When Baylor Scheierman announced this morning that he was transferring to Creighton, the Bluejays immediately became a legitimate Final Four contender.
Scheierman chose Greg McDermott’s program over Arkansas, Duke, Nebraska and Clemson.
Scheierman, a 6-foot-6 guard from Aurora, NE., has played his first three seasons of college ball at South Dakota St. He led the Jackrabbits to the NCAA Tournament and was named the Summitt League Player of the Year this past season.
Scheierman started all 35 games, averaging 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He hit 50.8 percent of his field-goal attempts, 46.9 percent of his 3-pointers and 80.2 percent of his free-throw attempts.
South Dakota St. came into the NCAA Tournament on a 21-game winning streak, but the Jackrabbits lost a 66-57 decision to Providence in the opening round. Scheierman had 18 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in the losing effort.
“I decided to commit to Creighton because I really like how they play,” Scheierman told ESPN. “They are an unselfish team who really share the ball, and that’s what I’m used to and I enjoy playing that way. They also let their guys play free and loose, and I feel like I play my best in that type of system.
“They have a great group of guys coming back that are very talented and know how to play the right way, and I think us together can do something special. Also, the opportunity to come home was an offer I couldn’t resist.”
Creighton returns four starters from a team that finished 23-12 this past year. Even without a pair of starters in point guard Ryan Nembhard and 7-footer Ryan Kalkbrenner, the Bluejays trailed Kansas, the eventual national champion, by only one with less than a minute remaining in the Round of 32.
The Jayhawks would score the last six points to capture a 79-72 win, but Creighton easily covered the spread as a double-digit underdog.
Nembhard was the Big East Freshman of the Year, but he sustained a broken wrist late in the regular season.
McDermott’s starting lineup will likely consist of Nembhard and Trey Alexander as guards along with Scheierman. Kalkbrenner is an outstanding stretch five, while Arthur Kaluma will play the four. Kaluma had 24 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one blocked shot in the loss to KU.
DraftKings has Creighton with 30/1 odds to win the national title, while FanDuel has the Bluejays at 24/1. Noted college hoops guru Jon Rothstein has Creigton at No. 2 in his ‘Rothstein 45’ preseason rankings.