The Associated Press, the US Basketball Writers Association, and the National Association of Basketball Coaches all agreed on the five 1st Team All Americans last season: Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, Doug McDermott, Thomas Robinson and Jared Sullinger. Of those five, you’ll note that four are now in the NBA, leaving only Creighton’s Doug McDermott to toil in college gyms.
This is no surprise as McDermott’s game isn’t ideally suited for the NBA. He’s undersized. He needs to add strength. He’s not vertically explosive. It’s not that he doesn’t have a long pro career ahead of him, but he’s certainly not in the Anthony Davis/Thomas Robinson school of top-5 picks.
What McDermott excels at is essentially everything else (aside from creating for his teammates). He’s an inside-out scorer and an elite rebounder. His footwork, his moves and counter-moves, and his quick, high release are all models for young players.
What this all means is that there is a chance that we’ll get to see Doug McDermott play the college game for (gasp!) four years. He could stay at Creighton and spend two years on Olympic style training in order to increase his quickness and explosiveness to better prepare him for the next level. And if that happens – if he really has two more years – then make room for him in the record books.
McDermott scored 581 points as a freshman, and 801 as a sophomore. Replicating last year’s production would put him at 2,183 points through his junior year, and 2,984 through his senior year. Bradley’s Hersey Hawkins is the all time leading scorer in the Missouri Valley Conference at 3,008 points. At McDermott’s current pace he’s only 24 points (or 1 game) behind Hawkins. Hawkins is also one of seven players in history to score 3,000 points at the Division I level.
So if McDermott sticks around, and stays healthy, he has a very good chance at becoming the eighth person on that 3,000 point list.
But what if his numbers improve? He averaged 22.9 points a game this year. If he bumped that up two points a game he’d finish with a career total of 3,124 (assuming more 35-game seasons), which would put him at 5th all-time. A 3-point bump in his average would move him to 4th, and a 4-point increase would move him to 2nd all time. Could he pass Pete Marinovich and end up as the all time leading scorer in the history of the game? To do so he’d have to raise his average nearly 10 points to 32.6 a game. Of course, even if he did, McDermott would accomplish the record in 144 games, whereas Pistol Pete played 83. Still, just being in the conversation shows what a special player McDermott is. And for selfish reasons, I hope I get to watch him for two more years.