

Creighton adopted a Bluejay as its mascot in 1924, when the University's athletic board selected the name from submissions for a contest run by the Omaha Bee newspaper. A realistic Blue Jay was used for many years but was gradually replaced by Billy Bluejay, who made his first appearance in the 1941 yearbook. Billy was developed by Creighton alumnus Joe Murphy, BSC'31, who was serving as Creighton's PR director at the time.


Speaking of Omaha, I'm sure there will be quite a few Hoyas heading out there. If I have one night in Omaha, where am I eating and where am I partying?


Omaha's known for its classic steakhouses. So, if you're in the mood for chewing on a piece of heartland cattle, I'd suggest Cascio's ... a quick cab ride or rental car drive south on 10th street from the CenturyLink Center. Plenty of good places to booze, too, around downtown. The Old Market has a slew of popular pubs. And the North Downtown area around the CenturyLink Center has some strategically placed bars like the Blatt that serve thirsty hoops fans before and after games.


What's your perception of the Georgetown basketball program?

Defense. Short gray shorts. Patrick Ewing's enormous body. Alonzo Mourning's enormous body. Coaches with sweaty towels. Championships. When the whole thing about Creighton being in the Big East came up, Georgetown came right to mind. In fact, they were my preseason favorite for winning the Big East.


What are your thoughts on the Superbowl and specifically on Denver -2.5?

Omaha Omaha!!!! Boy has that been beat to death. I've never been a big Broncos fan and especially not a Peyton Manning fan, but the dude has had a remarkable year. They need to start investigating him for performance enhancing drugs. With his career about busted, he magically has this record setting year? Something is fishy. But.....I would be surprised if Denver doesn't win by at least 10.


What is the Creighton program going to look like next season after McDermott is gone?

Losing Doug will hurt; no way around it. But multiply his exit by the graduations of Jahenns Manigat, Ethan Wragge, and Grant Gibbs and you see a team short on experience. That's not to say the guys who step in won't know what to do when they lace 'em up, but there's something to be said for the chemistry and shared experience that four of our current starting five have together. Austin Chatman, who next year will be a senior and who has started every game for CU since the first one of his sophomore season, will be the crucial link between the guys leaving and the talented but raw crop of players Greg McDermott's brought in to keep this thing rollin' along.


Creighton seems to average a higher attendance than some NBA franchises. What's the experience like at a Creighton home game?

Overall, it is a great experience, especially when the opponent is "name" enough to catch the casual fan's attention. Like every team in the country, there are issues with late arrivals, early departures, and a sometimes apathetic student section. Still, the crowd's been reinvigorated to a degree by the move to the new conference, and I think that's shown in the overall participation and volume inside the Clink.

Thanks for the opportunity to answer the questions. It should be a good game on Saturday. Plus it is the "Pink-out" game, so it should be quite the scene.

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