Doug McDermott had been able to change his father's mind before. But unlike two years ago, when he persuaded Greg, Creighton's coach, to let him play for the Bluejays as a freshman instead of redshirting as planned, this time his father's decision was final.
The elder McDermott did what few opposing teams have been able to accomplish: He shut Doug down. Greg forced the 6'8" All-America power forward to go on a six-week basketball hiatus from early July to late August. "He desperately needed a break," says Greg. The coach's mandate ended a two-year basketball whirlwind that began when Doug tipped off his freshman season. After being named the Missouri Valley Conference's freshman and newcomer of the year in 2010--11, he traveled to Latvia with the U.S. U-19 team. Doug returned in time for Creighton's preseason trip to the Bahamas, then led the Bluejays into the NCAA tournament's Round of 32. After that he spent nearly a month training with an individual skills specialist in Indianapolis before attending the summer camps of Amar'e Stoudemire and LeBron James.
Doug fought his forced basketball ban at first but eventually conceded that it would help heal his aches and pains, especially the nagging one on the left side of his lower back, which had been diagnosed as a minor stress fracture last spring. He was also mentally fatigued from the media attention he had received. "I needed some rest," McDermott admits.
He attended his team's pickup games, but instead of participating, he worked on his dribbling on the sideline. He rode a stationary bike and lifted weights to stay in shape but says he still sneaked in "a couple of hundred shots" daily.
The sabbatical seems to have paid off. Doug says he feels better than ever both physically and mentally, which Greg believes will keep Doug fresher later in the season.
Sounds like father knew best this time.
ROUND OF 32
ROUND OF 64
Projected Starting Five
COACH Greg McDermott (3rd season)
2011--12 RECORD 29--6
MISSOURI VALLEY 14--4 (2nd)
WHAT'S BACK Minutes: 83.5% Points: 83.7% Rebounds: 92.6%
307 FIELD GOALS for Doug McDermott last season, the most in D-I. Of those, 174 were banked off the backboard and 56 were made with his left (nondominant) hand.
DOUG MCDERMOTT One of the NCAA's most efficient players, the forward is on pace to become Creighton's career scoring leader as a junior.