News broke last weekend that red-shirt freshman wing Darian Harris would not be returning to Creighton for his second year on the Hilltop.
Harris’ departure opened up a scholarship for the Bluejays 2014-2015 campaign. Prior to Harris’ decision the Jays were currently full following the commitment of Boston University point guard Maurice Watson. Despite the Jays being at the limit the coaching staff had been keeping a close eye on the landscape and movement within college basketball, keeping an inventory on players who fit the Creighton mold.
Atop that list was Nevada transfer Cole Huff.
Creighton was intently focused on the 6’8” sharpshooting transfer who hails from Altadena, California. Coming out of high school Cole was recruited by a number of west coast schools primarily as a shooter. Yet over his first two seasons at Nevada, Cole added multiple dimensions to his game including putting the ball on the court and an improving presence of the defensive end of the floor. As a sophomore Cole averaged 12.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, making 40.3% (56-139) of his threes and 82.2% (83-101) of his free throws. To put those numbers in perspective Cole would have finished 4th on Creighton’s record-breaking 2013-2014 roster in threes made and 2nd in free throws made.
However, Huff found himself wanting more from his experience in college. He had hopes to prove himself at the highest level and following the Wolfpack’s season felt this would be best accomplished elsewhere.
Cole was seen as one of the most coveted transfers on the market with schools lining up accordingly. Iowa, Michigan, Dayton, USC and UCLA all inquired about Cole. Huff had scheduled to take visits to Iowa, Dayton, Michigan and Creighton, but cancelled the visits to Dayton and Michigan following his visit to Creighton.
Creighton got the first word and made quite an impression.
WBR has learned that Cole committed to Coach McDermott and the Bluejay staff today. Assistant Coach Steve Lutz was one of the first coaches to reach out to the Wolfpack transfer, quickly identifying the 6’8” scorers value within the Creighton system. Huff becomes Creighton’s fourth addition to the roster, and it’s second transfer this off season. Huff will join Boston University transfer Maurice Watson in sitting out the 2014-2015 season per NCAA rules, becoming eligible for the Bluejays in 2015-2016 as a Junior.
WBR staff caught up with Creighton’s latest addition to Shooter U.
“I saw Creighton play a few times this season. I caught a number of their games on television when relaxing before my games,” Huff told WBR’s Alex Anthony in a phone interview. “To be honest, I had no idea that Creighton was in Omaha. The first time I even heard of Omaha, was when Peyton started yelling it.”
Even after announcing that he was transferring, he had little intentions of making his way to the mid-west.
“It was the Creighton coaches that reached out. I think they know what I know now, that my game is an excellent fit in Coach McDermott’s system.” Cole went on to talk about just how Creighton would utilize his talents moving forward. “I’ve always been a solid shooter, and recently have developed good ball skills, being able to put the ball on the floor, but I really like how Creighton runs its offense.”
After doing more research on Creighton, Huff was thoroughly impressed with the versatility and scoring prowess of Creighton’s front-court. “There is no one player who can replace Doug, or what Ethan did this last year, but I like the idea of being in an offense that is based of ball screens and reads. That is a part of my game that was under-used at Nevada, I like coming off ball screens and complexity of movement. It is something I want to get back to going forward.”
Cole said he really enjoyed his visit. “I hung out with James Milliken and Devin Brooks mainly, but got a feel for the whole team. I would say I am pretty low-key, I like to relax and watch basketball at any level and that’s what the guys did. There was a real cool vibe, our personalities really meshed well.”
Per NCAA rules Huff would have to sit for a season, but don’t look for Cole to slow down. “I really plan on using this transfer year to get better in every aspect of the game. Just because I won’t be competing doesn’t mean I don’t have to work hard, if anything I have to work harder. I need to improve my speed and stamina to become the well-rounded player I want to be. I need to work on my body, to develop that true inside-out presence a player like Doug worked so hard to form, and I really want to master the game plan of the team so I can hit the ground running once I am eligible.”
Once Huff is eligible Creighton plans to use the versatile scorer at multiple positions on the floor. He’ll join a Creighton squad in 2015-2016 that will include Senior’s Geoffrey Groselle and James Milliken, as well as Junior’s Maurice Watson, Zach Hanson and Isaiah Zierden, with sophomore’s Toby Hegner, Leon Gilmore and Ronnie Harrell. Huff, who averaged over 32 minutes his sophomore season at Nevada, will be a key figure to the Jays from the outset.
Lastly Anthony asked Cole what the most important aspect he was looking for in his new school. “One word, winning. I’ve never been to the NCAA tournament so that is my top priority.”
Huff was also interested in Fran McCaffery’s Iowa side, but during the visit Huff was convinced that Creighton was the place for him.
Welcome to the Creighton family Cole!
WBR’s Joey Tempo and Alex Anthony contributed to this report.