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The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

Creighton men’s basketball program takes fans on roller coaster ride

During+a+Creighton+basketball+game+at+the+CHI+Health+Center%2C+the+arena+lights+are+turned+down+and+blue+lights+are+cast+out+to+set+the+scene.+
Drew Rhoades
During a Creighton basketball game at the CHI Health Center, the arena lights are turned down and blue lights are cast out to set the scene.

-Commentary-
With the 2022-2023 Creighton men’s basketball season ending with a controversial call in the Elite Eight of March Madness, no one knew which players would stay or leave. With 1.2 seconds left on the game clock against the San Diego State Aztecs, starting point guard Ryan Nembhard fouled the Aztecs shooter with the score even at 56. This call led to the Aztec player making one of two free throws for them to move on to the Final Four. That rollercoaster of a game is indicative of how the Jays’ season is going so far this year.
To start, three days before the 2023 National Championship game between the UConn Huskies and the San Diego State Aztecs, Virginia red-shirt freshman Isaac Traudt declared he would be joining the Creighton Bluejays in the 2023-2024 season. Traudt came out of his senior year with a choice of either Creighton or Virginia and didn’t originally choose the Jays, so this announcement was exciting for fans and the team, especially because he attended Grand Island High School and won the Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year his senior year.
The team was on a high. They had five returning starters and new talent headed their way, but then there was transfer portal chaos as Nembhard shocked the Creighton community on Apr. 21, when he announced that he was going to follow in his brother Andrew Nembhard’s footsteps and transfer to Gonzaga. Two months later on June 11, the team was hit with another loss as power forward Arthur Kaluma declared that he was transferring to Kansas State. Between the two, they had a combined average of 33.9 points per game. With two of the five starters leaving, the future of the team was uncertain.
Four days before Nembhard announced his decision, Utah State point guard Steven Ashworth also committed to Creighton. Ashworth has a lot in store for the Jays and will fit into Creighton’s offensive scheme well. At Utah State, he averaged 16.2 points per game along with 4.5 assists per game last season.
Despite the Jays bringing in a couple of stars in the off-season with a very strong starting five, they have freshmen and redshirts to fill the shoes once the starters leave after this season. Josiah Dotzler is a big name heard throughout Creighton talk as a former local player at Bellevue West. In the 2022-2023 high school season, Dotzler was nominated for the Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year and will be dominant for the Jays down the road. Jasen Green is another name to mention as he is also a homegrown hero, playing all four years of high school at Millard North. Green took last year to have a medical redshirt due to a leg injury. With how it looks as of now, he is looking to take his normal redshirt this year.
After this season, the Jays will lose five seniors, four of whom start as of now. Ryan Kalkbrennar, Trey Alexander, Fransisco Farabello, Steven Ashworth and Baylor Scheirmann will all be moving on to the next chapter in their life. Besides having a few threats on the bench right now, they recently had four, four stars commit to the team. Despite the five seniors losing, the Jays will be successful for years to come with these commits.
As of now, the Jays hold a record of 5-1 with wins to Florida A&M, North Dakota St, Iowa, Texas Southern and Loyola with losses to Colorado State. Some big games coming up on the schedule include Nebraska on Dec. 3, Alabama on Dec. 16 and Marquette on Dec. 30. With hopes set high on the team this year, the Jays will make a deep run in the March Madness Tournament.

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About the Contributor
Drew Rhoades, Reporter
Drew Rhoades is a junior at GEHS and was on the Gretna Media staff at Gretna High last year.  This year he is on the GEHS Wingspan staff. He serves as a reporter and photographer. He won sixth place in Sports News Writing at the NSAA High School State Journalism competition. He joined journalism to take pictures of sports and write articles about them.  From taking great action shots to writing about a close game of football, Rhoades is always busy and working hard. Outside of journalism he plays golf, basketball and hangs out with his friends. While journalism is not something he plans on doing in the future, he still wants to use his skills throughout his life. 
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