Published Saturday, October 13, 2012 AT 12:15 AM / Updated at 12:19 AM
Gibbs’ block party gets teammates’ attention
Steven Pivovar Omaha World-Herald

Bits and pieces from Creighton’s first official basketball practice on Friday.

>> Grant Gibbs had a practice-stopping play during a five-on-five drill late in the workout. Gibbs evidently is taking his coaches’ pleas for improved defensive play to heart, stopping a hard drive to the basket by Avery Dingman with an emphatic block.

His teammates’ reaction — they stood around and oohed and ahhed the play — left Gibbs a bit indignant.

“They were acting like I’d never done that before,’’ Gibbs said, tongue planted in cheek.

Gibbs quickly added that he blocked two shots last season.

“They both came in the same game against Tulsa,’’ said Gibbs, proudly adding, “And one of them was against a 7-footer.’’

>> Ethan Wragge showed up for practice sporting the beard that he’s been growing since the start of school as part of a competition with Gregory Echenique.

Wragge had feared that he was headed for a date with a razor after making a visit home last weekend. His mother had not seen him with his facial hair.

“She was OK with it, kind of,’’ Wragge said.

He added that he’s still uncertain whether he’ll keep the beard once Creighton starts playing games. Asked if he’s going to allow Wragge to stay unshaven, Creighton coach Greg McDermott said, “I don’t care how he looks as long as he keeps making shots.’’

>> McDermott plans to ratchet things up in the coming days as the Bluejays have two-a-day drills scheduled from Saturday through Tuesday.

Creighton started a week-long fall break Friday. The start of basketball practice always coincides with the break and gives the coach a luxury he never experienced at his previous coaching stops.

“I’ve never been at a place with a full week off in the fall,’’ he said. “It’s absolutely an advantage. It allows the players to put their full focus on basketball. We can call them in and watch an hour of film if we want and not worry about disrupting their academic schedule.’’

The players also are limited to the NCAA 20-hour-a-week rule that is in play when school is in session. That gives the coaches the chance to schedule the two-a-days that will leave the players leg-weary by the end of the week.

Asked if he’s looking forward to the twice-daily practices, guard Austin Chatman rolled his eyes and replied, “Can’t wait.’’

About Steven Pivovar

Steven Pivovar is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and primarily covers Creighton athletics and the College World Series. You can follow Steven on Twitter (@PivOWH) or email him at spivovar@owh.com.