The Creighton Bluejays basketbal team came to St Louis on a business trip. The trip was all about coming to St Louis to win the MVC Missiouri valley championships. The Bluejays had to really dial down in the last 3 weeks to try and regain the form that has seen them rise to as high # 12 in the national poles.
Creighton’s arrival and stay in St Louis was shrouded in secrecy, as the players were under tight schedules and restrictions.
players were relieved of their cell phones, I pads and other communications gear.
The Bluejays were very methodical in the first 2 games of the MVC tournament, with players stepping up and getting back in the groove just at the right time.
After an episode of planes, trains and automobiles, We arrived in St Louis, MO on Friday morning with enough time to check in to the hotel, get a bite to eat and get to the game. Now that is holding it down big boy style.
Creighton layed the smack down on Drake, than proceeded to dismantle Indiana State (alma mater of Larry Bird). Jahenns had a great individual battle with former NEDA and team Canada member Mangisto Arop. Arop got his individually, by taking shots from all over the half acre.
Jahenns blanketed Arop whenever it was his defensive assignment, and did a great job getting his other teammates involved. Jahenns is definitely the spark that makes the Bluejays go.
In the Championship game, the Bluejays stayed in command the whole game by having players execute their roles and step up Huge. Ethan Wragge hit 5 treys in the game, Greg Eghenique was a beast on the boards and rejecting shots. Doug McDermott was just Doug, even though his scoring was down in this game. Doug was named the MVP of the tournament for the second consecutive year.
Lots of chatter down hear about Doug McDermott leaving early for the NBA draft, and the Creighton Bluejays leaving the MVC and moving to the Big East. Both of these issues are huge, and time will tell how both things play out. stay tuned.
Lastly, even though my opinion my be slightly biased, Jahenns played a monster game today. It is the kind of game and the kind of stat line that a phoenix guy grows up having, and produces on whatever team he is on. Jahenns was a force on both ends of the floor.
see stats below. 39 minutes (this guy is a beast)
The 3 pointer late in the game and then the driving layup with 11 seconds sealed the deal and punched Creighton’s ticket to the NCAA big dance, by virtue of and automatic bid.
I got to see Jahenns on the floor right after the game, and I got to spend a little time with Jahenns and Doug McDermott back at the hotel. The team plans for the rest of the day were:
Ice down, and treat any injuries
Put on their recovery pants
Dinner in one of the upstairs ballrooms
Pack, and head for St Louis airport
Arrive in Omaha at around 11:30pm, central time.
Take a couple of days off.
Get up Wednesday morning at school. and do it again, as they prepare for whoever they play in the NCAA tournament.
Again, it very emotional seeing Jahenns down on the floor right after the game. This meeting was more of a relief for Jahenns, because he had been struggling with his scoring in the past month. Jahenns told me that he had not scord a point agains Witchata State in their 2 previous meetings. Well, he took care of that today. Leading the team in scoring with 16 pts.
This was a successful trip, and it has only energized me for our upcoming season. Let go get it.
HOME TEAM: Creighton 27-7; 13-5 MVC
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
03 McDermott,Doug…… f 5-13 0-3 4-5 0 4 4 3 14 0 2 0 0 28
00 Echenique,Gregory… c 3-7 0-0 3-4 7 4 11 4 9 1 2 6 0 32
01 Chatman,Austin…… g 0-5 0-2 1-2 0 2 2 1 1 7 1 0 2 36
10 Gibbs,Grant……… g 3-6 2-2 3-5 1 5 6 3 11 7 1 0 0 36
12 Manigat,Jahenns….. g 6-11 4-8 0-0 0 5 5 2 16 3 2 1 0 39
Heading South to the Indiana/ Kentucky border
Montreal’s Bennedict Mathurin commits to Arizona Wildcats
The Arizona Wildcats got a big time commitment from Bennedict Mathurin — Canada’s top guard in the class of 2020.
The 17-year old Mathurin opted to reclassify from the 2021 class — fast tracking his potential NBA eligibility in the process. Standing at 6’6″, 195 pounds, the Montreal native has all the attributes to make an immediate impact at the NCAA division I basketball level — with a NBA ceiling written all-over his resume.
Perhaps not a household commodity, due to his lack of participation in any Canadian FIBA youth sanctioned events — Mathurin was named MVP of the 2019 Canadian National Basketball U17 Championships in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
The Canadian guard/forward led a loaded Quebec team to a perfect 5-0 record — claiming the province’s first U17 title since 2010. Mathurin dominated the entire tournament, including a electric, eye-popping 33 point, 7 assist, 6 rebound performance in the opening game against Team Ontario.
In the championship game against same Ontario squad, Mathurin was equally impressive — scoring 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in the 84-77 victory.
Mathurin is currently showcasing and strutting his growing all-around game in Mexico City as part of NBA Academy Latin America — an elite basketball training center for top male and female prospects across the Caribbean Central and South America.
The Canadian prospect kicked off 2020 and new decade in style with a 30-point, 6 rebounds outburst in a 93-74 win over FC Barcelona U18 team at the Hospitalet tournament.
A lockdown defender with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander like wingspan, Mathurin has the ability to get from the three-point line to the rim with just one dribble. At 6”6′ he’s also able to see over much smaller defenders and is a willing and effective passer that looks to attack at rim can finish with through contact.
Part of the continuous and overflowing rising crop of future NBA talent from Canada’s second largest city — Mathurin may just be the top guard to come out of Montreal since current Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort pledged allegiance to the desert State of Arizona.
Holding multiple offers from the likes of NCAA basketball programs as Virginia, Alabama, Washington State and Nebraska — Mathurin narrowed his decision to the Arizona Wildcats and Oregon Ducks.
“Those two schools were my finalists because the other schools recruited me a little later, and I said to myself, that if I was going to visit other schools it was going to take a lot more time to get to know the coaching staff and also lots of time to get to know for example who (players) was coming back and leaving.” discussed a well spoken Mauthrin in a live french announcement during half-time of the Toronto Raptors’ and OKC Thunder game.
On what tipped the balance between the two finalist schools, Mauthrin added that the “history of Arizona, the style of play and the fact that every player has a role, and that is my style of play.”
For head coach Sean Miller the commitment of Mauthrin is a significant scoop for a player that was just starting to gain national notoriety and will likely mature into another future Canadian NBA player.
Abu Kigab career night powers Boise State Broncos
Canadian Abu Kigab (St. Catherines, Ont.) dropped a career best 33 points, 11 rebounds to power the Boise State Broncos 103-72 past the CSU Northridge Matadors.
The 6’7″, 211-pound junior forward was efficient as a heat pump, knocking down a hot 11-of-16 field-goals, 3-of-4 triples and 8-of-9 free-throws in just 26 minutes — including a two-hand alley-oop — to bring the home crowd to it’s feet while recording his 30th point.
Kigab’s output is one the best performances by a Canadian playing NCAA DI basketball and as per the Broncos’ public relations team “It’s just the 17th 30 & 10 game all-time by a Bronco and seventh in the last 25 years.” Chicago Bulls’ rookie Chandler Hutchison was the last Boise State player to reach the milestone — erupting for 39 points and 14 rebounds at the 2018 NIT.
“We were all making the right play and some nights that’s just how it is,” Kigab said. “I just go out there and try to win the game. I’ll do whatever it takes. Sometimes I might have to score more, sometimes I need to rebound more, sometimes I need to pass more. Whatever my team needs, that’s what I’ll do.”
Highly recruited coming out high school, Kigab was part of the historic Canadian national team that captured the country’s first-ever basketball gold medal at the 2017 U19 World Cup. The hybrid forward averaged a double-double with 14.7 points and 10.6 rebounds — earning a nod in the all-world all-star team alongside MVP RJ Barrett.
Abu Kigab commits to Oregon Ducks
The St. Catherine’s product committed to the Oregon Ducks — playing a season and half before opting to transfer to Boise State. Kigab showed promise in his first three games under Dana Altman hitting double-figures scoring in all three non-conference games before completely falling out of the rotation. In 45 games with the Ducks, Kigab scored just a total of 82 points while playing only 418 minutes.
Since becoming eligible and joining the Broncos starting lineup on December 22, Kigab has helped the team to a 3-1 record — including two straight double-doubles and has scored a total of 64 points.
Based on early results it’s fair to say that the change in scenery and shift from the Pac 12 brand of basketball to the Mountain West Conference (MWC) has benefited Kigab’s game.
The Broncos compete in the tough Mountain West Conference with the likes of San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico and Nevada. The Conference has a history with Canadians and holds the title of producing former Running Rebel and No. 1 NBA pick Anthony Bennett. The MWC currently features eight Canadians across multiple teams — including Elijah Mitrou-Long (UNLV), Nolan Narain, Sabry Philip and others.
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