From the first moment that he stepped onto the floor of CenturyLink Center Omaha, you could tell that something special was brewing. On November 12, 2010, the inauguration of one of Creighton University's best basketball players in its history commenced. 16 points were dropped with supreme efficiency; 53.8 percent of those opportunities converted. And perhaps when it is all done and dusted, he might become the Bret Hart of Bluejays - "the best there is, the best there was, and the best that there ever will be."
Four years later, Creighton forward Doug McDermott's collegiate career could culminate with a crowning achievement.
There are several prime contenders for the National Player of the Year Award in the battle royale of college basketball. Marcus Smart, Jabari Parker, and Julius Randle are amongst the elite. Aaron Gordon, Aaron Craft, DeAndre Kane and perhaps Shabazz Napier represent the players who could make it interesting in the second half of the season. But, does Doug McDermott stand out as the brightest of stars?
Statistically, it could be hard to argue against it.
McDermott's level of play has steadily increased in most areas throughout his career. His points per game averaged as shot up from 14.9 in his freshman season to 24.3 this season. The latter tally has him second amongst all of his peers in that category. Doug has also seen his FT% soar from 74.6 percent in the first season he played as a Bluejay to a near-pristine 90.6 percent in the 2013-14 campaign.
Doug's scoring ability does not just stand out in his averages and his free-throw shooting abilities. It dives much deeper than that. His scoring abilities extend from right at the cup to the perimeter. McDermott's TS% is at 61.7 percent, and his eFG% is 55.6 percent. He is shooting 42.9 percent from the 3-point line. And, at the rim, McDermott is converting 64.0 percent of his attempts.
How does that stack up with the rest of his prime competition?
|Player||PPG||FT%||FG%||TS%||eFG%||3PT%||At The Rim%|
Now, it goes without saying that some of these statistics do not favor some of these players. Julius Randle does not take many 3-point attempts. In fact, just 4.5 percent of his field goal attempts this season have been 3-point attempts. Where Randle dominates is down low, as seen by his superb percentage at the rim, converting on 76.8 percent of his attempts.
Do McDermott's numbers stand out? Certainly most of them do. His FT% is vastly superior, he scores more points on average than each of his peers. And given the proof of some of the advanced metrics, his TS% is only bested by Randle's by a hairline, as well as his eFG%, which is also clipped by just under one percent by Randle's.
With one half of the season come and gone, there is a lot of discussion as to who is the National Player of the Year. Each of these four young men have the case, and there has yet to be someone to completely stand out.
The fact that remains is that everything will sort itself out. With each passing day, each will make their own case and lead their own case for National Player of the Year. What is clear though is that Doug McDermott's story is nearing its end. Whether or not it ends with this crowning achievement is to be decided.
But, with McDermott's presence on the floor and his elite scoring abilities, his case can only grow stronger for what would be a storybook ending to a marvelous career.