2012--13 RECORD 28--8 MVC 13--5 (1ST) WHAT'S BACK MINUTES: 81.1% POINTS: 81.5% REBOUNDS: 69.1%
You've heard of a one-trick pony? Well, Creighton fifth-year senior Ethan Wragge is a one-shot Bluejay. Of Wragge's 187 field goal attempts last season, 175 came from beyond the arc.
It's easy to see why the 6'7", 225-pound supersub has a cult following in Omaha, and he embraces his role as the consummate catch-and-shooter. He likes to brag about a game at Northern Iowa two seasons ago in which he scored eight points despite having the ball in his possession for just 11 seconds. Wragge does not pass—he dished just 14 assists in 582 minutes—and he likely has more career threes (224) than dribbles. "That's scary to think that's accurate," says coach Greg McDermott says, "but it is."
Wragge (pronounced RAH-gee) grew up in Eden Prairie, Minn., shooting endless treys from the corners, because those were the most level shots available on the slanted street in his cul-de-sac. Now Wragge runs to the corner to clear space so that senior All-America forward Doug McDermott, Greg's son, can work through his low-post moves without being double-teamed by the big charged with guarding Wragge.
In Creighton's offense Wragge and McDermott often set double high screens. That action can leave point guard Grant Gibbs an open lane to the basket, McDermott with a mismatch or Wragge with the split second he needs to pop open for a three. "It puts a lot of pressure on the defense," Greg McDermott says.
The Bluejays might not be able to move as freely now that they've joined the bump-and-grind Big East, but the team that finished in the top 10 nationally in field goal percentage (50.1), three-point percentage (41.4) and assists (16.9) will surely continue to fire from long range. And though he claims to have worked on his 15-foot face-up game over the summer, if you see Wragge run to the corner, chances are you know what's coming next.
Projected Lineup (2012--13 STATS)
PG GRANT GIBBS*
SR. 6'5" 8.5 PPG 5.8 APG
G AUSTIN CHATMAN*
JR. 6'0" 7.4 PPG 4.2 APG
SG JAHENNS MANIGAT*
SR. 6'1" 5.9 PPG 2.3 APG
PF DOUG MCDERMOTT*
SR. 6'8" 23.2 PPG 7.7 RPG
C WILL ARTINO
JR. 6'11" 3.9 PPG 2.5 RPG
PF ETHAN WRAGGE
SR. 6'7" 7.7 PPG 2.6 RPG
PG AVERY DINGMAN
JR. 6'6" 3.7 PPG 2.3 APG
GREG MCDERMOTT (4TH SEASON)
SIWhat will be better about Doug McDermott's game?
GM His release is quicker, and his ballhandling has improved. He's continued to work on his midrange and face-up game. He's really worked on his on-ball defense. He had the opportunity to guard some NBA guys on the perimeter in Vegas this summer. He feels like he's made some strides, and that'll show.
SIYou were elated to get Grant Gibbs back for a sixth year. Why?
GM The guy just knows how to play the game. He's a really good decision maker and passer, but his best attribute is that he's able to relate to virtually everyone on our team and push the right buttons. He knows when guys need a kick in the tail or a pat on the back—he can recognize that on the floor or in the locker room. Those types of attributes, you don't come across them all the time as a coach. I appreciate them even more because I thought he wouldn't be back.
[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]
ROUND OF 32
ROUND OF 32
GREG NELSON FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MCDERMOTT)
ERIC FRANCIS/GETTY IMAGES (WRAGGE)
ROB CARR/GETTY IMAGES (MASCOT)