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.”
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: