Creighton recruiting target Tristan Enaruna stands at 6-foot-9. Well, maybe 6-foot-10, if you round up.
Coaches who’ve worked with him, watched him grow and contemplated his next-level potential are convinced that Enaruna has the height of a forward — but the skills of a cross-you-over, ball-screen-reading, jump-shooting guard. He’s yet another product of basketball’s new age, where body type doesn’t have to dictate how a player trains or what skills get mastered.
Enaruna’s high school coach has admittedly marveled firsthand for the last year. In fact, the game that always comes to mind for Wasatch coach David Evans was his team’s trip to Bishop Walsh in February, when Enaruna dropped 22 points.
The Netherlands native took over in the third quarter. He buried a catch-and-shoot 3. He drove left, spun back right and drew a foul. He broke the press and lofted in a floater. He caught an in-bounds pass and elevated for a thunderous one-handed, lefty jam.
“The biggest thing for us was just giving him experience in the game,” Evans said. “He came here to play at this high of level, and he was still trying to get used to that.”
Enaruna’s figured it out. Now he’s ready for the next challenge.
The four-star 2019 prospect is in the middle of his cross-country college tour. He’ll begin an official visit at Creighton on Friday — he went to Miami earlier this week and he’ll travel down to see Kansas at the start of next week.
For the Jays, he’d be a prized addition to their 2019 recruiting class, which includes potential-filled guards Shereef Mitchell and Jalen Windham. Those two weren’t as highly sought after, though — they’re rated as three-star recruits.
Enaruna, on the other hand, checks in at No. 48 in 247Sports’ ranking of 2019 players. He’s 105th according to Rivals.
Dozens of college coaches made their way out to Wasatch Academy in Utah to evaluate him over the past season, according to Evans. And many of them extended scholarship offers.
But few have been targeting Enaruna as long as Creighton. He’s been at the top of the Jays’ 2019 board for almost two years.
It’s not difficult to understand why.
CU’s space-the-floor, push-the-pace offense seems to fit the skill set of a player like Enaruna, who was groomed to play a European-style game since he joined an academy in his home country as a 12-year-old.
But Roel van de Graaf, the youth director of BC Apollo Amsterdam, said Enaruna’s always read the floor differently than his peers. At Apollo, trainers make a point to stress versatility — all players work the same drills, regardless of position — but Enaruna picked things up at an accelerated rate, according to van de Graaf.
“Basketball is one of the toughest sports in the world to teach, with so many aspects, so many technical skills,” van de Graaf said. “Tristan, he’s a very quick learner. He has a great understanding of the game — together with a passion that you don’t see a lot.”
Plus, his athleticism allows him to do things many 6-foot-9 players cannot.
And yet he has so much room to grow, too. He’s a 17-year-old who’s still learning the American game. But college coaches can see the potential. Evans, too.
He’s eager to watch Enaruna continue to develop.
“This year, he just turned a corner,” Evans said. “And, I mean, lately in open gym? He’s been killing it. He gets better every day.”
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After growing up in Cascade, Iowa, Greg McDermott went on to play at Northern Iowa from 1984-88, earning second-team all-conference honors as a junior.
After serving as an assistant at North Dakota, Greg McDermott got his first head coaching job at Wayne State in 1994. He won 116 games there in six years and led the Wildcats to four straight 20-win seasons.
Greg McDermott took over at his alma mater, Northern Iowa, in April 2001. He made three consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament from 2004-06.
Greg McDermott was introduced as Iowa State's new coach in March 2006, but he struggled to find success in Ames. He left after four seasons with a losing overall record, no NCAA tournament appearances and no better than a seventh-place finish in the Big 12.
Greg McDermott was tabbed in April 2010 to replace Dana Altman as Creighton's next men's basketball coach.
Greg McDermott inherited a Creighton roster in his first season that included experienced veterans like Kenny Lawson and Antoine Young, as well as a mix of talented young players like Grant Gibbs, Gregory Echenique and his son, Doug McDermott.
Greg McDermott led Creighton to a 23-16 overall record in his first season. The Bluejays played in the College Basketball Invitational and lost in the championship series to Oregon and former Bluejay coach Dana Altman.
In 2012, Greg McDermott won his first Missouri Valley tournament title with Creighton, defeating Illinois State by four in the championship game.
The 2011-12 season also featured Creighton's first NCAA tournament victory in a decade. The No. 8-seeded Bluejays defeated Alabama in the first round before falling to North Carolina.
Creighton and Greg McDermott made it back-to-back conference tournament titles in 2013. The Bluejays also won the regular-season championship that season.
Greg McDermott led Creighton back to the NCAA tournament in 2013, this time as a No. 7 seed, and defeated Cincinnati in the opener before getting eliminated by Duke in the second round.
Greg McDermott helped steer Creighton into the Big East, and he made his coaching debut in the conference on Dec. 31, 2013 with a 67-49 victory over Marquette.
Greg McDermott had the opportunity to coach his son, Doug McDermott, for four seasons at Creighton. Doug was a three-time All-American under his father and won the national player of the year award in 2014.
Creighton's third consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament ended with another second-round loss. After defeating Louisiana-Lafayette in the opener, CU fell by 30 to Baylor, again falling short of the Sweet 16.
Creighton's first season in the post-Doug McDermott era was a struggle, as the Bluejays limped to a 14-19 overall record — 4-14 in the Big East — under Greg McDermott in 2014-15.
Creighton saw improvement under Greg McDermott in 2015-16, finishing sixth in the Big East with a 9-9 record. The Bluejays made it to the NIT that season, losing to BYU in the quarterfinals.
Greg McDermott led Creighton to its best start in program history during the 2016-17 season. The Bluejays won their first 13 games and were ranked as high as No. 7 nationally before struggling down the stretch.
The late-season struggles continued for Greg McDermott and Creighton into the NCAA tournament. The No. 6-seeded Bluejays fell to Rhode Island in the first round, ending their once-promising season.
Greg McDermott was targeted by Ohio State for its head coaching vacancy, but on June 8, 2017, he announced that he was staying with the Bluejays.
Greg McDermott led Creighton to 21-12 record in 2018. The Jays ended the season with three straight losses, including 72-68 to Providence in the Big East tournament and 69-59 to Kansas State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Creighton coach Greg McDermott comforts Marcus Foster near the end of a 69-59 loss to Kansas State in the 2018 NCAA tournament. The loss was the Jays' third straight in the NCAA tournament.