Andre Yates had that smile on his face.
The kind that said the incoming Creighton freshman was just that, an incoming freshman three weeks into his Division I basketball career.
“There's a lot to learn,” he said.
A few dozen CU fans got their first glimpse of the Jays' Class of 2012 on Thursday night, the opening week of the Metro Summer Basketball League at Omaha Sports Academy.
Yates and fellow freshman Isaiah Zierden played together on the Thompson Basketball Camp team, along with CU sophomore Avery Dingman. Yates, a 6-foot point guard from Dayton, Ohio, and Zierden, a 6-2 guard from suburban Minneapolis, have had a handful of workouts and practices with the returning Jays.
Dingman said the two are ahead of schedule.
“I know exactly what they're going through,” Dingman said. “They've kind of come in ahead of where most do.”
The toughest part of the transition, Dingman said, is picking things up defensively.
“And that's where they're ahead of things,” he added.
On Thursday, each flashed a bit of what has Creighton fans excited about their futures. Yates was quick off the dribble and good with the handle. He showed he can elevate at the rim well for a guard.
Zierden offered glimpses of the shooting stroke that many have talked about, although his shot was a bit off for most of the evening.
But each has plenty to work on.
“It's a big change,” Zierden said. “Before, you felt like you pushed yourself. Now you get here and they work you 10 times harder. The work is the difference.”
Yates, a left-handed point guard, said he was most surprised by the intensity of play at the next level, even if it is just summer workouts.
“You can't take any plays off,” he said. “Defense ... that's the main obligation right now. That's the priority. That's the word coaches are constantly saying.”
As for redshirting, Yates said he doesn't expect to sit out next year.
“From what I understand,” he said, “I'm going to be playing right away.”
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