Doug McDermott Faces Big Expectations as Preseason Big East POY

Posted by George Hershey on October 17th, 2013

Wednesday morning at the Big East Media Day in New York City, the league announced that Creighton forward Doug McDermott had been selected as Preseason Player of the Year by the league’s 10 coaches. McDermott decided to return for his senior year with the Bluejays in large part due to Creighton’s arrival in the Big East. He told reporters that “If it was the Missouri Valley, I don’t know if I would’ve come back,” he said. “This is just a new challenge.”

McDermott's Return Makes Creighton a Contender (ALYSSA SCHUKAR/THE WORLD-HERALD)

McDermott’s Return Makes Creighton a Contender (ALYSSA SCHUKAR/THE WORLD-HERALD)

After averaging 23.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last year, it will be interesting to see if McDermott can match or improve his production when facing stiffer competition. McDermott is an extraordinary talent and there is no reason to believe he will not have another special year. Nonetheless, playing in the Big East is going to be a more substantial challenge. The Big East is known for its bruising play, and McDermott will face larger, faster, and stronger defenders than he has in the past. Also, as the presumptive star of the league, teams will be sure to game plan and strategize to neutralize his offensive capabilities. In two NCAA Tournament games last season, for example, McDermott averaged 24 points per game, but he did it going a combined 11-of-31 against Cincinnati and Duke. Those are the types of bruising defenses he will be facing on a consistent basis during conference play this season. McDermott is without a doubt an NBA talent, but his ability to score against improved competition and focus will determine if he is the running for the National Player of the Year award.

The league also announced its all-conference teams:

First Team

  • Semaj Christon, Xavier
  • Markel Starks, Georgetown
  • D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s
  • Bryce Cotton, Providence
  • Davante Gardner, Marquette

Semaj Christon highlights the first team. He is also a newcomer to the league who will have to adjust to the different style of play. Only a sophomore, he averaged 15.2 points and 4.6 assists per game last year on his way to becoming the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year. Christon is a good NBA prospect as some experts believe he could be a lottery pick in next year’s NBA Draft. If Christon can improve his point guard skills and highlight his athleticism, he is sure to earn even more attention this season. He had his worst games last year against the likes of Cincinnati, where he only scored six points. Teams will be sure to key in on him this season as he does not have the benefit of having an experienced wing man like Doug McDermott has in Grant Gibbs.

Last year’s All-Big East Third Team member, Markel Starks, joins Christon on the first team. He averaged 12.8 points per game last season for a very successful Hoyas squad. This year Starks will be tasked with being the team leader and go-to scorer. He is without third overall draft pick Otto Porter alongside him this year, leaving a hefty weight to carry. Next is St. John’s D’Angelo Harrison, a junior guard who is a streaky shooter. The key for Harrison will be to rely on his much improved team for additional scoring this season and putting more effort into finding better shots. Joining them is Providence’s Bryce Cotton. Cotton took over the reins as the Friars’ best player midway through last year and never looked back. He averaged almost 20 points per game and will be the key as to whether Providence is able to make a big jump this season. He’ll have plenty of help with highly touted sophomore Kris Dunn alongside him in the backcourt. Rounding out the first team is Marquette’s Davante Gardner. The big man with smooth post moves and a pretty jumper is the top returning scorer and rebounder for the preseason favorite Golden Eagles. Gardner had an up and down season last year, showcasing his tremendous ability several times, but also disappearing in spurts when extra attention was put on him. This year he will have to become more consistent for Marquette to win the league title and potentially improve upon last year’s Elite Eight appearance.

The second team and honorable mentions follow:

Second Team

Honorable Mention

George Hershey (47 Posts)

Fordham University 2017 Aspiring Accountant

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