Birds of a Feather
Doug McDermott has used a wet jumper and the help of his head-coach father, Greg, to make Creighton a team to watch this March.
by Scott Gleeson
Doug McDermott says playing for his father at Creighton has definitely changed the family dynamic.
He’s just not sure how much he likes it.
“Growing up, he’s always been a coach so it seemed like he was always gone. Now, it’s like he’s always around. I can’t get rid of him,” McDermott says. “We had an agreement that he treats me like one of the guys. Our relationship is great on and off the court, except when he’s yelling at me.”
When Greg McDermott left Iowa State to take the head coaching job at Creighton in 2010, his first move seemed fairly easy: He’d sign his 6-7 basketball junkie son to play in Omaha, NE.
The only problem was that Doug already signed a letter of intent with fellow Missouri Valley heavyweight Northern Iowa, where the elder McDermott coached from 2001-’06 with three NCAA Tournament appearances. A quick phone call to current UNI coach Ben Jacobson, a family friend and the godfather to Greg’s daughter Sydney, allowed Doug to play with his pops.
“It all happened so fast,” says Doug, who won back-to-back Iowa state titles playing alongside North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes at Ames High School. “I knew right away that I didn’t want to be playing against him. I wanted to be on his side.”
In his freshman campaign playing under his dad, McDermott helped guide a young Creighton squad to a 23-16 season, leading the team in points (14.9 ppg) and rebounds (7.2 rpg) while shooting 40 percent from behind the arc. He was named the Missouri Valley Conference’s Freshman of the Year and was the first freshman to be named All-MVC First Team since 1952.
“The scary thing is I almost redshirted him,” Greg McDermott says of his pre-season All-American hyped son, who played for the US in the FIBA U19 World Championships last summer. “He’s a very versatile player. He can score on the block and step out to hit threes. He’s always in the right place at the right time, does the little things.”
Doug and the Bluejays are doing pretty much everything right this season, regardless of the size of the task. When we went to press, Doug was third in the country at 23.5 ppg and the team was 20-2 and girding for a legit run in the Tournament.
If that happens, this father-son combo should be plenty happy.
photo courtey of Brandon McKenna