Picked 7th in the preseason BIG EAST poll.
Lost his starting center and a seasoned guard in Jacob Epperson and Davion Mintz to injury before his squad played their first game.
Yet, in the beautiful twist of fate that makes college basketball the unique beast it is, Greg McDermott managed to cobble together a small, dynamic lineup that bullied opponents into submission.
He coached in blowout losses and followed them up with statement wins. He went 3-1 against Villanova and Seton Hall. He coached up a 6’7 center to play well above his height.
Most importantly, he coached a team that had so much going wrong to a winner, a regular season conference champion, and a number one overall seed in the BIG EAST Tournament.
According to Rob Anderson from Creighton University’s sports information desk, this is a historic achievement in more ways than one:
Greg McDermott (Coach) and Doug McDermott (son) are the first father & son combo in BIG EAST Basketball history to each win a Coach of the Year and Player of the Year award. https://t.co/EAbvZqQwxN— Rob Anderson (@_robanderson) March 11, 2020
This was supposed to be a gap year to the senior season consisting of Mitch Ballock, Ty-Shon Alexander, Denzel Mahoney, and Damien Jefferson, where the ceiling of the team was going to be at an all-time high. The development of Marcus Zegarowski and Christian Bishop fast-tracked the team to a #7 AP ranking and a potential #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
However you look at it, McDermott excelled when he wasn’t expected to. This is a well earned award.