From the time Creighton started playing men’s basketball (1916-1917) through the 1959-1960 season, the Bluejays called the Vinardi Center home. CU went 336-92 in 42 seasons in the on-campus gym, which now stands as home to the basketball practice facility.
Each week of the Creighton men’s basketball season, WBR will catch up with a Creighton coach to report about practice and the state of the program.
This week, we poke our microphone into the huddled media masses at a midweek practice.
Greg McDermott, on the unselfish nature of his team:
“Guys are passing up good shots to get great shots, and when you do that naturally you think you’d make a higher percentage of them. We’re getting a fair amount of touches inside by the pass, it is being driven in there by our point guards, by Grant [Gibbs] in particular, by Josh Jones who is making better decisions. Jahenns [Manigat] is a better ball handler and passer this year, and I think our big guys are doing a better job this year of handling and passing the basketball. But without question the unselfish approach is the reason we are who we are today.”
McDermott, on what he knows about his team through 5 games:
“We’re getting better. We certainly have room for improvement, particularly on the defensive end of the floor and in some aspects of the rebounding efforts. Those are areas where we absolutely have to have improvement, and those will be some of the keys to the game on Wednesday.”
McDermott, on comparisons between this season and last season:
“I haven’t seen the panic this year that I saw at times last season. There were several times last year when we gave up leads in the second half and I would sense on the bench at times the feeling of ‘here we go again.’ I just think there’s a little bit more confidence in each other among this group, they’ve been together a little bit longer, and certainly adding Grant Gibbs to the mix has helped in that regard as well. He has a great presence about him, regardless of the situation.”
McDermott, on Gibbs:
“I saw him play enough in high school that I knew what he was capable of. He’s brought those things that I was so attracted to when I first saw him play as a sophomore in high school to our team. He has a great composure on the floor, understands when to make the play, and he’s doing a better job than anybody on our team of getting the ball inside.”
McDermott, on his team not playing a close game through 5 games:
“We haven’t been in a close game. The UAB game did get close in the last 5 or 6 minutes, and we needed to find a way to pull it out. But we haven’t been in the situation where the game is tied with a minute to play and we need a stop, a score, and a stop to win. San Diego State, on the other hand, has played four straight games like that, and they’ve found a way to win all four.”
McDermott, on what the team’s doing to prepare for this tough week of non-conference games:
“Well, we’re taking it one game at a time. San Diego State presents its own set of challenges, some things we haven’t seen before. But we have to prepare for some things that are a little different than what we’ve seen in our first five games, and some things defensively that we think maybe we can exploit that we haven’t had to use yet. So that’s where the last couple days of practice have been spent, and where today and tomorrow will be important.”
Grant Gibbs, on the unselfish play of the perimeter guys having a positive effect on the rest of the team:
“I think that passing is contagious. I think everyone’s doing a pretty good job of distributing the ball. It builds toward making the extra pass and it has gotten us really good shots, which is one of the reasons why our field goal percentage is so high.”
Gibbs, on his strengths as a player:
“I’ve always kind of been a distributor and filled up the stat sheet. I’ve never been a primary scorer, but I’ve played with great players ever since high school and then of course here. I’m used to playing with a primary scorer and playing off of them, so it has worked out perfectly here.”
Gibbs, on playing tough defense even when things are clicking on offense:
“People can look at the box score [from the Campbell game] or see the score on the bottom of ESPN and think we played really well, and offensively obviously we did. But we as players and obviously the coaching staff know that we are going to have to rely on our defense to win games, especially in Missouri Valley Conference games when people want to slow it down. So getting stops and being able to stop people are things that we really need to value. It has been the emphasis since day one, the value of getting stops and being able to play possession basketball when it slows down or when buckets are hard to come by.”