Will Artino returned to the court Monday as Creighton started gearing up for Friday's NCAA tournament game against Cincinnati.
The sophomore center hadn't practiced since spraining his ankle last Wednesday. He participated in all of the drills at the start of Monday's workout and did some running during scrimmage situations.
“This is the first day I've been able to participate in the full-court stuff,” Artino said. “I did a lot more than we even thought I'd be able to do. It felt really good, and I'm confident that I'm on a faster track than we thought I'd be.
“Having the Friday game definitely helps because it gives me an extra day. I'm confident I'll be good to go.”
Artino's favorable health report was the big news on a day that also saw:
>> Doug McDermott earn his second straight first-team selection to the United States Basketball Writers Association's All-America team. He became the 75th player to earn multiple first-team USBWA recognition.
>> The Bluejays move up a spot to 22nd in the Associated Press rankings and three spots to 21st in the coaches poll.
Artino has emerged as a valuable contributor to Creighton's regular rotation the past six weeks. He scored a career-high 14 points in the Bluejays' quarterfinal win against Drake at the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
His availability for Creighton's NCAA opener appeared in jeopardy when he sustained a grade 2 sprain of the left ankle when the Bluejays returned to practice three days after winning the league tournament.
“I don't think he's 100 percent yet,” coach Greg McDermott said, “but it was good to see him out there.”
Creighton will face Cincinnati in a 1:45 p.m. game Friday at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center. The Bluejays will practice Tuesday on campus, then leave for Philadelphia early Wednesday morning.
McDermott said the team will hold full-scale practices Wednesday and Thursday in Philadelphia. Creighton also will go through a one-hour public workout Thursday at the arena.
“We gave the players a look at some things today, and we'll iron it out tomorrow and the next day,” McDermott said. “Then we'll iron it out on Thursday.”
McDermott and his staff spent most of Sunday night scouring footage of the 22-11 Bearcats, starting to put together a scouting report. They worked until early Monday morning, then got back at it after a few hours of sleep.
McDermott was asked about his early impressions of Cincinnati.
“I liked our draw a lot better before watching them play,” he said. “They're very similar to Alabama in a lot of ways.”
The Bluejays faced the Crimson Tide in the second round of last season's tournament. Creighton posted a 58-57 victory before North Carolina ended its season in the third round.
“Cincinnati is very sound defensively, very disruptive defensively,” McDermott said. “And it's not often we've faced a team with three guards as good as theirs are.”
Sean Kilpatrick, Cashmere Wright and JaQuon Parker combine to score 40 points for a team that is averaging 66 per game.
“They're going to challenge our defense,” McDermott said, “and the job really begins when the ball goes up. They're a great rebounding team.”
Doug McDermott's selection to the USBWA All-America team made him the first player from a non-power league to earn back-to-back, first-team recognition since UNLV's Larry Johnson in 1990 and 1991.
McDermott also is believed to be the first Bluejay to earn first-team honors twice from the same organization, and the first to earn multiple first-team recognition since Paul Silas from 1961 to 1964.
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