Greg McDermott and the rest of the Creighton coaching staff are in an unenviable position. It is hard enough to lose one starter in the NCAA, let alone losing four, with one being the fifth-best scorer in college basketball history. In addition to Doug McDermott, Creighton also lost Grant Gibbs, Ethan Wragge, and Jahenns Manigat. The Bluejays will need their five starters this year to perform at a high level on the offensive side of the ball, given that the four previously listed players were in the top six for points per game last season for Creighton.
As for what Greg McDermott and company ultimately decide on for opening night, this lineup makes the most sense given the roster.
Austin Chatman (Guard, Senior) - Chatman is a no-brainer here, being the only returning starter from last year's squad. He had a very nice year averaging 8.1 points per game and a team high 4.4 assists per game. There is some concern about Chatman given that he underwent surgery on July 22 to repair a torn ligament in his thumb but barring any setbacks, he should be ready to go well before opening night.
Devin Brooks (Guard, Senior) - Brooks is perhaps the most important piece to the puzzle for Creighton this season. In his first season at Creighton, the JUCO transfer had a sixth man role. He was able to average 6.5 points per game in the role backing up Doug McDermott. Our Eric Kelly took a more in-depth look at Brooks and what he brings to the table this season.
Avery Dingman (Guard, Junior) - The Branson, Missouri native saw limited action last year when Grant Gibbs went down with a dislocated kneecap. Dingman averaged 3.2 points per game and 2.3 rebounds per game, with season-highs of 16 against the DePaul Blue Demons and nine against the St. John's Red Storm, respectively. His transition to the starting lineup should be a fluid one as he already has some experience starting.
Zach Hanson (Forward, Sophomore) - Zach Hanson saw limited minutes last year given that he was a freshman, so there's not all that much to go off of at the college level. His 6-foot-9 frame should help the Bluejays grab some rebounds, a role Doug McDermott excelled in. Hanson had an illustrious high school career, however. He was a 2-time Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of South Dakota, averaging 19.9 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game his senior season. His mother was one of the best athletes in Northern State University's history, ending her career as the school's all-time leading shot blocker.
Will Artino (Center, Senior)- Rounding out Creighton's starting five will be Will Artino. You may remember Artino from his awesome showing at 2012's Bluejay Madness when he won the dunk title with dunks like this. Last year saw Artino average 5.5 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game in just over 13 minutes per game. Like Hanson, Artino will be vital in grabbing up rebounds for the Bluejays, along with using his 6'11" build to be a low-post scoring threat.
Whereas last year's team had the advantages of shooters like Doug McDermott and Ethan Wragge, thus allowing them to go with a smaller lineup, this year's team lacks that. Therefore, Greg McDermott is going to have to utilize his big men if he wants to reach a fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament.