Looking back on Creighton’s season

Yeah, I know there is some time left in the college hoops season. This weekend’s Sweet Sixteen winners will be heading to New Orleans for the Final Four.

But I’m not going. Creighton lost to the top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels in Greensboro, N.C., last weekend. I won’t be shooting the Creighton Bluejays, and I won’t be watching the games at home, either.

Creighton's Gregory Echenique, left, and Ethan Wragge make their way off the court after their team's 87-73 loss to North Carolina on March 18, 2012. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD


The last couple months have not made me a bigger basketball fan. But I did become quite a bit more knowledgable about the sport and the Bluejays, who finished the season with a 29-6 record.

I learned that star Doug McDermott is more likely to frown than smile. He also accumulates points at a sneaky-fast rate. There were a number of games when I was thankful for a scoreboard that alerted me to his point total.

I learned that Josh Jones is quick to crack a smile, so he’s a good person to look to for reaction pictures.

I learned that head coach Greg McDermott would show emotion, but it wouldn’t last long. He stays levelheaded and focused on the game.

I learned that center Gregory Echenique isn’t great on the offensive end, but he is a physical, tough player. I often would follow him on rebounds.

Creighton's Gregory Echenique goes over and through Evansville's Troy Taylor in this second-half play during the Missouri Valley Tournament on March 3, 2012. Echenique was called for a foul.


I did enjoy the little comments I got to hear by being near the bench and in the locker room. After Echenique threw down a fairly vicious dunk over/through UNC star John Henson, Henson joked with a Bluejay player that he was a little embarrassed by the play.

Creighton's Gregory Echenique dunks over UNC's John Henson on March 18, 2012. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD


On the break day between the second-round game and the third-round game, practices were closed. This meant I needed to shoot pictures of players getting of the bus, walking in the hall and sitting in the locker room. Scintillating. I did enjoy watching North Carolina and national news media crowd around Creighton’s Doug McDermott to repeatedly ask him questions about his high school teammate Harrison Barnes, who plays for UNC. Even better, a Nebraska reporter asked Greg McDermott how many times he has been asked about his son and Barnes throughout the week. I’m sure the coach’s answer wasn’t shown on TV.

To paraphrase: Well, you’ve asked me about it 15 times this week, so do you want me to include that in the total?

Lots of local news media talk with Doug McDermott after practice in Greensboro, N.C., on March 17, 2012. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD


One of the challenges of covering a team through the postseason is that there are a number of limitations put on photographers by the NCAA. Your shooting position on the floor is marked down. That is where you have to shoot from. You can’t go on the court after the game, so it’s a challenge to make the images look different. Since I was covering the game by myself, I used remote cameras to get different looks. I also tried to be in the hallway outside the locker room when I could. It’s important to attempt to take the viewer to places they can’t see.

Creighton's Doug McDermott and the Bluejays get ready to take the court for warmups before their game with the Evansville Purple Aces in a semifinal game of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Louis on March 3, 2012. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD


A couple of my favorite pictures happened before Creighton played in the postseason games. In one picture, Doug McDermott runs into another player. It’s similar to a photo I shared from an early game when I was a bit more unlucky. Read more about that shot here.

Creighton's Doug McDermott catches T.J. Robinson's forearm with his nose while driving to the basket in the second half against Long Beach State on Feb. 18, 2012. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD


The second image also is from the dramatic come-from-behind win over Long Beach State.

Creighton's Jahenns Manigat lets out a scream of joy after Antoine Young's last-second shot helped the Bluejays defeat Long Beach State 81-79 at the CenturyLink Center Omaha on Feb. 18, 2012. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD


About Matt Miller

I’ve been shooting Cornhuskers, cowboys and common folks at the Omaha World-Herald since September 2002. I was lucky enough to catch the end of the Tom Osborne era while in college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Any day I get to spend in Nebraska's Sandhills is a good day. If nice light and people (a rare sight in western Nebraska) are tossed into the mix, it’s even better. Shooting photos for the World-Herald offers several challenges: the repetition of sporting events, handling my own feelings at emotional events like shootings and funerals, and handling the wide range of weather we cover in the Great Plains. I’d be happy to share more, but you’ll have to buy me a drink, first. You can see a larger selection of my work at my website.
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  1. Emmalee says:

    Interesting images. Can’t wait to see more to come!

  2. Emmalee says:

    Also observations for class assignment at Md. South