OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Doug McDermott says he’s confident he’s got what it takes to be a first-round pick in the NBA draft.
He’ll wait until 2014 to find out for sure.
The two-time first-team All-American said Thursday that he’ll return to Creighton for his senior year instead of declaring for June’s NBA draft.
McDermott made the announcement at a news conference in Creighton’s practice gym. He was joined by his father, Bluejays coach Greg McDermott, and mom, Theresa, in addition to teammates, administrators and boosters.
McDermott said he went back and forth with his decision before it hit him Wednesday afternoon. He was meeting with his dad to talk about his pro prospects when he abruptly stopped the conversation.
“Finally, I just said, ‘You know what, I’m coming back,’ ‘ McDermott said. “I’ve had enough of this. I’m ready to make this decision. This is where my heart is. The NBA can wait. I feel like I can play there someday, but this is an opportunity I can’t pass up.”
Greg McDermott said he and his wife were proud of how their son arrived at his decision.
“At the end, he felt it best to stay,” Greg McDermott said. “He needed to follow his heart and do what he needed to do, and once he makes his decision to not look back and just move forward.”
Selfishly for the coach and the Bluejays, it sure helps to have McDermott back.
“Obviously, it’s 23 points and eight rebounds a game,” the coach said.
NBA draft analysts had pegged McDermott as a late first-round or early second-round pick. Sunday is the deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft.
The 6-foot-8, 225-pound McDermott said he can use another year of college to prepare physically and mentally for pro ball.
He was the second-leading scorer in Division I last season, averaging 23.2 points. He led the Bluejays to a sweep of the Missouri Valley regular-season and tournament titles in their last year in the conference. They’ll move to the Big East next season.
Why did he pass up possible first-round money?
“Just being a college kid another year and playing with my best friends and joining the Big East,” he said. “It couldn’t get much better. I went with my heart, my gut. Whenever I’ve done that in the past, it’s always worked out. I’m confident this is the best decision.”
McDermott set single-season school records with 834 points and 49-percent shooting from 3-point range, and he became the program’s leading scorer with 2,216 points in three seasons.
McDermott’s last game in Omaha was a memorable one. He made 15 of 18 shots while scoring a season-high 41 points in a regular season title-clinching victory over a Wichita State team that went on to the Final Four.
Late in the game fans in the sellout crowd of 18,613 at the CenturyLink Center implored McDermott to return for his senior season, chanting “One more year! One more year!”
On that day, McDermott said, it looked as if he probably would go pro.
“That would have been a crazy way to go out at the CenturyLink,” he said.
But after having time to think about his future, he said, he knew it would be best to return to school.
“It finally hit me,” he said. “I couldn’t be more excited.”