Scratch another accolade off of the list for Creighton senior Doug McDermott. The two-time All-American and Creighton’s all-time leading scorer has made believers out of his Big East opponents. McDermott has unanimously won Big East player of the year honors, and despite March Madness being in full swing this was no Cinderella pick here.
“… It’s something I never would have guessed I could accomplish,” McDermott said. ”Coming from the Valley, I never thought I’d be seeing this day. So it’s really special and something I’ll never forget.”
The senior forward, who was voted the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year in 2013 is the first player ever to receive that award in two different conferences. The Ames, Iowa product led the league in scoring this season and is a three-time All-American, something that only 18 other players in the history of NCAA basketball have been able to do. He led No. 14 Creighton to a 24-6 record and a No. 2 seed in the competitive Big East conference, which the Bluejays just joined this season.
McDermott, aptly nicknamed McBuckets, has surpassed 3,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his college career. He joins Lionel Simmons and Harry Kelly as the only Division I players to accomplish that feat. Currently McDermott is seventh all-time in points scored. With prolonged runs in the Big East tournament and the Big Dance, however, McBuckets can crack the top two before his college career comes to an end. After punishing Providence for 45 points to close out the season, McDermott currently has 3,011 total points. If he and Creighton continue to score at will throughout the postseason, however, it appears that the only legend he will not be able to catch is all-time leading scorer Pete Marovich, who set the record with 3,667 points.
With all of the accolades, McDermott’s unanimous Big East player of the year victory is definitely no Cinderella pick, but perhaps it was a little unexpected at the start of the year. When Creighton moved from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Big East this season skeptics did not believe that the 6’8″ forward would be tough enough to take over the conference the way that he did in the Valley. Some thought that the tougher competition with bigger, stronger athletes would neutralize the two-time All-American. After posting a career best of 26.5 points per game, however, McDermott is beginning to win over even some of his harshest critics.
The bright lights will be shining all over the nation’s all-time leading scorer as McDermott and his senior-laden Creighton team hit Broadway for the Big East tournament. Across the street from Madison Square Garden, the Ames, Iowa product is even featured on a six story video billboard that is highlighting the tourney. It is definitely not the typical North Dakota atmosphere that McDermott and the Blue Jays are accustomed to.
”It’s been a big adjustment, you know? Being a small-town kid…I never would have guessed I’d be on that billboard, so it’s really cool to see and I hope I can enjoy it,” McDermott said. ”I think once the games start, all that other stuff goes away.”
In the Big East awards ceremony Wednesday, McDermott was joined by Jay Wright, who was named coach of the year after leading Villanova to the Big East regular season title, and DePaul’s Billy Garrett Jr., who was voted rookie of the year by the Big East coaches. McDermott unanimously winning the player of the year, while no means a Cinderella pick, was still the highlight of the night’s news conference and an apt kick-off to the Big East tournament.
Commentary by Jeremy Mika