Father, son make NCAA hoops family affair
by Erik Brady, USA TODAY Sports
Sons who play basketball for their fathers understand how it works: When Dad tells you to take out the trash, you’re free to roll your eyes, but when Coach tells you to run a lap, you’d best get rolling.
Doug McDermott, at first, had trouble discerning the difference between his father’s voice as his father and his father’s voice as his coach at Creighton University.
“It took him some time to adjust,” Greg McDermott says, “but now he’s incredibly coachable.”
So much so that the junior forward is the nation’s second-leading scorer at 23.4 points per game and one of college basketball’s best to play for his father since Pete Maravich was launching bombs in floppy socks at LSU in the 1960s.
“I don’t even know what to say to that one,” says Greg, whose Creighton team (24-7, 13-5) enters Thursday’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament as the No. 1 seed. “There have been so many great father-son combinations through the years.”
College basketball history is replete with them: Press and Pete Maravich, Al and Allie McGuire, Bob and Pat Knight.
This season, more than a half-dozen fathers are coaching their sons — the NCAA doesn’t keep track — among the nearly 350 schools in Division I. Their stories are different in their particulars but strikingly similar in their broad strokes.
Last summer, at a basketball skills academy, Doug McDermott met Ray McCallum, who plays for his father at Detroit Mercy. They hit it off instantly. “We found out a lot of our stories match up,” Doug says.
“It was really fun to talk to Doug,” says McCallum, who’s team holds the No 2 seed in this week’s Horizon League Tournament. “You can always tell a coach’s son. The way they play the game, the way they talk about the game. They have a high basketball IQ.”
Billy Baron, who plays for his father Jim at Canisius, watched reams of McCallum on tape before Canisius played at Detroit this season (Detroit won 83-78 in late December). “We play a lot alike,” Billy says, “like looking in a mirror.”
Before Ron Hunter brought in son R.J. to play for him at Georgia … [For more on Father and son game: Making college hoops a family affair, click here.]