The 2014 NBA Draft is a week away, and one of the more intriguing choices surrounds 2014 Naismith College Player of the Year, Doug McDermott. The high-scoring four-year senior is expected to go in the first half of the first round, and we picked his brain about the transition and a whole lot more.
Around this time, you’re wondering which NBA prospects will play superhero and revitalize your team’s chances of ousting the San Antonio Spurs out of their newly installed throne, and which ones will be a bust.
Doug McDermott had NBA scouts blushing over his performance this season. Fans gushed over his shooting prowess and takeover mentality. His unwavering confidence and knack for scorching the opposition at over 26.7 PPG his senior season has some lottery teams drooling. His father and coach at Creighton, Greg McDermott, gave him the proper tutelage needed to succeed in the Association. With a resounding ability to create for himself and shoot off the dribble, Mark Jackson’s cogent “Hand down, Man down” phrase applies to McDermott’s trigger-happy efficiency.
The Naismith National Player of the Year and All-American ranks fifth all time in Division I scoring, with career 3,150 points. Now, he’ll have the opportunity to potentially score at will for your favorite team.
Dime was able to sit down with the former Creighton and three time All-American stud to discuss some of the things he learned during the draft process, his NBA comparison, favorite teammate of all-time, who he would love to compete with in a three-point contest, and more.
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Dime: For the past couple of weeks you’ve been going through the draft process and the combine. What are some of the biggest things you’ve learned about yourself during that time?
Doug McDermott: Yeah, it’s been a pretty unreal process. Just going through all these interviews and all these meetings with teams, and workouts. You know, I’ve learned that I could officially travel like an NBA player. These guys travel a lot. I’ve been doing a lot of that. I’ve had some pretty good workouts too. I shot the ball really well. That’s something I’ve always held my head on. I think I’ve shown that everywhere I’ve gone and I think they’ve seen a lot more than just a shooter. I think I’m moving well and I feel great about this process.
Dime: You’ve touched on your sharpshooting abilities. Now, I’m curious, what do you feel is the most underrated part of your game?
DM: I think a lot of people look at me as a spot-up shooter. But, I really feel like the way I’ve moved without the ball and really read screens and make quick decisions is kind of the underrated part of my game. I think that’s something I’ve worked on a lot and it has allowed me to get to those open spots where I can knock down the shots. So I like to do my work before I even touch the ball. And that usually works out. You see guys in the NBA like Ray Allen and how good he is at using the screen. I’ve always tried to watch him and his moves.
Dime: Ray Allen is a solid 6-5 and you’re 6-8. With that being said, who would you compare yourself to in the league today, and why?
DM: I think Wally Szczerbiak is a good one. When I was younger, I watched him growing up. I think some of the ones they compare me to now are sort of unfair because there’s never going to be another Larry Bird. (Laughs) It’s tough to compare anyone to him. But, you know, I think a lot of people say [Kyle] Korver just because we went to Creighton. But, you know, there’s not a whole lot of similarities there. I think just because we went to the same school and could shoot it a little. I think those are some good ones. But, I think I’m my own player. I don’t really like to get caught up in that to be honest.
Dime: How do you feel the transition will be for you from a coaching standpoint, knowing that your dad will longer be there guiding you from the sidelines?
DM: It’ll be different. But, you know, I’ve played Team USA for two summers and those were with different coaches being Coach Mckillop from Davidson and Coach Hewitt, who’s at George Mason. So you know that was easy being able transition. I feel like I’m coachable and I’m not a guy who demands a lot. I’m a guy that’ll listen and not complain. I’ll do whatever the coach says.
Dime: With that being said, do you feel you’ll able to adjust from being the star player who dominated the ball in college into perhaps a role player the first few years in the league?
DM: Yeah, yeah, I really do. I’ve mentally prepared myself for that. That’s part of the reason I came back for my senior year. You know, just enjoy that for one last time because it’s not always going to be like that. In high school, I played with Harrison Barnes – who’s in the league now. He was our go-to guy. So I had to learn how to play off him. That’s part of the reason why I became a good player. It was because I was able to shoot such a higher percentage. Harrison probably got the most shots and all the others had to be efficient when we had our opportunities.