If things had worked out differently, David Kravish might be trying to help Creighton win Sunday’s game against California instead of trying to beat the Bluejays.
Greg McDermott first recruited the 6-foot-9 Kravish while coaching at Iowa State. He continued his pursuit of Kravish when he moved to Creighton in the spring of 2010.
Kravish, from Lee’s Summit, Mo., made a recruiting visit to Omaha that fall.
“I had a pretty high interest in Creighton,” Kravish said. “It was close to home but not super close, and I knew it was a good school academically.”
Kravish also knew that one of his AAU teammates, Avery Dingman, had committed to the Bluejays.
“He was on a visit here,” Dingman recalled, “and he was texting me about how he really liked it. But it was also his first visit, and he wasn’t sure. While he was on his visit, Geoff committed. I remember getting a text from David that said, ‘Man, I’m kind of bummed.’ ”
Geoffrey Groselle committed to the Bluejays while Kravish was still in Omaha, taking the last scholarship McDermott had available at the time. Kravish was forced to look elsewhere, and after visiting Iowa and Colorado, he found a home at California.
“He texted me while he was on his visit there and said he loved Cal,” Dingman said. “It was the right spot for him.”
Groselle redshirted his first season at Creighton, played sparingly last season and has battled foot problems this season. Meanwhile, Kravish started 24 of the 34 games he played in 2011-12, earning a spot on the Pac-12 all-freshman team.
He started all 33 games last season, setting a school record for blocked shots (63) and leading the team in rebounding (6.9). This season, Kravish is the second-leading scorer (12.4 points per game) and rebounder (8.7) on a Golden Bears team that’s 8-3 heading into Sunday’s game at the CenturyLink Center.
“Things didn’t pan out with Creighton,” Kravish said, “but I think it’s all worked out for the best.”
Kravish scored seven points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked three shots in last season’s 74-64 loss to the Bluejays in Berkeley. No Creighton opponent last season had more rebounds than Kravish recorded that night.
“He’s one heck of a competitor on the backboards,” McDermott said. “He plays with tremendous energy, and he’s good on defense and he’s good on the backboards.”
Dingman, who was Kravish’s roommate on AAU trips the summer before their senior seasons in high school, said Kravish has always been a high-energy player.
“He has a motor that doesn’t stop, and he’s really long,” Dingman said. “He can get to shots, and he is really good at rebounding the basketball. He’s a guy that is quick off the floor.
“His game hasn’t changed that much, but he has improved. His midrange game is much better, and he’s gained weight.”
Kravish laughed when told that Dingman commented about his weight.
“I was really, really skinny in high school,” said Kravish, whose weight is now listed at 221 pounds. “I’m probably 45 pounds heavier than when I first got here. The extra weight has just made me more confident in myself when I go up for a basket or a rebound.
“And I can hold my position inside better.”
Getting the opportunity to play immediately as a freshman also helped Kravish build the confidence that he said he once lacked on the court.
“I got to play with some experienced players that first year here,” Kravish said. “They helped bring me along and get me to where I needed to be. They showed me how to go about things.
“That has helped make me more confident. The coaches have always told me I had the tools to do things on the court, but I didn’t always have the confidence to do them. I just needed to convince myself that I could be one of the guys that could really contribute.”
He hopes to do enough Sunday to make the trip to Omaha worthwhile for the family and friends who will come from the Kansas City area. Kravish estimates he could have a cheering section of 30 to 40.
“It’s not going to be enough to shout out all 14 or 15 thousand people that are going to be there for Creighton,” he said. “But we should have a nice little Cal cheering section at the game.”