McDermott unanimous Big East player of the year

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NEW YORK (AP) - Doug McDermott has 3,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and one catchy nickname. He’s on the cover of Sports Illustrated and he just won the first of what is expected to be several prestigious individual awards for all his accomplishments this season.

“McBuckets” is becoming McFamous.

The nation’s leading scorer, McDermott was a unanimous choice Wednesday as the Big East player of the year after leading No. 14 Creighton to a second-place finish in its first year in the conference. Selected the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year the previous two seasons, McDermott is believed to be the first player to win that honor in two conferences.

“It’s really cool. It’s something I never would have guessed I could accomplish,” he said. “Coming from the Valley, I never thought I’d be seeing this day. So it’s really special and something I’ll never forget.”

Jay Wright, who led Villanova to its first outright Big East title since 1982, was chosen the league’s coach of the year, and DePaul freshman guard Billy Garrett Jr. was the rookie of the year in a vote by conference coaches.

All three accepted their weighty trophies during a news conference at Madison Square Garden before the start of the conference tournament. Across the street, only blocks from Broadway, McDermott was one of several Big East stars featured on a 6-story-high video billboard promoting the event.

He and the second-seeded Bluejays (24-6, 14-4) open up Thursday night in the quarterfinals.

McDermott is looking to become the 11th three-time All-America and first since 1985. He is the seventh-leading scorer in NCAA history and is averaging 26.5 points per game this season, making him the favorite to win most national player of the year awards.

“He is the most complete basketball player that I have coached against,” Wright said. “He reads screens better than any player I’ve ever seen. Now that’s on top of being a great shooter, a great post player, a great passer - can drive the ball extremely well.

“He’s a nightmare mismatch for us.”

McDermott’s mark of 27.7 points per game in Big East play fell one-tenth shy of the conference record, the league said.

In an overhauled Big East that said goodbye this season to past powers like Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Connecticut, McDermott joins an impressive list of players of the year that includes Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullen and Ray Allen.

“I’m glad I could start some new memories,” he said.

All the accolades are generating an awful lot of attention for McDermott, the steady senior from Ames, Iowa, who played his home games in Omaha, Neb.

“It’s been a big adjustment, you know? Being a small-town kid,” he said. “It is weird, but it’s been a tribute to a lot of hard work and our team having the success we’ve had. So, you know, just got to try to enjoy it at this time, enjoy the moment. I never would have guessed I’d be on that billboard, so it’s really cool to see and I hope I can enjoy it.

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