Picked to finish 9th in the Big East and with question marks surrounding how the program would do without Doug McDermott and Co., the Creighton Bluejays find themselves back in the AP Top 25 after an impressive home victory over a talented Oklahoma team. Even with that, Creighton still has many questions and inconsistencies offensively. Let's take a look at how each player has done so far in this young season.
Austin Chatman: B+
The senior point guard from Texas showed up when it mattered the most, leading the Bluejays to a monster home win over the then No. 18 Oklahoma Sooners, a team expected to contend deep into March this season. Chatman's double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds, six assists) was key in Creighton's comeback win. However, Chatman has had difficulties finding the same shooting touch he displayed last season, and the point guard has also gone invisible for stretches against Chicago State and North Carolina Central. The Bluejays will need every bit of what Chatman can offer if they are to contend this season.
Devin Brooks: B-
The Harlem native is averaging 9.5 points per game and perhaps even more impressive is his 6.8 rebounds per game average, a tie for the team lead. A transfer from Iowa Western, Brooks brings his own style and flair to an offense that, for the most part, does not have a lot of players that can create their own shot. Brooks has displayed the ability to get to the rack and finish this season. However, he also could have been at fault if the Bluejays had lost to the Sooners. With just seconds remaining, Brooks missed the front end of a one-and-one and then missed two more free throws to the ice the game, giving the Sooners an opportunity to steal a victory. Thankfully for Creighton that did not happen, but Brooks will need to improve upon his 2.5 turnovers per game if they are to be successful this year.
Ricky Krelow: C+
The California transfer has been a staple in the starting lineup, bringing experience and creativeness to the offense. However, outside of his outstanding performance against Central Arkansas where he scored a team high 18 points, Kreklow has been a bull in a china shop. He has been slow to adjust to McDermott's style of offense, leading to long stretches on the Bluejay bench. Krelow, like many Bluejays, has struggled with his shot, shooting just 27 percent from three point range.
Toby Hegner: B
The redshirt freshman forward has displayed resilience and fearlessness in his first season of Division I basketball. Taking Doug McDermott's spot in the lineup was never going to be easy though. Hegner has been hot and cold shooting the basketball, but the coaching staff's confidence has not deserted Hegner. He will still be urged to shoot because of his ability to stretch the defense. Hegner has also shown the ability to compete on defense and gather rebounds better than expected. If Hegner can find the shooting touch he possesses, he could cement his place in the starting lineup for years to come.
Will Artino: B
It may never be pretty for Artino, but he has found a way to average 11.5 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game. The senior center scored 20 points against Chicago State and 14 against Central Arkansas. However, Artino has sometimes let his emotions get the best of him, and it has hampered his performance. His subpar game against Oklahoma forced McDermott to go to the hotter hand in Zach Hanson. Remember: Artino lost his starting job last season to the smaller Ethan Wragge. How long McDermott sticks with Artino as his starting center remains to be seen.
Isaiah Zierden: A
Coming off the bench is Creighton's leading scorer. Averaging an impressive 16.3 points per game, Zierden has been the Bluejays' best player in the early part of this season. He is shooting over 51 percent from the floor, including 46 percent from three. Zierden has also been a pest defensively, getting into passing lanes and locking down on players like Oklahoma's Buddy Hield. Zierden has been impressive on both ends of the floor while displaying leadership and a keen sense of the offense. A coach's son, Zierden may start becoming the focal point of the Bluejays offense. He has some Bluejay fans wondering, is this the era of Zierden?
James Milliken: C
Prior to the season, it was believed in some circles that Milliken would be one of the Bluejays' leading scorers. While it is still very early, that belief has gone out the window. Hampered by a finger injury, Milliken has struggled with his shot and has seen his minutes diminish. Milliken can still be a nice contributor to this team, he just needs time in his first season of Division I play.
Geoffrey Groselle: B-
Groselle was not expected to be a huge contributor this season, so a grade of a B- has to be taken with a grain of salt. He has been able to provide some valuable minutes, averaging 3.0 points per game, and flashes of nice distribution out of the post. He moves better than he has in previous seasons but still has displayed only glimpses of good play. Groselle may never be what a seven-footer could be, but he can continue providing solid minutes.
Zach Hanson: C+
Hanson has been a microcosm of Creighton's season. He has been inconsistent but played his best when it mattered the most against a talented Oklahoma team. Hanson is likely the long-term solution at center for the program, but he has yet to really improve upon his promising freshman season a year ago. Hanson possesses a skillful touch in the post and quickness for his large frame. Whether or not Hanson reaches his potential this season remains to be seen, and Creighton's season could hinge upon it.