When former Kansas State Wildcats guard Marcus Foster decided to transfer to Creighton University, buzz was palpable amongst Bluejays fans in the state of Nebraska. The talented former three-star recruit from Wichita Falls, Texas was a successful player during in his stint in 'The Little Apple' of Manhattan, Kansas, averaging 15.5 and 12.5 points per game in his freshman and sophomore seasons. Efficiency was also a plus for him, especially so during his freshman year on campus when he posted a TS% of over 54 percent and eFG% of over 51 percent.
So nonetheless, Bluejays fans have been anxiously waiting for him to hit the floor at CenturyLink Center Omaha. The addition of Foster to this upcoming version of the Bluejays makes them a threat in the Big East and nationally, too.
If things go well for head coach Greg McDermott's team in the 2016-17 season that looms ahead, they could very well return back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the post-Doug McDermott era.
However, that's not all that Bluejays have to be excited about. The prospects lying ahead go a little further as it is entirely possible that Foster and point guard Maurice Watson Jr. could quickly become the conference's best backcourt.
The transition that Mo Watson Jr. made in the 2015-16 season was practically seamless. The former BU Terrier was as relentless as a pitbull as helped aid the Bluejays to a 20-win season and a berth in the 2016 NIT. He posted one of the highest assist rates in the country - a mark of 38.8 percent per KenPom.com - and helped make others around him better just like a point guard should.
Some of Watson Jr.'s best work came right out of the gate in Big East play, earning player of the week honors in early January.
As the great Warner Wolf once said, "Let's go to the video tape."
The hits kept coming for Mo later on and shined in a huge win over Xavier in early February. He dropped 32 points in that 70-56 victory over the highly-ranked Musketeers and looked as good as he would all season.
It isn't just talent alone that could make Mo Watson Jr. and Marcus Foster the best backcourt in the Big East, either. The simple fact is that if everything holds as it is right now, a bevy of talented players from Big East backcourts could be gone for the 2016-17 season. We already know that Butler Bulldogs guard Kellen Dunham, Georgetown Hoyas guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Providence Friars do-it-all guard and two-time Big East Player of the Year Kris Dunn and Villanova Wildcats guard and 2015 co-Big East Player of the Year Ryan Arcidiacono will depart due to graduation or because they will make NBA, in the case of Dunn. What's also true is that Seton Hall Pirates guard Isaiah Whitehead and Villanova guard Josh Hart could also make the jump to the Association.
Below, we can see that a major impact will be felt with these guards gone.
Everyone listed with the exception of Arcidiacono scored at least 500 points last year, and Arch fell short of the mark by a mere two points. The biggest effects could come from the loss of Whitehead's possible departure. He and fellow backcourt mate Khadeen Carrington have a chance to hold that crown as well with their dynamite play carrying the load for Seton Hall as they both near their junior seasons.
The loss of Josh Hart for 'Nova could impact the Wildcats as well. However, they still have former five-star recruit Jalen Brunson aboard along with Phil Booth who could have a big season as well. With that said, a backcourt of Brunson and Hart would make serious waves and one could comfortably call them the best backcourt in the Big East as opposed to the one-two punch that is set to roll in Omaha. Considering that Mo Watson Jr. scored 492 points last season, he would be one of the highest returning scorers in the conference if these six players do indeed depart.
For what it's worth: When Marcus Foster was at K-State, he scored 513 points as a freshman and then 362 in his sophomore season. So, he's showcased an ability to score at a solid level in the college game. That could very easily translate to his performance as a Bluejay given Greg McDermott's offensive system.
After all, they don't say "Let It Fly" in Omaha just for giggs. It's a way of life.
The transition from the Doug McDermott Era has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination. A dismal season in 2014 put Bluejays fans in an uncomfortable and unusual position after having a decade or so of success with McDermott and former head coach Dana Altman. 2015 gave plenty of reason for optimism however, and recent strides in recruiting have given many fans reason to believe that things are turning around. The 2016-17 season could be the start of another run of prominence for Creighton and it all boils down to what could potentially be the best backcourt in the Big East Conference.