Stay or go? Tough call for McDermott
MAR 08, 2013 8:29a ET
NBADraft.net projects McDermott as the 20th pick overall, to Brooklyn. DraftExpress.com? No. 47, to Portland.
The HoopsReport.com likes Dougie Fresh off the board at No. 23, to the Pacers. Hoopsworld.com? No. 48, to the Jazz.
One scout sees the next Wally Szczerbiak. Another sees the next Adam Morrison.
In one war room, gold. In the next, kryptonite.
"All it takes is one team to like him," Aran Smith, longtime draftnik with NBADraft.net, said of McDermott, whose Bluejays (24-7) are slated to face Drake in the first Missouri Valley Conference Tournament quarterfinal Friday at Scottrade Center. "It's a weaker draft (this year) than next year as well. I'm sure he'd like to stick around and help his Dad another year. It's a double-edged sword."
And so the underlying question remains, one of several lurking in the Creighton camp during Arch Madness 2013:
To jump, or not to jump? Stay or go?
"If you would've told me this (would happen) three years ago, I would've called you crazy," offered McDermott, the nation's second-leading scorer at 23.4 points per game. "So to even be in this situation is really cool.
"I try not to think too much about the future — just try and take care of business each day at a time, and good things will happen."
At the moment, mum's the word. McDermott and his father/coach, Greg, insist they're no deeper than the fact-gathering stage now, something that'll pick up once tournaments — including the Big Dance — are over and done with.
"I think it's every kid's dream to play in the NBA. But you want to make sure that, if you make the plunge, that you do it at the right time," the elder McDermott said. "And that there's research that's going to need to be done (as to) when it is the right time."
The Jays' coach has been down this road before — most recently with Craig Brackins, a 6-foot-10 forward who was the centerpiece of McDermott's Iowa State squads between 2007-10. The lanky California native elected to turn pro after his junior season, and wound up being taken with the 21st pick overall by Oklahoma City in 2010.
"My responsibility is to the person, just like it was with Craig Brackins when I was coaching him," the elder McDermott said. "No matter what's best for our program, Doug, like Craig, has to make the decision that's best for him at that stage in his life.
"After Craig's sophomore year, the research kind of pointed in the direction to come back a year. And that's what the research pointed at after Doug's sophomore year. And we'll do the research again. But I'm in a little different situation, because I have to advise him as his coach and do the research, and then I have to take that hat off and I have to advise him the best I can as his father, and take everything else out."
And there's that double-edged sword again. The 6-foot-8 forward is Creighton's bell-cow and bulwark, almost impossible for his father to realistically replace in the short-term. According to STATS, Inc., the younger McDermott is one of just three major-college players since 1996-97 to total at least 2,100 points, 800 rebounds and 150 treys in their career — a group that includes ex- Duke standout Kyle Singler, a second-round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons back in 2011; and ex-VMI star Reggie Williams, now with the Charlotte Bobcats.
On the flip side, there's not that much more to prove — not on the collegiate side of the equation, anyway. The preseason All-American's already snatched a regular-season MVC title, the Jays' first since 2001, and is chasing a second straight Valley tourney crown this weekend. Other than greater glory in Bracketville, it's slim pickings on Dougie Fresh's undergraduate bucket list.
Which begs the question: Is there a number? Late first round? Pick No. 25 or higher? What would it take?
"We haven't talked about that yet," the elder McDermott countered. "I think it's just whether he feels the time is right."
Smith thinks that time is right here. Right now.
For one, the projected pool of draftable forwards isn't especially great, at least compared to what may be hitting the market in 2014. For another, Smith came away impressed with what he saw of the younger McDermott in person last summer at the LeBron James Skills Camp, where the Jays star was part of a group that included Michigan's Trey Burke, North Texas' Tony Mitchell and Murray State's Isaiah Canaan.
Instead of a mid-major stuff, Smith saw a dangerous shooter, a smooth passer with good vision, wicked pivot moves and high I.Q., but not super-quick defensively. Think Kyle Korver with a mean streak, or maybe Jason Kapono with a bit more polish in the post. McDermott was a high-school big who's turned himself into a "stretch 4" — a post player who's a career .459 shooter from beyond the arc, including a .481 clip on treys this season.
The Jays forward also spent three weeks last year with a private instructor working on scoring moves off the dribble, another wrinkle that's turned a few heads. At a Pac-12 game earlier this winter, a scout from one of the NBA's Western Conference clubs told Smith that he'd seen McDermott drop 34 points on California earlier in the year and came away convinced that the kid was a sure-fire first-rounder.
"Like with Korver, he's not a great defender, but he kind of holds his own. I think he's got a real chance," Smith said. "He's got to really evolve into a different style at the next level. I think teams like his chances of being a specialty shooter."
How much, though, is the question. Still, like the man said, all it takes is one team. That and a Ouija board.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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