Men’s basketball quintet take BIG EAST honors
OMAHA, Neb. — Five members of the Creighton men’s basketball team received BIG EAST Conference recognition on Sunday, March 6. Ryan Hawkins was named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team and Ryan Kalkbrenner was named All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention. Additionally, the Bluejay Trio of Ryan Nembhard, Alexander Trey and Arthur Kaluma were named to the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team.
Hawkins leads the BIG EAST with 11 double-doubles and tops the Bluejays with 14.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in his first year on the program. The sixth-year Atlantic, Iowa senior has started all 30 games and is one of three men (along with Adama Sanogo and Justin Lewis) in the BIG EAST to rank in the top 10 in points and rebounds per game . Hawkins’ selection gives Creighton a player named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team for the seventh consecutive season.
Kalkbrenner had a league-high 80 blocked shots, a big reason the Bluejays lead the league in field goal defense percentage (.400). The St. Louis, Mo. sophomore also has a conference-best 111 offensive rebounds, the most by a Creighton player since Bob Harstad in 1988-89. Kalkbrenner is CU’s fourth All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention player in the past four seasons, joining Denzel Mahoney (2020-21), Martin Krampelj (2018-19) and Ty-Shon Alexander (2018-19).
Nembhard became Creighton’s first unanimous All-Freshman pick since Marcus Zegarowski in 2018-19. Nembhard was named the league-leading BIG EAST freshman of the week six times after beating the Bluejays in assists (4.4), steals (1.3) and minutes (34.8) per game. The Aurora, Ontario, Canada product averaged 11.3 points per contest before undergoing season-ending right wrist surgery on Feb. 25. Georgetown’s Aminu Mohammed and Marquette’s Kam Jones were also unanimous picks for the All-Freshman team.
Alexander has averaged 6.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while starting the last eight of his 30 appearances to date. He scored seven times in double figures and returned to starting point guard duties after Nembhard suffered an injury on February 23. The Oklahoma City, Okla., native was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week three times during his freshman season.
Kaluma is averaging 9.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game while starting 25 of his 26 appearances. The Glendale, Arizona product has scored in double digits 10 times this season and was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on Feb. 14.
Creighton is the first team to sign three All-Freshman team members from BIG EAST in the same season since Georgetown placed Mac McClung, James Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc on the team in 2018-19.
League head coaches choose teams from all conferences and are not allowed to vote for their own players. The league will announce its Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year on Wednesday.
Fourth-seeded Creighton (20-10) will face fifth-seeded Marquette (19-11) Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Central Time in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Tournament presented by JEEP. The match will be played at Madison Square Garden and can be heard on KOZN (4:20 p.m.) and watched on FS1.
ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM+
RJ Cole, Conn., G, Gr., 6-1, 185, Union, NJ
Adama Sanogo, Connecticut, F, So., 6-9, 240, Bamako, Mali
Justin Lewis, Marquette, F, So., 6-7, 245, Baltimore, Maryland.
Julian Champagnie, St. John’s, GF, Jr., 6-8, 215, Brooklyn, NY
Jared Rhoden, Seton Hall, GF, 6-6, 210 Baldwin, NY
*Collin Gillespie, Villanova, G, Gr., 6-3, 195, Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania.
ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM
Ryan HawkinsCreighton, F, Sr., 6-7, 222, Atlantic, Iowa
Javon Freeman-Liberty, DePaul, G, Sr., 6-4, 180, Chicago, Illinois.
Jared Bynum, Providence, G, R-Jr., 5-10, 180, Largo, Maryland.
Nate Watson, Providence, F, Gr., 6-10, 260, Portsmouth, Va.
Justin Moore, Villanova, G, Jr., 6-4, 210, ft. Washington, Maryland
HONORABLE MENTION ALL-BIG EAST
Ryan KalkbrennerCreighton, C, So., 7-0, 256, St. Louis, Mo.
Darryl Morsell, Marquette, G, Gr., 6-5, 205, Baltimore, Maryland.
Posh Alexander, St. John’s, G, So., 6-0, 200, Brooklyn, NY
Jack Nunge, Xavier, C, Jr., 7-0, 245, Newburgh, Ind.
BIG EAST ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
Jordan Hawkins, Connecticut, G, 6-5, 175, Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Alexander TreyCreighton, G, 6-4, 185, Oklahoma City, Okla.
*Ryan NembhardCreighton, G, 6-0, 167, Aurora, Ont.
Arthur KalumaCreighton, F, 6-7, 220, Glendale, Ariz.
*Aminu Mohammed, Georgetown, G, 6-5, 210, Temple Hills, Maryland.
*Kam Jones, Marquette, G, 6-4, 185, Cordova, Tenn.
* Indicates a unanimous selection