NCAA Tournament Interviews: Creighton's Doug McDermott

    
March 7th, 2012
With the NCAA Tournament right around the corner, CHN writer Jon Teitel is catching up with some of the players and coaches you'll need to know before Selection Sunday (if you don't know them by now). First up is Creighton forward Doug McDermott, who led the Bluejays to the Missouri Valley Conference tournament title last weekend. McDermott, who was a First Team All-MVC selection as a freshman, followed that up with MVC Player of the Year honors this season and is one of the toughest matchups in the country.

Jon Teitel: You won 53 straight games and two Iowa state titles as a high school teammate of Harrison Barnes. What makes him such a great player, and how will your team try to defend him if you play North Carolina in the tournament?

Doug McDermott: He has just worked his tail off ever since I have known him (going back to the 4th grade). He puts a lot of work into it and knows what it takes to be great. He is so explosive and runs the floor really the well.

JT: What is the best part of having your dad as your coach, and what is the...not best part?

DM: It is cool being able to be part of his success. There are times when he probably gets on me more than some of the other guys, but I understand if he has to do that in order to prove a point.

JT: Last year you became the first freshman in over 50 years to be named First Team All-MVC. How were you able to come in and be so successful so quickly?

DM: I was just really comfortable and played well right away starting with our exhibition games, and everyone accepted me as just another dude instead of "the coach's son".

JT: In Game 3 of the 2011 CBI championship series you scored 13 points but EJ Singler banked in a shot with two seconds left in a two-point Oregon win. How devastating was that loss, and how happy is the team that you will not have to play on the Ducks' silhouetted floor this postseason?

DM: We are relieved that we do not have to play there again! The CBI experience did a lot for us going into this season, as we got to play a few extra games. It helped our confidence and showed that we can compete for championships.

JT: Last summer you led Team USA with 13 three pointers made at the U-19 FIBA World Championships. What is your secret for three-point shooting, and which of your teammates impressed you the most?

DM: Jeremy Lamb was really special, and I thought Patric Young and Meyers Leonard were impressive as both players and people. I was just shooting the ball well during practice in Colorado before we left, as I figured that would be my role on the team, and my teammates just found me during the games.

JT: In January you scored a career-high 44 points (18-23 FG) in a nine-point win at Bradley. Was it just one of those scenarios where every shot you put up seemed to go in because you were "in the zone"?

DM: I was definitely in the zone that night. That second half was one of the best I have ever had (32 points), as I got a lot of easy baskets in transition.

JT: You started the season 21-2, lost three straight games in early February, then won seven in a row to make the tournament. How was your team able to bounce back, and do you feel like you are playing your best basketball of the season right now?

DM: I think we are back to where we were during the 1st part of the season. It was a tough stretch to lose those three games, but we did not change anything and knew we would be fine. The leadership we got from Grant Gibbs and Antoine Young has helped us move forward, and our confidence is at an all-time high.

JT: You were recently named Missouri Valley Player of the Year. What does it mean to you to win such an outstanding individual honor?

DM: It means a lot, but I could not have done it without my teammates/coaches pushing me every day in practice.

JT: You were also named conference tournament MVP after scoring 33 points in a four-point overtime win over Illinois State in the MVC tournament title game. How were you able to hang on for the win, and what was the reaction like when you got back to campus?

DM: It was really special. St. Louis was a blast, as we probably had more fans there than any other team. You have to give Illinois State a lot of credit. They gave us a tough matchup, but we were able to stay the course. There were fans waiting for us at the airport when we got back to Omaha, which was great.

JT: What seed do you think you deserve, and what kind of team would you matchup against the best?

DM: I think we deserve a five or six-seed, but we think we can play with anyone if we are shooting the ball well, and are confident that we can string together stops with the game on the line. I think our frontcourt can match up with some of the best, as Gregory Echenique can guard any center in the country.