It wasn’t until Ty-shon Alexander splashed his third consecutive three that I realized that basketball was officially back. Perhaps I got a bit of an inkling when Martin Krampelj stole a pass at the top of the key, looked behind to find no one chasing him, and emphatically stuffed the ball through the rim, his left knee as springy as a wet trampoline in July.
Perhaps it was evident that hoops was back when Mitch Ballock hit a rhythm three and sauntered down court to play defense like he’d done the three point thing a million times before.
When the realization glazed over my very smooth brain it began to shimmer and shine like a freshly waxed bowling ball. The Jays offense, with their first string striking the wooden planks of the court with their Nike kicks, was insatiably fast and dangerous just as it was in years past. Perhaps this team could cobble together enough chemistry to surprise the prognosticators that chose them second to last in the preseason poll.
With a starting lineup featuring familiar faces in Martin Krampelj, Davion Mintz, Tyshon Alexander, and Mitch Ballock, the Jays brought a sense of warmth with them to the friendly confines of the CHI Health whatever. Yet the new face gracing the starting lineup this game, Samson Froling, offered a foreign feeling that made things scary.
Froling’s 7’ build, with broad shoulders and sturdy legs, seemed to accentuate his fantastic hairstyle, a floppy mop of light brown locks held neatly in place by a thin white headband. He resembled a cooler, more California’d TOBY! Hegner, except with delicate footwork and a dominant left hand.
The five starters played lights out, sprinting out to an early 12-5 lead, and never looked back as their lead blossomed to 20 points. It was around this time that a new batch of faces were welcomed to the court in Marcus Zegarowski, Connor Cashaw, Christian Bishop, and Damien Jefferson. They showed a heaping load of promise, yet the communication and rhythm have yet to be seen.
A new wrinkle this year is Davion Mintz’s newfound ability to score points from beyond the arc. In the first half alone he went 3-3 from three, two of those hotly contested. This development is welcomed by all, but especially Davion Mintz, because if he has the confidence to knock down treys, he could have a more fun time playing basketball as the point guard duties are doled out elsewhere.
At halftime, Ty-shon Alexander and Davion Mintz combined for 28 points while Winona State had just 23 while using 10 different players.
The Warriors from Winona weren’t a very good litmus test to see how good these Bluejays could be. Todd Eisner, the Warrior’s head coach, used to play for Creighton in the late 80’s and early 90’s. He even got to play against former teammate Porter Moser last week when Winona took on Loyola-Chicago. That gives a little bit of meaning to this affair, doesn’t it? Even if it doens’t count?
The remaining meaning of this meaningless game came in the appreciation for basketball itself and the first look of a brand new basketball for the boys in blue in Omaha.
Three years from now you’ll look back at this game and say, “Wow, remember when basketball wasn’t outlawed and we weren’t all enslaved by these damn aliens?” You’ll be full of nostalgia, begging to come back to this time and place.
Creighton continued to roll in the second half. Jett Canfield and Jordan Scurry logged 4 minutes of game action!
The fans have started to leave. They’ve probably got cool Halloween parties to go to.