March 13, 2014
By Richard Finn
Special to BIGEAST.com
NEW YORK - It was as routine as draining a jumper for Creighton senior Doug McDermott.
McDermott, the BIG EAST and nation’s leading scorer this season and seventh all-time scorer in NCAA history, was a runaway choice for BIG EAST Player of the Year honors announced hours before the tip-off of the BIG EAST tournament presented by NEW YORK LIFE at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
In Creighton’s first season in the BIG EAST, McDermott is averaging 26.5 points a game and is on a streak of 10 consecutive games with 20 points or more coming into the tournament to lead the Bluejays to the No. 2 seed (24-6, 14-4 record) and a bye into the quarterfinals where they will meet DePaul, a 60-56 win over Georgetown in Wednesday's second game.
“Being the BIG EAST Player of the Year, it doesn’t get much better than that. There have been so many great players in this league and to do this in our first year it is pretty cool,” said McDermott, who torched Providence with a career high 45 points on Senior Day last weekend.
There is little that the 6-foot 8-inch McDermott can’t do and plenty that he does well according to BIG EAST Coach of the Year Jay Wright of Villanova.
“He is the most complete basketball player that I’ve coached against,” said Wright, who guided the Wildcats to the tournament’s top seeding (28-3, 16-2) and a No. 3 national ranking this season. “I don’t think there is an aspect of his game that is weak.
“His ability to read screens is better than anybody I have ever seen,” said Wright, who has seen many of the league’s greats during his 13 season on the Main Line. “That is being on top of being a great shooter, great post player, great passer and drives the ball well.”
More honors could be in store for McDermott. He is one of 15 finalists for both the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Trophy and John R. Wooden Award.
McDermott was always good. He was a two-time consensus First Team All-American and was the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year his sophomore and junior year.
A summer practicing with NBA stars on the USA Olympic team and then playing on team USA at the World University Games in Russia got him even better.
“He gained a tremendous amount of confidence from the summer and he just took his game to another level,” said his father and Creighton head coach Greg McDermott. “His ability to attack the basket is better, his immediate game has improved.”
Having watched his son improve from season to season, there is no reason not to expect him to keep raising the level of his game as he steps up to the NBA next season according to his father.
“I certainly would not put it past him to continue on his upward path of improvement,” said Coach McDermott.
But that is next season. There is still basketball to be played this week.
“We want to win this weekend,” said Doug. "We obviously want to win this thing, that is why we came here.”
DePaul freshman guard Billy Garrett, Jr. was selected BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and Butler junior guard Alex Barlow was chosen BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Garrett, Jr., was the top freshman scorer in the league, averaging 12.4 points per game and also lead all BIG EAST freshman with 90 assists.
Barlow has a 3.73 grade point average in business finance and started all 29 games this season.