More and more, the college basketball regular season fades into the background for the general sports public.
Early entries to the NBA Draft have left the sport with few players who become household names by the time they are upperclassmen.
Creighton’s Doug McDermott should be in that rare class of college basketball superstar, but his career began in the Missouri Valley Conference, giving him a barrier to notoriety other productive seniors — Tyler Hansbrough, for example — never had to battle.
McDermott is wrapping up one of the best careers in college basketball along multiple fronts. He’ll finish among the top career scorers in college basketball history, but he’ll join even more elite company than just the 3,000-point club.
Here's why McDermott's four seasons shouldn't be overlooked.
Updated March 8.
11 Need-to-Know Facts about Doug McDermott
He in the rare 3,000- points club.
McDermott became the eighth 3,000-point scorer in Division I history thanks to a career night March 8 with 45 points against Providence. McDermott became the first player to hit the 3,000-point milestone since 2006 and one of the few in recent decades to do it while playing for a nationally prominent program.
This season alone, he overtook some big names.
McDermott is going to pass some college basketball giants as he climbs the list above, but he’s passed some giants just in the last two months. Among the names on the all-time scoring list McDermott has overtaken since he joined the 2,500-point club on Dec. 29: Kansas' Danny Manning, Cincinnati's Oscar Robertson, Indiana State's Larry Bird, Princeton’s Bill Bradley, BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, Davidson’s Stephen Curry, Oklahoma’s Wayman Tisdale and Navy’s David Robinson.
He’ll join elite company as a scorer and rebounder.
McDermott isn’t just an elite scorer. The 6-8 forward is also a standout rebounder who has averaged 7.6 boards per game in his career. His scoring totals combined with his rebounding totals puts him into more exclusive company. McDermott is one of eight players with 2,750 career points and 1,000 rebounds, joining, among others, Cincinnati’s Oscar Robertson, Kansas’ Danny Manning, Indiana State’s Larry Bird, North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough and Loyola Marymount’s Hank Gathers
He’ll join even more elite company as a three-time All-American.
McDermott’s most recent comparison in terms of four-year players collecting numbers and winning awards is probably the Tar Heels' Hansbrough, but the Creighton forward can do something even Psycho T couldn't. McDermott already has been a first-team All-American selection twice, and he’s a virtual lock to do so a third time. If that’s the case, he’ll join Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing and OU’s Wayman Tisdale as the only three players to be named first-team consensus All-Americans three times.
Dougie McBuckets isn’t a bad nickname.
McDermott couldn’t be this productive for this long without a nickname, so Dougie McBuckets it is. McBuckets — err, McDermott — has led the nation in field goals two seasons in a row with 307 in 2011-12 and 284 in 2012-13. No player had done it in back-to-back years since 1995-96. McDermott is running neck and neck with NC State's T.J. Warren for the national lead in field goals.
He’s half of one of the best father/son tandems in college basketball.
We’ve seen productive father and son scoring duos on the college level, including one of the most prolific this season. McDermott and his father, Greg McDermott, are having one of the most productive careers for a son playing for his father the coach. When McDermott passed Tennessee’s Allan Houston (2,801 points playing for his father Wade) on the scoring list, Doug and Greg became the second-leading scoring tandem of a son playing for his father. The leaders won’t be caught — LSU’s Press and Pete Maravich. McDermott likely will join Pistol Pete as the second player to win national player of the year honors while playing for his dad.
He's a walk on
When Creighton starting guard Grant Gibbs was granted a sixth year of eligibility during the summer, McDermott gave up his scholarship to make room for his teammate. McDermott, or more accurately his father, is paying Doug's full tuition at Creighton this season. Not a bad investment.
He’s efficient, and he's clutch
McDermott wouldn’t put up these kinds of numbers if he didn’t take a ton of shots from the floor. Indeed, he’s averaged 13.9 shots from the field per game in his career. But he’s also never shot less than 50 percent from the field in a season and has a career average of 45.6 percent shooting on 3-pointers.With a game-winning 3-pointer in the final minute against Butler on Thursday, McDermott has three game-winning baskets late in games this season, including this last-second trey against St. John’s.
He’s not a Missouri Valley creation.
Many of the top scorers of all time have been the product of a player facing overmatched competition in a lower-level league. First, the Missouri Valley was one of the best mid-majors, a league that produced a Final Four team in 2013, while McDermott was in the conference. Before Creighton began Big East play, McDermott averaged 22 points in 23 games against major conference competition (we’re including the Mountain West since McDermott faced San Diego State twice in his career). McDermott is averaging 29.1 points per game against Big East competition this season.
No one saw this coming, not even his dad.
Creighton lucked out by getting McDermott to play in Omaha but not because his father as the coach allowed the Bluejays to sign a player they otherwise wouldn’t have landed. McDermott was originally committed to go to Northern Iowa, where his Greg was the coach before he took the Iowa State job. So why didn’t Greg recruit Doug to play at Iowa State? Dad didn’t think his son could thrive at the Big 12 level. And it’s not just Greg McDermott who was caught unawares. McDermott was high school and AAU teammates at Ames (Iowa) with Harrison Barnes, the No. 2 prospect in the class. Barnes was recruited by plenty of high-major programs before landing at North Carolina. Moreover, another of McDermott’s AAU teammates, Zach McCabe, landed a Big Ten scholarship to Iowa. McDermott didn’t land at Creighton until he was released from his scholarship at Northern Iowa after his father took the job in Omaha.
He hasn’t won in the postseason.
The last box for McDermott to check in his career is NCAA Tournament success. Creighton has twice lost in the NCAA round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament, losing to No. 2 seed Duke in 2013 and No. 1 seed North Carolina in 2012. Creighton reached the championship game of the CBI when McDermott was a freshman before losing two out of three in the final series to Oregon.