Minding the McDermotts
March, 13, 2012
By Alex Scarborough | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Charlie NeibergallCreighton coach Greg McDermott, right, and his son, Doug, will pose a challenge to Alabama in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Creighton may not jump off the NCAA tournament bracket, but the last name McDermott should. If not for the Bluejays' coach Greg McDermott, then because of his son, Doug.
The two have been a winning duo in the Missouri Valley Conference and finished 28-5 overall en route to a No. 8 seed in the NCAA tournament. While Greg’s coaching record at Creighton -- 50-22 in two seasons -- speaks volumes, Doug’s game logs could fill a library.
The All-American is one of the best inside-out players in the country and averages 23.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. More than that, he shoots 61 percent and adds a couple of 3-pointers per game.
“He’s a great player,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said of Doug, who has notched 10 double-doubles this season. “Obviously, he’s the player of the year in their conference. He’s had an outstanding year, a combination guy that can shoot the ball. I think at one point I think he was shooting 50 percent from the 3-point line. He’s as good as they come in his ability to score inside or get to the free-throw line.”
Grant said he reminds him of a blend of Florida’s Erik Murphy and the Tide’s own JaMychal Green, in terms of being able to shoot the basketball and score from the interior.
Looking at the 6-foot-7 forward’s style of play, it’s clear he’s a coach’s son -- gifted in every facet of the game and careful with the basketball. Despite touching the ball on nearly every offensive possession, he averages fewer than three turnovers per game. In his father’s offense, the lanky sophomore is a perfect fit. In the MVC championship game against Illinois State, Doug drained 12-of-18 shots for 33 points. Watching father and son work together, it's clear the two form a winning combination.
“I don't know if I've ever seen one quite like this one," Grant said of the dynamic between father and son at Creighton. "You've got a great team whose best player happens to be the coach's son. It's a unique situation."
UA point guard Trevor Releford, who is from nearby Kansas and has faced some of Creighton’s players in high school classics, said he knows Doug is a talented player but cautioned that they will have to watch more film and get to know the entire Bluejays personnel better.
“I’ve watch a couple of games and he’s a good player,” Releford said of Doug. “He can beat you from the outside and the inside. He has a lot of stuff to his game.”
But ask Grant, and Creighton is more than the last name McDermott. Grant pointed out MVC center Geregory Echenique as a matchup concern given his length and shot-blocking ability. He also singled out Creighton point guard Antoine Young, who averages 4.5 assists per game -- nearly two more per game than Releford.
Grant was careful to point out that the Bluejays are a good team top to bottom and shouldn’t be overshadowed by any particular player, no matter the hype they receive.
“It’s always going to be about our team; our team versus their team. It’s not a one-on-one battle,” Grant said. “(Doug) is a great player and he’s got very good pieces around him, a good system. It’s always going to be a team game.”