Creighton forward Doug McDermott has had one of the better careers in college hoops history. Just nine games into his senior season, McDermott has already smashed the Blue Jays’ all-time scoring record as well as put himself in position to crack the top five in rebounds.
As a senior, McDermott is averaging 25.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest on 54.8 percent shooting from the floor, including an impressive 45.3 percent clip from three-point range. Despite his high shooting percentages, his field goal shooting is at an all-time low and his three-point shooting was only lower as a freshman.
Regardless, McDermott has found great success playing under his dad, Greg McDermott, who is the head coach at Creighton. While some chalk it up to weak competition, here are a few reasons why the 6-foot-8 versatile forward has been on the national map since his freshman season.
While McDermott does not possess elite athleticism or a 7-foot-5 wingspan like the majority of today’s glamour players such as Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, he manages to get his points and carry the load offensively for his team nonetheless. Nobody in college basketball has scoring instincts quite like Creighton’s leading scorer. He knows when to get to the basket, when to shoot, and more importantly, he knows how.
In the post, McDermott scores points at a ubsurdly high efficiency rate. Thanks to solid footwork to go along with those intangible scoring instincts, he gets a lot of his shots from around the rim. To top it all off, his touch and feel near the basket is unmatched in the college game.
2. Movement without the ball
When watching McDermott, it is easy to pick up on how well he moves without the ball. First of all, it seems as though he never stops moving, always working to get an opening just big enough to exploit the opponent’s defense. McDermott does a great job of using his versatility to create a mismatch regardless of who is defending him. If an opponent opts to try to slow McDermott down with a smaller, more athletic defender, he is more than willing to go inside to get his looks. In retrospect, he is lethal against bigger, slower defenders due to his ability to move around the perimeter as well as knock down shots.
Clearly, his shooting percentages tell the story in regards to his versatility and ability to stretch the defense. However, numbers do not always tell the entire story. McDermott is an assassin in catch-and-shoot situations, whether it be off screens or spot-ups. From a mechanics standpoint, his jump shot is flawless. He always seems to be balanced, square to the basket, and releases the ball high and effortlessly.
In this season alone, McDermott has knocked down five triples on three separate occasions despite playing just nine games to this point.
4. High Motor/Effort
This is where McDermott makes up for his lack of supreme athleticism and size. The passion in which he plays the game is nothing short of remarkable and refreshing. Despite the nonexistent block and steal numbers over the course of his career, McDermott competes on every possession at both ends, always rotating on defense. In addition, McDermott is always willing to crash both the offensive and defensive glass to create extra possessions and opportunities for his team. In his sophomore season, McDermott managed to haul in over eight rebounds per contest. Despite being a shade under seven this season, it is not due to lack of effort, and that number is bound to increase with time. Another thing that stands out is his exceptional ability to run the floor, always filling the lanes or trailing for an open look.
As you can see, Doug McDermott is a unique player in his own right. His success is not based on his athletic ability like many of today’s superstars, meaning he relies solely on effort, skill, and his incredibly high basketball IQ. Given the importance for stretch big men in the current NBA and the success of players such as Kevin Love and Ryan Anderson, it is easy to see why McDermott is viewed as a potential lottery pick in the loaded 2014 NBA draft.