Creighton forward Doug McDermott has been met with almost nothing but praise since he arrived on campus in 2010. Now, he has joined elite company.
McDermott scored his 2,000th career point Saturday in a win over Evansville, becoming just the third player in Missouri Valley history to reach that milestone through three collegiate seasons. The other two both went on to become NBA legends and Hall of Famers, Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson.
Bird played three seasons at Indiana State, averaging an incredible 30.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game. He was named the AP Player of the Year and won the John R. Wooden Award in 1978-79. He was also a First Team All-American selection.
Robertson played for Cincinnati from 1957-60, which at the time was a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. He averaged 35.1 points per game in his freshman season and finished his career having averaged 33.8 points, 15.2 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. He was a First Team All-American in all three seasons and was named the Sporting News Player of the Year three times.
McDermott is averaging 22.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game this season and is a leading candidate for the National Player of the Year award. After a win Saturday, Creighton is 21-6 and 10-5 in Missouri Valley play.
Whereas Robertson and Bird were both Top 10 picks in their respective NBA drafts, McDermott could have a more uphill battle when he decides to go pro. DraftExpress currently predicts McDermott will go 46th overall in the 2013 draft, were he to declare, being selected in the middle of the second round without a contract guarantee.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.