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Creighton finds Nembhard’s replacement in Aggies’ Ashford

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Utah State vs Missouri

Mar 16, 2023; Sacramento, CA, USA; Utah State Aggies guard Steven Ashworth (3) moves the ball against Missouri Tigers forward Aidan Shaw (23) during the second half at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

OMAHA, Neb. - Utah State’s Steven Ashworth has decided to transfer to Creighton less than two weeks after point guard Ryan Nembhard’s surprising decision to leave the Bluejays.

Ashworth, an All-Mountain West Conference first-team pick after averaging 16.3 points per game for the Aggies, fills a critical need for a team that reached the NCAA Elite Eight and could bring back as many as four starters.

Nembhard started all 64 of his games in two years at Creighton and caught coach Greg McDermott off guard when he announced he would enter the transfer portal 10 days after the Bluejays’ season ended.

Ashworth, who made his announcement on the Field of 68 Media Network, visited Creighton last week. He also considered BYU, Washington, VCU and Oklahoma State.

“There are players on that team that are going to be able to help me perform at my highest level,” Ashworth said Monday. “There are pieces in that program that are NBA-caliber guys. I’m a firm believer that whoever you surround yourself with is potentially who you’re going to become. I want to be an NBA guy. To have the opportunity to join them and be part of what they’ve already built is a huge honor for me.”

Ashworth averaged 4.5 assists and shot 43.4% on 3-pointers to rank sixth nationally.

“His ability to stretch the floor with the 3-point shot and make great decisions with the pass is exactly what we were looking in the point guard position,” McDermott said. “In addition, he possesses the necessary leadership skills that fit perfectly with our returning players.”