The Next Jimmer? Creighton’s Doug McDermott Is Well On His Way to National Stardom…Posted by rtmsf on December 21st, 2011
Charlie Parks is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after the Creighton vs. Tulsa game on Monday night.
If you don’t know about Doug McDermott yet, then get ready, because you are about to. I didn’t know much about McDermott myself before the game Monday night. I knew the 6’7″ sophomore from Ames, Iowa, was second in the nation in scoring with 25.2 points per game, and that his play has put Creighton in the Top 25 and positioned him as the early favorite for Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. What I didn’t expect (but quickly found out) was that McDermott just might already be one of the best players in the country. He has a different type of game than last season’s mid-major darling from BYU but he’s equally effective, even more efficient, and still has two-and-a-half more seasons of eligibility in front of him.
McDermott not only dropped a career high 35 points in 34 minutes on the road against Tulsa, but he put together one of the most complete and fundamentally sound basketball games I have ever seen. He finished the night shooting 16-of-23 from the field (.695 FG%) with seven boards (four offensive), and he was automatic within ten feet of the hoop. But what was the most impressive about McDermott’s game was the way in which he put up those numbers.
Tulsa took an early lead 20-19 before McDermott shut the crowd up by scoring Creighton’s final 11 points of the first half to give them a 12-point advantage. Then when Tulsa got the crowd back in the game and put together a run, McDermott broke their will with back-to-back daggers from three — all of this while being guarded by a seven-footer. It doesn’t take him 30 shots to get his 25 points. No, Mcdermott shoots 62.6% from the field —13 percentage points higher than the NCAA’s leading scorer, Weber State’s Damian Lillard. McDermott does it on defense as well. Not once was he beaten in the position battle for a rebound, and his roaming defense disrupted everything Tulsa tried to accomplish in the paint. The three bigs that McDermott guarded — Joe Richard, Kodi Maduka, and D.J. Magley — scored a combined 17 points. It was dominant, in the truest sense of the word.
“Doug McDermott single handedly broke the spirit of my team,” said a dejected Tulsa head coach Doug Wojcik, who watched every big man he threw at McDermott get chewed up and spit out like a bad piece of steak. Wojcik said the plan was to take away the three-point shot. Creighton hits about ten threes a game and they shot 28 in their previous game against Houston Baptist. Tulsa wanted to use its size to its advantage against the smaller McDermott. It was a great game plan, in theory. Wojcik’s squad only allowed Creighton to take six threes in the game and they manned up McDermott all night with the seven-footer Maduka, who had five inches and 20 pounds on him, or with D.J. Magley, at 6’9″ and 55 pounds heavier than McDermott. Tulsa was physical, and they forced McDermott to work hard for every inch on the block. There were stretches in the game where the Creighton star wouldn’t touch the ball for two or three minutes because of the physical defense.
But when he did, he scored. McDermott scored 14 times in the low post, and every time it was off a move that left you thinking you were watching a young Kevin McHale. There were five or six moments in the game when he would score and I turned to the guys next to me and said, “are you serious?! Can he really do that?” “The difference between this year and last year is that Doug has gotten smarter,” said his father and coach Greg McDermott. “Last year he could score in the post, but it was mostly over the top of guys. Now he can go around you and loop it under if you guard him with a taller guy. Obviously Tulsa was wanting to take away the three-pointer and you’ve got to pick your poison. Tonight we were able to get it inside and we executed as well as we have all year.”
McDermott’s elevated play has lifted the Bluejays to top-20 status, and they are looking more like a contender on the national scene instead of just as Missouri Valley hopefuls. He currently has an eight-game streak of scoring 20 points or more; he also leads the team in points, rebounds (8.6 RPG), and three-point percentage (57.5%), and he hits a strong 83.3% of his attempts from the line. But McDermont is a reluctant star. Both he and his father have deflected any praise directed his way — instead they give the credit to his teammates. It is part of what makes Doug an ideal team leader. He is quiet on the court and his production is fundamentally sound and void of any look-at-me flash. His game involves some of the most consistent and efficient basketball you will see this season. He is becoming and will be a big-time college star in the coming seasons.
When asked about his play against Tulsa, McDermott simply said “it was just one of those games.” Sure thing, Doug. They are ALL just one of those games.