Greg McDermott wasnât certain that his son, Doug, could handle it in the Big 12 back when he was handing out scholarships as the head coach at Iowa State. However, after jumping to Creighton and the Missouri Valley, the elder McDermott decided to take his kid â and itâs paid off. Doug McDermott quickly turned into a star, a 6-8 skilled forward who can score from just about everywhere on the court and is a legitimate candidate for National Player of the Year honors this season.
McDermott averaged 22.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and shot nearly 50 percent from beyond the arc last season. Here, he talks about a range of subjects, including his quick rise, whether he thought about leaving early and about playing for his dad.
McDermott's Creighton team is the preseason favorite in our MVC preview.
What is the toughest place you have played in your career?
Wichita State. Itâs crazy. Everyone is on top of you. I was talking to UNLVâs Mike Moser about it, and he agreed. It gets so loud and itâs always sold out and the student section is on top of you. I love it, but itâs nuts.
Who is the guy you have had the most trouble scoring on?
John Henson and James Michael McAdoo. We played North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, and Henson is just so long and athletic. McAdoo is real strong and also athletic, but Hensonâs length just makes it so difficult to score.
Which coach, other than your dad of course, would you want to play for?
Bill Self. Iâve always respected what heâs done at Kansas. His teams always play well, no matter who they have. I watched him closely when my dad was coaching in the league at Iowa State, and he seems like a pretty good guy, also.
Your dad didnât offer you a scholarship when he was coaching in the Big 12 at Iowa State and you were in high school. How often do you remind him of that?
I donât really think about it anymore, and we really donât talk about it much. A lot of old boosters joke with him about it, though. He always says that he thought I was good enough, but that he just didnât want to waste a scholarship on me. We are where we are now, though, so why go back about it? Iâll probably have more fun with him about it after Iâm done playing for him.
Is it crazy to think you may start this season as a first-team preseason All-American?
Crazy. I didnât even start on my high school team in Iowa as a junior. My confidence was a little shaky, then all of the sudden I got a chance to play with Harrison (Barnes), I got to watch how hard he worked and it inspired me to where I am now. Itâs nuts, though. I still canât believe it.
When did the light really go on for you?
Probably my freshman year at Creighton. There were a couple injuries that happened on the team that put me in the mix, but the plan was for me to redshirt. I played fairly well and then my confidence really skyrocketed. Then after the season, I was on the U.S. team, and that helped me out as well. It showed me that I could play with just about anyone in the country.
You had a terrific freshman season at Creighton, but you didnât always see eye-to-eye with your coach/dad. What was the deal?
We argued a lot that year. When I came in, I felt like I knew everything. Weâd argue about what type of defense we were running. Heâd say that I knew nothing about defense and that I was always guarding the other teamâs worst offensive player. It was tough at times, but weâve come a long way and we rarely argue now.
Were you surprised that Harrison Barnes fell all the way to Golden State at No. 7 in the NBA Draft?
Actually, I really wasnât. I thought there was a chance he would go to Cleveland, but I thought Golden State was a great fit for him. I think heâll be a better pro than a college player. Heâs long, has range and will have more space to work with in the pros.
Admittedly, you deferred at times early last season. Leadership has been a difficult area for you, somewhat due to the fact that you were an underclassman and also because you play for your father. Where do you feel you are in the leadership department entering this season?
I think I came a long way from my freshman season to my sophomore season. Itâs hard to be vocal sometimes, especially when your dad is the coach. Last season I became more comfortable. Sometimes itâs hard when heâs yelling at the team because heâs my dad and they are my teammates. Watching Grant Gibbs has been great for me. Heâs a great leader and isnât afraid to yell at guys. I know I have to continue to improve in this area next year.
|More previews for the 2012-13 season can be found in the Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store|
A summer ago, you never stopped. You played for the U.S. team in Lithuania, then came back and went with the team to the Bahamas. Did your body wear down towards the end of the season because you never really had a rest in the offseason?
I felt a little tired but tried not to let it get to me mentally. Iâm only 20 years old, so itâs not all that bad. But I felt a lot better this summer and was able to work on my game more. Last year I didnât get a chance to do as much skill development because I was playing so much. This summerâs been more low-key. I went to Indianapolis and worked out with Ed Schilling and some pros â guys like Robbie Hummel and Marquis Teague â and also played with the Butler team.
What happened last year when you guys went through that rough stretch? Creighton was clicking on all cylinders and then the wheels appeared to fall off for a while.
We just got too comfortable. We werenât doing the same things we were doing earlier in the year. We lost three or four straight, and I honestly believe it was good for us. It humbled us. We hadnât really hit any adversity before that, and I think our entire team was tested. I know I was. I think thatâs where I grew as a leader â with the help of Grant. We finished strong, winning the Missouri Valley Tournament.
You had such a strong season. Was there any thought of trying to leave early for the NBA?
Not really. There were no conversations between me and my family. I felt as though I wasnât ready. I know Iâve still got a lot of work to do to get there. We have a really good team this season, and for me, itâs so much fun to be in college. Iâm playing for my dad and having the best time of my life, so thereâs no rush for me to try and leave.
What do you like to do when you arenât in the gym?
Hang out with friends. I donât love the class part of things too much, but I just hang out with my friends and do normal college kids stuff. Weâve got a small campus, and the city of Omaha really embraces us. Itâs kind of being a pro team in town. We play ping-pong. We play a lot of NBA 2K. I golf. I feel like Iâm pretty good at golf. I shoot in the mid or low 80s.
Your dad was a pretty good player back in the day at Northern Iowa and played overseas for a year. Whenâs the last time you played him one-on-one?
I think it was way back as a freshman or sophomore in high school. I think heâs too scared. I think he got me back then â in the driveway â but I was probably 6-5. He backed me down and I had no answer. But now? I think I could get him on the wrong. We never talk about it, but our team jokes around whether he can still dunk. He does it once a year and last year he barely got it. Heâs definitely getting older.
Your game doesnât compare to guys that preceded you, because letâs face it, itâs unorthodox. Whatâs your reaction to that?
I hear it all the time and I take pride in having a different game than anyone else. Some people compare my game to Wally Szczerbiak, but I donât really remember him and heâs more of a 2-guard and small forward. I canât really think of anyone else Iâve heard. I canât come up with anyone, either.
Who do you get excited to watch?
I love watching Dirk (Nowitzki). Heâs a 7-footer, but I still try and take some things from his game â leaners and floaters off one foot. I love watching Paul Pierce. Heâs not the most athletic guy, but heâs so effective.
What are your goals for this upcoming season?
To get further than we did and to advance further than any Creighton team has in its history. Last year we got to the second round and thatâs how far they got in Kyle Korverâs last year. We want to get to the Sweet 16 â at least â and also win the Missouri Valley regular-season title. Wichita State got us last year. We had a good chance, but then we went on that three-game skid and it ruined our chances. We feel like we have the pieces to do it this year.
What area(s) of your game did you concentrate on this summer?
Iâm definitely working on moving my feet better and also offensively on my face-up game.
You and your dad like to eat. Thatâs no secret. Whatâs your ideal meal?
Iâm a huge meatloaf guy. I get it all the time. Iâm not afraid to order it for lunch. My mom makes the best meatloaf hands-down.
OK, we need to talk about your vertical. You arenât exactly a high-flyer, but have you ever had your vertical tested?
We did it right after the season and it wasnât too good. Off two feet, I think it was a 31. Not horrible.
You changed your Twitter handle a few months back. Any particular reason?
My old handle was @DFresh03 and I just felt like I needed to mature a little so I changed it to @dougmcd3. All my teammates now give me crap and try and act like Iâve changed. Theyâre all saying that we miss the old "DFresh", but I just felt like it was a little immature sounding so I changed it.
Youâve had your moments with your dad, but overall whatâs the experience been playing for him?
Itâs as good as it gets. Sure, there are times when we donât always see eye-to-eye, but itâs been so much fun, especially since weâve had so much success in the two seasons Iâve played for him. Itâs been great to do well, but itâs been even better to watch him and see how happy he is now after struggling at Iowa State.
Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
8. Ohio State
10. Michigan State
11. NC State
14. North Carolina
15. San Diego State
19. Notre Dame