When we last saw the Creighton Bluejays, legendary forward Doug McDermott was given an unceremonious boot from the world of college basketball by the Baylor Bears in the 3rd Round of the NCAA Tournament. Now, heading into year two of their stay in the Big East Conference, Creighton will look vastly different. While that might sound unsettling, here's three reasons for optimism for the Bluejays in 2014.
1. Devin Brooks
If you had to guess what player had the second highest usage rate on the Bluejays in the 2013-14 season, the name "Devin Brooks" might not register immediately. But in reality, the JUCO transfer was administered that responsibility last year with the second unit. Now, with the clear out of 80 percent of the starting lineup, it's hard to imagine that Brooks won't be thrust into the starting lineup and given more opportunities with the ball. He certainly has his inconsistencies, but Brooks flashed his talents as well. Look out for this young man from Harlem, New York.
2. The Rest of the Backcourt
Joining Brooks in the backcourt will be the only returning starter from the 2013-14 lineup: Austin Chatman. As noted seven months ago, the Bluejay backcourt remains in pretty good hands. With Avery Dingman, a player who was recruited as a guard, as well as James Milliken, a JUCO transfer who sat out last season, there's a bevy of tapped and untapped potential at the guard position. There might be reason to believe that this could be the strength of the team, and for good reason too.
3. Meager Expectations
Why should you be optimistic about the Bluejays? What other choice do you have? They have lost a great deal of their starting lineup, are coming off of a year in which they no doubt exceeded expectations, and already neared the top of the mountain. With Creighton no doubt leveled off, the mentality that this could be a transition year and that they are not expected to do much could give way to fans being optimistic. It's a truly "no lose" situation for the folks in Omaha this coming year, and that's a good thing. Really.
Do you agree with our reasons for optimism? Do you have any reasons to be optimistic about the Creighton Bluejays that aren't listed? Talk about it in the comments section below!