Doug McDermott (Getty Images)
It was no surprise Doug McDermott waited until three days before the NBA deadline to figure out whether to enter the draft or not because the Creighton junior had one of the more challenging decisions of any potential prospect.
On the one hand, McDermott had little more to prove by returning to college considering he averaged 23 points per game each of the past two seasons and shot an absurdly high percentage both years. On the other hand, McDermott would be giving up more than most prospects by forgoing his senior year.
In the end, McDermott decided another year playing for his dad and the chance to lead Creighton in its first year in the Big East meant too much to him to give that up. As a result, McDermott announced on Twitter on Thursday evening he intends to return to Creighton for his senior season.
"Just wanted to thank my team, coaches, family, and friends for the support throughout this tough decision," McDermott said in a series of three tweets. "It has been a difficult process. With that being said ... I will be returning to Creighton for my senior year and can't wait to put on that uniform for one more season!"
Thanks to McDermott's decision to delay his NBA dreams one more year, Creighton will enter the Big East as a contender rather than fodder for the league's top teams.
Had McDermott opted to enter the NBA draft this spring, Creighton would have been in rebuilding mode after losing its three leading scorers off a team that won 28 games and captured the Missouri Valley title last season. Graduating seniors Gregory Echenique and Grant Gibbs will still be missed by the Bluejays, but at least they'll have an All-American candidate around which to build.
McDermott averaged 23.2 points and 7.7 rebounds as a junior and shot 54.8 percent from the field and 49 percent from behind the arc, numbers good enough to earn him Missouri Valley player of the year and a variety of first- and second-team All-America nominations. Pair him with sweet-shooting Ethan Wragge, steady Jahenns Manigat and dynamic Austin Chatman, and that's a nucleus capable of competing with Georgetown, Marquette and Villanova in the new-look Big East.
McDermott probably won't improve his stock much beyond the late first round unless he suddenly becomes effective off the dribble or quick enough to defend the perimeter, but so what. His stock is unlikely to fall much either. The lottery in next year's draft will probably be stronger than this year's, but the range in which McDermott will be selected – 20 to 40 – probably won't change all that much.
Even if McDermott drops a few spots because of his decision, chances are he won't regret it. He now has a chance to play one more year for his dad, to be part of a new era of Creighton basketball and to try to lead the Bluejays beyond the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.
What's more, we all get to see it. It may have been difficult to find McDermott on TV when he was facing the likes of Illinois State and Bradley the past few years, but next season his throwback game will be on TV twice a week for college basketball fans to enjoy.
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