McDermott makes case as nation’s top player
by Scott M Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
Doug McDermott pumped his fist, clapped his hands and screamed at the top of his lungs.
By his eccentric reaction, you’d think Creighton had just reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament.
“Yes!” he shouted after the final buzzer sounded, solidifying the No. 11 Bluejays’ first Missouri Valley Conference road win of the season.
“Is it bad sportsmanship? No. I love that will to win, a player who treats every game like his last,” Illinois State coach Dan Muller said after his team’s 79-72 loss to the Bluejays. “He fights, he’s tenacious, he’s versatile and can score in different areas on the court. Is he the best player in the country? That’s a question worth asking.”
Creighton coach Greg McDermott shook his head laughing when he was asked another coach’s bold question.
“That’s interesting,” the elder McDermott said in a proud fatherly tone. “No comment.”
As a coach, McDermott wouldn’t label his 6-foot-8 son as anything other than a player on his 15-1 team. As a father, he gushes with pride, recalling pick-up high school games when Doug wasn’t picked by a team for 5-on-5 YMCA-style scrimmages.
“I’ll tell you how he started to get picked up, his main job was to bring Harrison (Barnes) to the gym,” McDermott said. Barnes, a former North Carolina star and rookie for the Golden State Warriors, was McDermott’s high school teammate at Ames High School in Iowa. “Those experiences made him one of the best players in the country. His game is crafted around other players always being better than him. He beats better players because he’s used to working harder than them. You don’t see his work ethic at the college level.”
Now, that same player who didn’t get picked in a scrimmage is in serious consideration as the national player of the year. Duke’s Mason Plumlee and Michigan’s Trey Burke also are favorites.
Is McDermott the best player in the country?
“I think I’m up there, but it’s hard to say I’m the best,” McDermott said. “I know I step on the floor … [For more on Creighton's Doug McDermott makes a case as nation's best player, click here.]