After taking longer than even he expected to come to a decision, junior Doug McDermott announced that he will return to Creighton for his senior year on Thursday. His decision was announced just four days before the deadline to enter the NBA draft. McDermott said he made his final decision on Wednesday afternoon, just a few days before Sunday’s midnight deadline.
“Yesterday I went to class just like any other normal day, and I just walked to my dad’s office. We were going over some information still, and finally, I just said ‘I’m coming back. I’ve had enough of this,’” the two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year said. “I’m ready to make this decision. This is where my heart is at. The NBA can wait. I feel like I can play there some day, but I feel like this is such a good opportunity to pass up.”
His father, and coach, tells a similar story of how his son came to his decision as they compared the 2013 and 2014 draft classes.
“Doug just looked at me and said ‘You know what, I don’t see a lot of difference. I think I can have an opportunity to be right where I’m at next year as I am today. Through hard work, I can improve some of those things that maybe some NBA teams questioned, my ability to have my game transfer to that level.’ So, he looked at me and said ‘I think I might as well stay,’” said Greg McDermott. “I got him out of there before he changed his mind.”
After he broke the news to his father and was subsequently ushered out of his office, McDermott let Creighton’s athletic director, Bruce Rasmussen in on the secret. When “Ras” heard the good news he let out what the younger McDermott described as “a little yell.”
Another year of being a college kid, playing with some of his best friends, graduating on time, and leading his team through its first season in the Big East was too much for the 6-foot-8 forward to pass up. McDermott said he doesn’t feel completely ready for the NBA, emotionally or physically, although he and his father both mentioned that they were confident he would have been a first-round pick in this year’s draft. High School teammate Harrison Barnes, now a member of the Golden State Warriors, and Creighton alumnus Kyle Korver, of the Atlanta Hawks, offered advice to Creighton’s all-time leading scorer before their respective playoff pushes began.
“Harrison, I talked to him probably a couple weeks ago. He told me ‘Only go if you are 100 percent ready,’ and I thought about that a lot, took that advice” said McDermott. “I’ve also talked to Kyle multiple times and he is saying the same thing, ‘If you’re not ready, it’s not going to go well, so, might as well enjoy your senior year.’”
Although he was visibly pleased that his son returned, Creighton’s coach assumed the unlikely role of devil’s advocate.
“I think Doug would tell you, probably more than anybody, I was an advocate that he should go, because that is what the facts said,” said the fourth-year coach of the Bluejays.
The elder McDermott described an intricate decision-making process where he frequently had to switch his mindset from that of a coach to that of a father in a short period of time. Ultimately, he felt it was his responsibility to be absolutely transparent with his son and star player throughout.
“I just made a vow early and told Doug ‘I’m going to tell you everything. I’m going to take notes. I’m going to tell you anything that someone says that’s positive and I’m going to tell you any questions that people have about your ability to move on to that league and be successful right away. I’m going to share that with you too, so you know exactly what all the information is. I’m going to attempt to keep my emotions out of that, because I owe you that as a coach. If you have other things you want to talk about, about the emotional part of your decision, then I’ll take that hat off and listen to you as a father,’” said McDermott.
“I would say Mom, actually,” said McDermott when asked who was most excited about his decision. “She wanted me around another year, which means she can do my laundry for another year.”
McDermott is putting the NBA, and the responsibility of taking care of his own dirty clothes that comes with it, on hold for another year as he embarks on what he expects to be “the funnest year of my life.”