CHICAGO — All-American Doug McDermott, preparing to hold a full-time job for the first time in his life, can appreciate leaving one part of college life at Creighton.
The 6-foot-7 small forward said Thursday at Quest Multisport facility the one constant of life in Omaha he’ll be glad to leave behind is the persistent question: “What’s it like playing for your dad?”
McDermott, a projected first-round pick who played for his father Greg all four years with the Bluejays, is one of many likely to be drafted in the top 30 picks skipping on-court drills at the 2014 NBA Draft Combine, which began Thursday morning and concludes Friday at the near Westside facility.
Walking past a row of pro basketball demigods who will help determine his future — Jerry West, Tim Hardaway Sr., Danny Ainge — and current coaches, including Boston’s Brad Stevens and Rick Carlisle of the Dallas Mavericks, McDermott was a popular target for media. McDermott is keeping a crowded itinerary this weekend even without taking the court.
He met with a dozen teams in Chicago with more waiting Friday.
He is not big or fast, but in 145 college games he drained 1,145 field goals. What scouts know is McDermott knows how to score.
What McDermott believes he must prove is that he can defend small forwards and versatile power forwards, and handle the ball well enough not to be a detriment on the wing.
“Kind of a mix of three and four,” McDermott said of what position he can play at the next level. “I’m not a lockdown guy, but I think I can surprise some people with my competitiveness.”
McDermott said he looks up to former Creighton sharpshooter Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks), Brooklyn Nets guard Paul Pierce and former Minnesota Timberwolves Wally Szczerbiak, the sixth overall pick in the 1999 draft from Miami (Ohio) to whom he’s often compared.
In 2013, Sports Illustrated reprised a cover shoot in which Larry Bird posed with Indiana State cheerleaders in the 1977. McDermott posed with two cheerleaders in a similar pose, which he said he resisted initially — asking SI, “are you sure you want to do this with one of the greatest to ever play?” Though teammates harassed him about the magazine that sold out in locations in Omaha, McDermott was put at ease when he learned Bird appreciated it.
McDermott said he cannot recall ever being compared to a “non-white” player and while he understands the narrowed focus of those drawing the parallels, he did offer Antawn Jamison as a player others see in his game.
“It’s hard, because it’s all I hear,” he said.
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