We have reached the top five. With it comes Creighton. They are the team that has happened to unseat Villanova as the preseason favorite in the Big East. They return a lot of talent from last year’s team, which was young and really overachieved. Plus, they bring in arguably the best player in the transfer portal. With more experience under the belt of this young team, they are projected as one of the nation’s best this year. They just need to be more consistent.
Look at the last team in my rankings here.
Preseason College Basketball Rankings: #5 Creighton Bluejays
Leading the returnees for the Bluejays is reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Year Ryan Kalkbrenner. He was incredibly dominant last season, taking a big step from his freshman season. Kalkbrenner was eighth in the Big East in rebounds (First in offensive rebounds.) and was top two in blocks. He might be even better this season. Arthur Kaluma lived up to the freshman hype. He averaged double-figures in points and was third on the team in rebounds. He is a potential future first-round pick.
Now we get to the returning starting backcourt. Ryan Nembhard had a very impressive freshman season. He was third in the conference in assists. The injury that he suffered late in the season clearly hampered the team, especially in the tournament game against San Diego State. Trey Alexander was a Big East All-Freshman team member and could take a step forward this year. Mason Miller did not play as a freshman but was a top-80 recruit in last year’s class.
The big addition that Greg McDermott made to his team is Baylor Scheierman. He was arguably the best player in the transfer portal this summer. The South Dakota State transfer won the Summit League Player of the Year award last season after dominating again for the Jackrabbits. He averaged an impressive 16.2/7.8/4.5/1.3/0.1 stat line last season while helping to lead the team to their first 30-win season since moving to Division 1. They needed someone to replace leading scorer Ryan Hawkins, and boy, did they get it. He should have an immediate and massive impact at the high-major level.
C – Ryan Kalkbrenner (13.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.4 SPG, 2.6 BPG)
PF – Arthur Kaluma (10.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.6 BPG)
SG – Baylor Scheierman (16.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.1 BPG at South Dakota State)
SG – Trey Alexander (7.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG)
PG – Ryan Nembhard (11.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.0 BPG)