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.
Dime: You brought up Harrison Barnes as a former teammate of yours. Who would you consider to be your favorite teammate of all time?
DM: You know Harrison is definitely up there. But, I think Grant Gibbs who played with me at Creighton. He was a phenomenal teammate. He was a great leader. He came from Gonzaga and transferred in. He’s an Iowa guy like me. So we really hit it off. And he was great for me and I credit a lot to him.
Dime: What would you consider to be your favorite all-time moment at Creighton?
DM: I would probably say Senior Night, to be honest. Just because it was our last game at home and we had a great game. We sold it out. There were 18,000 fans there – all white shirts. We came away with the win. It was kind of an emotional night for all of us. So that was a great, great way to end it at home.
Dime: Now with you going into the league, you’re no longer going to be a fan, but a player. How do you think the NBA Playoffs will compare to your time playing in the NCAA Tournament?
DM: Oh, it’ll be a different level. (Laughs) Obviously, when the NBA Playoffs are on here, it’s so intense. Every game was good this year – in the first round at least. To be a part of that will be cool. I’ve been such a fan. I’m still gonna be a fan. Even if my team’s in, I’ll still watch the games. But, it’s gonna be really cool. I think the Western Conference was really good this year. There’s a lot of talent and the Spurs definitely showed that.
Dime: If you could have an ultimate three point shootout with three other players in the league, who would you choose and why?
DM: I don’t know. [Laughs] I’d probably take Ray Allen. I would probably try to get the best three shooters in the league. It’s kind of hard to point those out. Ray Allen, (Pauses) I’m trying to think who I would put in those next two [slots]. I’d put [Kyle] Korver up there.
Dime: You could add Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
DM: Yeah, Steph and The Splash Brothers. That’s tough. I think maybe The Splash Brothers and [Kyle] Korver. I think that would be a good three.
Dime: Hopefully we get to see you next year in the 3 Point Contest with those guys.
DM: That would be cool. (Laughs)
Dime: Have you sought after anyone for advice pertaining to Draft Night? Because you have to be very mentally prepared for the night where anything could potentially happen.
DM: Yeah. I’m mentally preparing myself as we speak. It’s tough. I don’t know where I’m heading. I’m looking forward to getting home for a couple of days and just try to relax and enjoy it, you know? It’s a good position to be in. So you can’t stress it too much. And you never know what could happen. Usually there are trades that happen. Trades move up and move down. So you never know exactly where you’re gonna go. So, I’m just trying to stay patient and not think about it too much.
Dime: Do you think your leadership skills will be able to translate into an NBA locker room?
DM: I think so. I think early it’s hard. You know, when you’re the rookie, sometimes you gotta take the back seat a little bit. So, I think my leadership qualities definitely will — down the road — be able to help. But, right away, I’m going to be a sponge and just try to soak up as much information as I can from the older guys and try to carry that over throughout the course of my career.
Dime: Before I let you go, I gotta ask this: How many peanut M&M’s can you eat in one sitting?
DM: I don’t know. (Laughs) I’m gonna say 50. But that was a really cool shoot though. We had fun. They brought me in for this video shoot. They take pride in their quality. They had me do a video to express that. I played 99 people in a game of HORSE. The video is actually online on Facebook on M&M’s page.
Dime: Were you surprised by some of the shots that the guys made?
DM: Yeah. Some guy came with a blindfold. It was really cool. He came and threw on the blindfold. He air balled it and then gave it to me. I actually hit the shot somehow. I still don’t know how I made it. It was just one of those deals. They’re some cool shots off balconies and bouncing it in. It was a fun day.
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