Last season in the paint, the Creighton BlueJays went with a one-two punch of Doug McDermott and Ethan Wragge, the two leading scorers on the team. They also weren't your average big man combination, because you could make the argument that they were more lethal outside of the painted area than inside of it.
Last season, the two combined to shoot just under 46% from beyond the 3-point line and 84% from the free throw line.
Well, neither are still residing in Omaha, so now much of the big man burden falls upon the shoulders of senior center Will Artino. Last season, Artino was the third-leading BlueJay scorer amongst big men, with 5.5 points per game.
Unlike McDermott and Wragge though, Artino's skill set is noticeably different. Missing from his game is the shooting range that Creighton fans are used to seeing on a consistent basis from the starting four or five.
In his three seasons at Creighton, Artino has not exactly established himself as what I would call a "shooter." He has yet to attempt a 3-pointer in his career, and last season, he shot a measly 55.6% from the free throw line, his second straight season shooting under 56% from the charity stripe.
The key for him this season will be to change the culture of BlueJay big men from players who are better beyond the basket to a guy who primarily pounds the ball inside.
Now while Artino hasn't shown a ton of offensive prowess in the regular season, his career high for points in one game is only 14, he did show some overall promise in the preseason.
The example I'll call upon is the BlueJays summer league trip to the Bahamas. During the five-game escapade, Artino averaged 10 points and 11 rebounds in only 20 minutes per game.
Now I'll tell you this right now, expect a culture shock when it comes to Artino offensively. Over the past couple of seasons, fans in Omaha have become accustomed to big men with range, but Artino is the exact opposite. He'll pound the ball inside early and often this year. And while it may not result in success immediately, it could be just what the BlueJays need, if they want to make any sort of tournament run come March.