Doug McDermott's last 2012-13 home game at Creighton was something special. The junior forward poured in 41 points (on just 18 shots from the field) and led his team (via USA Today) to the Missouri Valley Conference title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament with a win over Wichita State.
It should also be McDermott's last-ever home game as a member of the Creighton Bluejays.
The guy is NBA-ready.
It's a new age of college basketball. We are enamored with freshman prospects like Shabazz Muhammad, Nerlens Noel and Anthony Bennett, but it's often the guys who stay an extra year or two that are more ready to compete from Day 1 in the big show.
Such is the case with McDermott.
Over his three-year career with the Jays, McDermott has averaged 19.9 points per game, shot a remarkable 56.1 percent from the field while adding 7.7 rebounds and 45.5 percent shooting from three-point land.
He caught national attention last year after a tournament appearance and a second-round loss to North Carolina, and he has only gotten better after another full year of practice and growth to his game.
ESPN's Chad Ford regards McDermott as one of the most heady players in college basketball, citing his supreme basketball IQ as a reason he's able to get 20 points a night despite being outmatched in the athleticism department. This season, McDermott has scored fewer than 10 points in a game just twice—one of those being a loss to Indiana State.
Others grade him to be similar to former Utah star Keith Van Horn, and his three-point ability has given way to Steve Novak, Matt Harpring, and others of the like. Doug Gottlieb noted as much on Twitter:
Doug Gottlieb @GottliebShow
Doug McDermott is going to be fun to watch in the tourney-complete player on offense--he has some @wallyball & Matt Harpring to him3/2/2013, 9:21:45 PM
One thing is for sure—Wichita State wants him to go pro:
When you look at the 2013 NBA Draft, no one has stood out in the first round as a top pick. When that happens, it leaves plenty of questions for the rest of the board, and one of those questions will be the landing spot of Creighton's star forward.
There are doubters of McDermott's transition to the pros. His size (6'7", 210 pounds) makes him a bit of a tweener and his athleticism makes him a question mark to guard faster small forwards at the next level.
However, those are two aspects of his game (size and athleticism) that aren't going to change with another year in college.
Those measurements have moved McDermott down on draft boards, but there's one thing you can't teach—and it's basketball IQ. It's also hard to teach shooting at the next level, and McDermott has plenty of that, too. Although he's projected to be a second round draft pick in most mocks, there's a good chance a strong tournament showing and game tape from Saturday will change people's minds.
Creighton has been lucky to have a player like McDermott grace its program for the last three years. He's led them to the Round of 32 in the NCAA tournament, and could do even more with another March Madness appearance this year.
No matter what happens in March, this should be McDermott's last season in college. He needs to strike while the iron is hot on his abilities, and this 41-point game will be fresh in the minds of scouts when they breakdown his game tape.
Sorry, Creighton, but this star needs to shine at the next level next season.