Rasmussen sat down with Doug and asked him a few questions. And McDermott answered one particular question almost exactly, to the letter, as Kyle Korver did on his recruiting visit more than a decade ago. Rasmussen asked McDermott what Creighton could do for him, and McDermott got serious and intense. He said he wanted the school to help him become the best basketball player he possibly could on the best team they could have.
"And when I got done," Rasmussen said, "I went to Dana and said, 'We need to offer this kid. Now.'"
He could not get a scholarship, at least not right away, because Creighton didn't have one available for his freshman year.
"I've always had a chip on my shoulder because I wasn't rated or didn't have any scholarship offers," McDermott said. "It was more of a trying to prove people wrong early in my career. Now I feel like I've established myself and I'm just playing for the love of the game.
"I enjoy the game so much I can't go a day without touching a basketball. It's just who I am. It just annoys me if I have a day where I don't have any sort of basketball activity."
Douglas Richard McDermott was born Jan. 3, 1992, in Grand Forks, N.D., because that's where his dad was working as an assistant at North Dakota. There was a basketball game that day, but Greg was there for the birth of his son, who would turn out so much like him, so different from him. They lived the typical nomadic life of a coach's family, moving from Wayne, Neb., to Fargo, N.D., to Cedar Falls, to Ames, Iowa.
Doug learned to make new friends and adapt. In many ways, the family was lucky. Everywhere they went, they were surrounded with kind Midwesterners. They'd have backyard barbecues with Kool-Aid stands and kids playing basketball and wrestling in the basement. Nick McDermott likes to joke that he toughened his little brother up in those days. "I wouldn't want to mess with him now," Nick said. "I think he'd take me now."
The McDermott boys knew at an early age that people would always be watching them because their dad was the basketball coach in town. So they had to be on their best behavior. There is only one story that anyone in the family can think of in which Doug came close to trouble. It involved water balloons.
"We had those conversations with the boys growing up," Theresa McDermott said. "We didn't want them to be resentful that they were Greg's children, so we had to handle it in a way to tell them to just do the right thing. We don't care if you're the coach's kid or the banker's kid or whatever. If you do the right thing, you're not going to end up the paper."
One singular moment -- besides the massive growth spurts -- may have turned McDermott from a goofy-sweet dreamer wearing out the VCR tape of "Like Mike" to an uber competitor. It happened in 2006, when Greg took the Iowa State job before Doug's freshman year of high school. McDermott was placed in a group of boys so talented that he failed to make varsity until his junior year and, even then, was relegated sixth man on the team.
He was placed on an Ames High team with Harrison Barnes, a future NBA lottery pick. Barnes was the guy who got all the headlines and the visits from the college coaches; McDermott was the one who went relatively ignored. They went undefeated and won back-to-back state championships. More importantly, Barnes taught McDermott how to work for what he wanted.