McDermott worthy of a top draft pick


A text came through from a basketball writer friend of mine who'd somehow heard (damn social media) that I was doing a story on Doug McDermott.

"Know what angle you're taking?"

My reply: "How he should be the No. 1 (or No. 2) pick in the NBA draft."

His reply: "I wouldn't have agreed with you two months ago. But he's done some things recently that completely changed my mind."

Where does recently begin?

Since Jan. 4, 2014, Doug McDermott has jumped from 51st on the NCAA all-time leading scorers list to currently No. 7. In that short, six-week period here are people he's passed: Elgin Baylor, Bill Bradley, J.J. Redick, Sean Elliott, Stephen Curry, David Robinson, Jimmer Fredette, Joe Dumars, Calbert Cheaney, Don MacLean, Keith Van Horn, Otis Birdsong, Austin Carr, Hank Gathers, Wayman Tisdale, Tyler Hansbrough, Elvin Hayes, Larry Bird, Danny Manning, Oscar Robertson and Hershey Hawkins.

And, as it widely became known and reported over the weekend, he became only the eighth player in NCAA history to score 3,000 points.

He is without question the best player in college basketball. He's leading the nation in scoring. He's 6-foot-8 with a shot that might be purer than Steph Curry's. He's clutch. He's a senior. He has a better chance of being the next Kevin Love than Andrew Wiggins does of being the next LeBron James.

He said coming back for his senior year helped him. "A lot of people questioned [it] from a draft standpoint, like, there's no way I would go higher than I would have [after last season]," McDermott said. "But I feel that I've shown I can play with these athletes, I can play against longer defenders; I'm starting to prove people wrong."

So why aren't NBA teams sacrificing wins for his services?

•  •  •

That 45 points he just dropped Saturday should have been expected. After ran a package on him, after Warren Buffet came to see him play, after coming off one of his worst games of the year and after his team having back-to-back losses, he stepped up the way "for real" ball players seem to.

He's been scoring more than 20 ppg since 2011-12. Since he entered college, he's grabbed more than 7 rebounds a game and never shot worse than 50 percent. So this season that he's having -- 26.5 ppg (leads the nation), 7.2 rpg, .522 percent field goal, almost 90 percent free throw, 44.7 percent 3-pointers -- is really nothing new.

After his clinic at Villanova, the nation seemed to wake up a bit. It was his ninth 30-point game this season, his second time being one point away from 40 (he scored 39 against St. John's in late January). Even as his team just recently lost two games in a row after earning a top-10 ranking, his status as the "one-man Wichita State of college basketball" remains intact. Simply put: McDermott has been doing to the NCAA all season what Kevin Durant did to the NBA in January.

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