Davis’ Deep Dives: South Dakota State transfer Baylor Scheierman heightens Creighton’s ceiling

Baylor Scheierman‘s silky 3-point shot and flashy offensive game raise Creighton’s lofty potential for the ’22-23 season.

On April 25, South Dakota State wing Baylor Scheierman entered the transfer portal and immediately caught the interest of every school in the country. The hype surrounding the 2022 Summit League Player of the Year evoked strong reactions from every media member — even prompting Stadium’s Jeff Goodman to crown him as “the most coveted [player] in transfer portal history.”

A week later, Scheierman committed to Creighton, giving Greg McDermott’s squad an argument as a top-5 team nationally. He is currently going through the NBA Draft process, but should he withdraw, he figures to keep the Blue Jays atop the Big East standings all season long.

The 6-6 guard displays an offensive skill set that is as refined as it is flashy. The following is a breakdown of what makes him so enthralling.

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Shooting range

Scheierman’s accuracy from distance most distinguishes him from other portal prospects. For instance, he has connected on 41.2 percent of his 369 attempts over his career. But it’s not just his ability to make 3-pointers. It’s how he makes them.

Throughout last season, Scheierman regaled Jackrabbit fans with his proclivity for pulling up from well beyond the arc. Whether in transition, off the catch, or off the bounce, he showed no hesitation in shooting near-30-footers.

This unsheathed confidence netted positive results in clutch moments this past year. Note the clip below from the Summit League Championship:

With South Dakota State’s season on the line, Scheierman attempts — and swishes — a stepback 3 over North Dakota State’s Rocky Kreuser. Sure, he might have gotten away with a push-off on the Bison’s big man. But the degree of difficulty of the shot, plus the pressure of the late-game situation, cannot be overlooked. (Scheierman also cashed a similar shot to beat Washington State at the buzzer in December).

Shot creation

The lefty’s scoring profile extends well beyond his 3-point shooting. Far from a one-dimensional specialist, Scheierman gets to any spot he wants to on the court. A closer look at his absurd Synergy percentiles provides the evidence.

In particular, Scheierman uses an extensive dribble package to slice and dice defenses as he rumbles to the cup. Per Hoop-Math, he converted 73-percent of his shots at the rim last season, including three of his four attempts against Providence in the Round of 64 (an encouraging stat, as this was his only game against Big East competition).

The following clip highlights one of his most impressive finishes from that contest. Scheierman grabs the board and takes off, but Providence’s top defender Justin Minaya sprints back to stop the ball. Deploying a counter move, the former Jackrabbit gets him on his hip with a slick hesitation. Noah Horchler rotates over to cut off the lane to the basket, but it doesn’t matter. Scheierman flashes his elite touch with a teardrop off of his right hand.

The attributes displayed here — the handle, the footwork, the ambidexterity — should seamlessly translate to his new conference.

Passing and vision

Despite his shot-making flair, Scheierman also shined as a facilitator during his time in Brookings. He ranked top 10 in the Summit League in assist rate the past three seasons — including a first-place finish last year, per KenPom.

Notably, his proficiency as a pick-and-roll ballhandler elevates him above the average wing. His gravity creates openings for his teammates, and he zips live dribble passes to them in a split second.

Seriously, how many secondary playmakers can do this?

One area for concern

Scheierman, like the rest of South Dakota State (and frankly, the Summit League as a whole), struggles defensively.

However, from the three games I evaluated, his issues don’t stem from a lack of want-to or effort. Conversely, Scheierman battles and puts himself in good position, particularly in iso defense. But a lack of hip mobility hinders the wing, as opponents frequently beat him at the basket. Consider the following clip:

Although Scheierman initially mirrors the movements of St. Thomas’ Parker Bjorklund, he doesn’t quite have the shiftiness to stick with him all the way to the hoop. Plays like this repeatedly show up in his film.

The fit

Nonetheless, the South Dakota State standout found an ideal landing spot in Creighton. In Greg McDermott’s scheme, Scheierman will start alongside two dynamic sophomore guards in Ryan Nembhard and Trey Alexander.

Nembhard, an archetypal modern lead guard, will locate his new teammate when he spots up or will work in tandem with him on dribble-handoffs. Additionally, he moves exceptionally well off-ball, so the offense shouldn’t stagnate when Scheierman has the rock in his hands.

Alexander, on the other hand, blossomed this postseason, showing off enticing shot creation. Like a clownfish and an anemone, he and Scheierman will form a symbiotic relationship, as neither will have to shoulder the burden of offensive initiation alone.

Within the next few weeks, Scheierman has some major decisions to make regarding his basketball future. Does he get started on his pro career or make one last shot at a March Madness run? If he does make it to the campus of that small, Jesuit school in Omaha, something tells me many fans will start rocking headbands.