Most figured Arizona was the heavy favorite to land highly-prized Arthur Kaluma. They have been a Pac-12 powerhouse before the recent downturn. They had a new coaching staff with Gonzaga roots. They were the in-state lead horse. No one seemed to think Creighton had much of a shot (aside from The Fizz). The Bluejays are the ones laughing, having landed the top-40 talent who will be a matchup nightmare in the Big East.
How did Greg McDermott do it? A pro-style offense that Kaluma can jump into, play one season, and then head to the league from.
“I like the pieces they have and think I can come in and help them win games, achieve what we need to achieve and make a name for myself at Creighton. They play an NBA style, which will help further prepare myself for the next level I want to reach.” – Arthur Kaluma to ESPN
Syracuse’s depth at forward must’ve played a huge role. It’s also hard not to wonder if Syracuse’s distinctly un-NBA scheme was a negative. The 2-3 zone is an entity all to itself, the subject of wonderment and confusion across college basketball. But even the offense is a hybrid of “loose structure,” and guard initiated pseudo-half court sets. Sometimes fast break. Sometimes slow it down. Sometimes let the hot hand have the freedom to do whatever he wants. This has led to some offensive explosions dictate NBA lottery status (Carmelo, Wes Johnson. Tyler Lydon, Tyler Ennis, Michael Carter-Williams, Malachai Richardson), but is hard to define.
“I’m a versatile 4-man that can stretch the floor and create plays for teammates. I watched a lot of film of the players they recruited, and I love the fit. Especially¬†Ryan Nembhard, who is a great point guard who will be a big piece for me. I played against¬†John Christofilis¬†at BFL — he’s a hard-nosed, knockdown shooter.” – Arthur Kaluma to ESPN
Kaluma’s defense seems to be the constant. No one worries about the effectiveness of a 7’1″ wingspan. But his offensive game does need honing for the next level, and he chose a place that has a solid point guard and effective shooter to spread the interior for him.
The depth at forward for SU must have also factored in. Benny Williams, Jimmy Boeheim and Cole Swider will all soak up minutes. Kaluma’s coach said the Orange staff did not sugarcoat that. Understandably that may have pushed Kaluma away from SU. Kaluma becomes the highest-ranked recruit in the McDermott era, which dates back more than a decade.
As we wrote here at The Fizz earlier in the week, “Stability, a multiple-bid conference, and an NBA pipeline has pushed Creighton to a next level. Despite McDermott‚Äôs controversial use of ‘plantation’ this spring, he‚Äôs not going anywhere. Kyle Korver, Doug McDermott (‘Dougie McBuckets’) and Justin Patton all are in the league. They are also battling SU and others¬†for the elite Kyle Filipowski.”
The Bluejays just proved to everyone in college hoops they can compete with any Power 5 schools on the recruiting trail as well.