Doug McDermott

Doug McDermott still debating whether to enter the NBA Draft

Leave a comment

There is an argument to be made that the most important NBA Draft early entry decision will be that of Creighton’s Doug McDermott.

McDermott is a first-team all-american, which is something that doesn’t often come through the Bluejay’s Omaha campus. With him on the roster, Creighton is going to be a tournament team with a chance to make quite a bit of noise in their first season in the new Big East. They may not win the league, but they’ll be a threat to win every time they take the court.

But if McDermott leaves, the Bluejays could find themselves in a bit of trouble. Not only would they lose arguably the best player in the history of the program, but they’ll also be losing their most indispensable piece in center Gregory Echenique. The former Rutgers star had the size and the physicality to battle with centers at any level of the game. There is no replacement for that.

And there also may not be a piece to plug in for Grant Gibbs if he decides not to use a sixth-season of eligibility. Gibbs’ ability to be a playmaker on the wing and a threat in the pick-and-roll was a major reason Creighton got so many open looks at threes this year.

So is McDermott close to making a decision? Doesn’t seem like it.

“I go back and forth all the time,” McDermott told the Omaha World-Herald. “One day, there’s no way I’m leaving this place. The next day, it changes. I’m a guy that has a tough time making decisions. Right now, I don’t even feel like I’m close to making a decision.”

The good news is that McDermott not only has the support of his parents — his dad doubles as his head coach — but he seems to understand that there is more to the equation that simply earning that first guaranteed contract.

“I’ve reached the point where I’m going to the NBA when I feel I’m ready for the NBA,” he said. “I’m not so concerned about the first round or the second round because the reality is I’m either an NBA player or I’m not. If I feel like it’s my time, I’m going to go. If not, I’ve got a great option of getting ready for another year and getting my body better.”

“I’ve been saying it all along I can’t make a bad decision.”

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

USC athletic director Pat Haden to step down in June

Getty Images
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.

USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.

Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.

The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.

Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.

Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Ivy League’s best meet in New Haven

Columbia guard Maodo Lo, right, steals the ball from Northwestern forward Aaron Falzon, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Evanston, Ill.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Leave a comment

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.

The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.

They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.

Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
  • Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
  • Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.