Wooden Award candidate: Doug McDermott

January, 17, 2013
1/17/13
11:40
AM ET

Eric Francis/Getty Images
Doug McDermott has led Creighton to a 17-1 start this season, and his Division I-leading five 30-point games have put him among the main contenders for the Wooden Award.


The Creighton Bluejays are off to a 17-1 start and are ranked 12th in the country heading into Saturday’s road contest against the Wichita State Shockers.

The Bluejays have been led by Wooden Award candidate Doug McDermott, who is second in the nation in scoring at 24.0 points per game and leads the nation with five 30-point games, including his past two games.

McDermott could become the first player from Creighton to win the Wooden Award, and just the second player from the Missouri Valley Conference. The other? Larry Bird for Indiana State in the 1979-80 season.

McDermott enters Saturday’s game averaging 24 points per game and shooting nearly 57 percent from the field and more than 50 percent from 3-point range. If he finishes the season with those numbers, he’d be the first to do so among players with at least 50 3-point attempts since Michigan's Glen Rice in 1988-89. Rice, however, finished sixth in Wooden voting that season.

It’s not only McDermott’s scoring ability that makes him a Wooden Award candidate, but it’s the number of ways he can hurt opponents.

This season, McDermott is making 53 percent of his catch-and-shoot jumpers, the fifth-best rate in the nation among players with at least 50 shots. Even more impressive is that his shooting percentage on those shots actually goes up to 57 percent when he is guarded.

But McDermott is also dangerous in transition, as he’s one of the most efficient fast-break scorers in the country. He’s averaging 1.65 points per transition play, the fourth-best rate in Division I (minimum 30 plays). And he rarely turns the ball over in those situations, with one turnover in 31 plays.

McDermott originally signed to play at Northern Iowa, against whom he scored 31 points in a win on Tuesday, but was able to back out when his father, Greg, got the job as Creighton head coach.

McDermott has scored more than 1,800 points playing for his father and, with about 300 more, could move into the top five for most points scored in Division I history by a player playing for his father.

Contributions to this article made by Jeremy Lundblad and Katie Sharp.
Matt Willis has been a studio researcher at ESPN since 2006, working on "NASCAR Now" and "SportsCenter," among other shows. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 with a degree in journalism. While there, he worked on ICTV, on shows such as "Ya Think You Know Sports?" and "Sports Final." He also was a member of the IC Comedy Club and figures about half of the jokes he makes in his column are actually funny.

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