McDermott makes name for self at No. 19 Creighton

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OMAHA, NEB. (AP) - At Creighton, Doug McDermott is no longer overshadowed by another star.

Before he showed up in Omaha last year, McDermott was the wingman for superstar Harrison Barnes at Ames High School in Iowa.

McDermott is his own man nowadays _ and the man to fans of 19th-ranked Creighton.

Other than the Chicago Bulls’ Kyle Korver, the Bluejays’ sharpshooter from 1999-2003, McDermott is the most celebrated Creighton player athletic director Bruce Rasmussen can remember in his 32 years at the 6,000-student Jesuit school.

After the sophomore forward scored 25 points and went over 1,000 for his career in Sunday night’s 90-71 win over Southern Illinois, McDermott and some teammates walked into a sports bar for dinner.

A smattering of claps grew into a standing ovation.

McDermott’s 24.3-point average is second nationally to Damian Lillard’s 25.5 for Weber State, and no sophomore in the nation has scored more points so early in his career.

“It’s crazy how everything has worked out,” McDermott said Monday. “If you told me I would be in this situation two years ago, I probably would have called you crazy.”

A crazy turn of events led McDermott to Creighton.

He had signed a letter of intent with Missouri Valley Conference rival Northern Iowa before he graduated from Ames High, where he and Barnes helped lead the nationally ranked basketball powerhouse to back-to-back unbeaten seasons.

McDermott’s father, Greg McDermott, was coaching at the Big 12’s Iowa State at the time but didn’t recruit his son because both of them thought Doug, at 6-foot-7 and 185 pounds, was better suited for the mid-major level.

When Greg McDermott resigned on April 26, 2010, to take the Creighton job, UNI coach Ben Jacobson released Doug from his letter of intent so he could play for his dad.

Northern Iowa is where my dad played, where I grew up always hating Creighton,” Doug said. “Now I’m here playing basketball for him. It’s a lot of fun, and I think we’ve enjoyed it all the way.”

Doug last year became the first freshman to make the All-Missouri Valley Conference first team since 1952. This season he’s getting mentioned as a candidate for national player of the year.

He ranks in the top 10 of the Valley in nine of 13 categories. He’s shooting 62 percent from the field, 53 percent on 3-pointers and averages 8.5 rebounds. He’s on pace to be the first player in 20 years to lead the league in scoring and rebounding.

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