World-Herald staff writer Steven Pivovar shares his observations from Thursday’s Creighton men’s basketball practice at the CenturyLink Center:
SEEN: The Bluejays went through a two-hour workout with the focus on Marquette, their opponent in the Big East opener on New Year’s Eve.
SEEN: Backup guard Steve Ferrarini sitting out the practice. He said he’s recovering from a respiratory infection but will return on Friday.
SEEN: Freshman forward Zach Hanson being active on the offensive end. At one point, he found Will Artino with a nice lob pass as the big men successfully worked a high-low maneuver. Another time, Hanson missed a dunk on a hard drive to the basket but hustled down the rebound and scored on a layup.
HEARD: “Guys, we’re in trouble. That’s not a California blockout right there.” — Creighton coach Greg McDermott, emphasizing the need to rebound against Marquette with the similar zeal the Bluejays showed in winning the rebound battle against California
SEEN: Good efforts by scout teamers Geoff Groselle and Alex Olsen during the workouts. Groselle was playing the role of Marquette’s best inside player, Davante Gardner, while Olsen simulated Golden Eagles forward Juan Anderson.
HEARD: “You can’t be missing bunnies like that.” — guard Avery Dingman, with tongue in cheek, after a rare miss by sharpshooting Ethan Wragge from 3-point range
SEEN: Wragge is known for his shooting but he showed off his passing skills from the perimeter in setting up Grant Gibbs for an easy layup.
SEEN: Guard James Milliken showing his athleticism with a steal near midcourt and a fast-break dunk. Milliken also was on target with numerous shots from the perimeter.
SEEN: Artino missing a free throw at the end of practice that would have saved his teammates some conditioning sprints. McDermott told the Bluejays that practice would be over if Artino made two free throws in a row. Artino missed his first attempt, and the team than went through 90 seconds of sprint work.
SEEN: Assistant coach Patrick Sellers joining in the sprints and beating several players to the finish line.
ON TAP: The Bluejays will begin working on Chicago State, which visits CenturyLink for a Sunday afternoon game. McDermott elected to spend the first two practices after returning from a short holiday break on Marquette because of the one-day turnaround between games against the Cougars and Golden Eagles. He told the players after the workout that it’s time to hone in on Chicago State the next two days.