Only McDermott was never really considered a prodigy. If there was a book to be written about him, it probably would be titled, "Nobody Expected This," because nobody, outside of a few mid-majors, even recruited McDermott. "Quite honestly," said Drake assistant coach Jeff Rutter, "he's one of the all-time greatest stories in the history of college basketball."
McDermott is on the verge of a degree in marketing, a possible first-round pick in the NBA draft, and history.
He is ninth on the all-time scorers list in NCAA men's basketball history with 2,966 points. He is closing in on becoming just the eighth player to reach 3,000, a club that includes Hersey Hawkins and the late Pete Maravich.
"It's good to see a kid like Doug do it," Hawkins said, "somebody who really respects the game and appreciates everything.
"He's the not quickest guy, and a lot of times a bigger or taller guy is guarding him. He just has the ability to find little angles to get shots off. He gets done and it's like, 'Oh, he had 31 tonight,' and there was nothing spectacular. It's just him going about his business and being methodical about how he approaches the game. Which I find even more gratifying than some of the guys that are dunking and doing this and that. It's sort of that Larry Bird aspect of it. You don't have to be flashy, you just have to know how to put it in the hole."
There is nothing out of the ordinary planned for Saturday, just the usual senior night festivities: a short ceremony after the game, and speeches, if the seniors are so inclined. Although McDermott could reach 3,000 points Saturday, Creighton's sports information director, Rob Anderson, said the school hadn't given much thought about what it will do if that happens. "I don't see us stopping the game or doing anything to disrespect Providence," the Bluejays' opponent, Anderson said.
Of course they wouldn't. McDermott would hate that. He said all the recent publicity he's received "feels weird."
"When I'm watching those things," he said, "it feels like a different guy. It doesn't feel like me when I'm watching it.
"I want our team to have more attention. I don't like having everything centered around me, which is kind of the way they do it now. We're so much more than me. So when I see the highlights and the shots, it kind of bothers me. But it's still cool ..."
1.5 seconds ahead
He has his flaws, just like the rest of us. As a sophomore in high school, McDermott finished tied for last at the Iowa state golf tournament, something his older brother, Nick, still likes to tease him about.
But even RJ Voss, his old golf coach at Ames High, marvels that Doug made the team as an underclassman. He rarely picked up a club because he was always playing basketball.
He gets nervous about public speaking. He says it's easier for him to play in front of 18,000 people than give a speech in front of his class of 20.
He's kindhearted to a fault and has a hard time saying no, which is why the McDermotts have an unplayed CD from a guy on the street selling children's lullaby music, because Doug insisted that they help the struggling artist.