Jays “Fly High” to Start 2022-2023 Season


With the college basketball season underway, hopes are high in Omaha as the Creighton Bluejays received their highest preseason ranking in program history. The Jays are favorites to win the Big East Conference led by one of the best starting lineups in the nation: Ryan Nembhard, Trey Alexander, Baylor Scheierman, Arthur Kaluma, and Ryan Kalkbrenner.

The Jays starting lineup is hard to stop, thanks in part to sophomore guard Ryan Nembhard. Nembhard is coming off a fantastic freshman year, where he won the Big East Freshman of the Year Award, averaging 11 points and almost five assists per game. Nembhard was named to the Preseason All-Big East Second Team. 

At shooting guard is Trey Alexander, who is coming off a great NCAA Tournament. Alexander had to fill the point guard duties after Nembhard went down late in the season with a wrist injury. After averaging nearly 17 points a game in the NCAA Tournament, he hopes to take a jump this season and become one of the best scorers in the conference.

Baylor Scheierman, arguably the best player to ever transfer to Creighton, will be starting at the small forward this year. Scheierman formerly played for South Dakota State, winning Summit League Player of the Year while averaging 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. Scheierman has been added to the Nasmith Preseason Award Watch List, which is given to the best college basketball player in the country.

The starter at the power forward position is the Jays’ best draft prospect, Arthur Kaluma.  Kaluma is entering this season with high expectations after having a breakout game in the NCAA Tournament against Kansas, where he had 24 points and 12 rebounds. Kaluma is known for his high motor and emphatic dunks. 

Holding down the paint for the Jays is Ryan Kalkbrenner. Standing at 7’1, the center is coming off of his best year, where he won Big East Defensive Player of the Year. Kalkbrenner averaged 2.8 blocks per game last year which was tied for the most in the Big East. Ryan has already been named to the Preseason All Big East First Team, and named to the preseason watchlist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, which is given to the best center in the country.

Through the first games, the Jays were off to a great start, taking care of their first four opponents by an average of 22 points. However, things got tough when they traveled to Maui for the Maui Jim Invitational. In game one the Bluejays took on Texas Tech where they struggled with turnovers in the first half, making the game tight at halftime. Star center Ryan Kalkbrenner was out a lot of the first half due to a sprained ankle. Kalkbrenner then returned in the second half where he dominated. The Jays ended up winning 76-65. In game two of the Maui Invitational the Jays took on Arkansas which was a close game the whole way through. The momentum in this game really changed after Nembhard threw down a dunk, giving the Jays a three point lead.The Jays ended up winning 90-87. The Jays were led by Nembhard who had 25 points, Scheirman who had 20 points, and Kalkbrenner who had 21 points. The Jays finally hit a roadblock when they played Arizona. The Jays were tired and it showed in this game. Arizona was able to get the ball inside whenever they wanted which opened up their three-point shooting. The Jays were able to make a late run, which was still not enough to close out the Wildcats, resulting in a 2 point loss for the boys from Omaha. The Jays’ struggles have only continued since the Arizona game as they dropped a road game against Texas and a home game against the unranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. These losses were due to the team’s recent shooting struggles.

Conference play is right around the corner and the Jays are the favorites to take the Big East. The Jays’ real challenge, though, are the Huskies from UConn. The Huskies are led by preseason Big East Player of the Year, Adama Sonogo. Even with this competition, the Jays are still the team to beat in the conference.