Creighton Bluejays Doug McDermott drives on the Cincinnati Bearcats Justin Jackson during the second half of their second round NCAA tournament game in Philadelphia

New Big East helped Doug McDermott stay at Creighton

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Doug McDermott announced he would return to Creighton for his senior season earlier this week. Conference realignment may be one of the reasons that helped influence McDermott’s decision.

The two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year will lead Creighton into the new Big East along with Butler, Xavier and the Catholic 7. The chance to be a part of the program’s new era was a big factor for McDermott, according to ESPN’s Andy Katz

“I thought about it quite a bit,” McDermott told ESPN. “My dad wasn’t pushing me to stay and I know he would have been proud if I left. But I truly care about Creighton and the fans and what they’ve done for me the last three years. I want to give them one more year and take care of business in the Big East so we can prove people wrong.”

“I don’t think that entered into the equation until this week,” add Greg McDermott. “I was adamant that it not be the factor. We got the facts and research from the NBA. But he did see the opportunity to play on the first Creighton team in the Big East. That’s something he’ll always have and you can’t take that away from him. I’m excited for him, to play in those venues. The emotion tugged at him. But there was connection to his teammates and to the fans and he wanted to embark on this new journey together. He wanted to be a part of that.”

On Thursday, McDermott announced that he would be back with the Bluejays for the 2013-2014 season, making them a tough opponent in the new Big East’s inaugural season. Gregory Echenique and Grant Gibbs leave the Creighton program this season, though Doug McDermott told Katz that sophomore point guard Austin Chatman has been playing well and Will Artino and Ethan Wragge can help in the frontcourt this season. Creighton also has a four-man class coming in with a trio of freshman and one JUCO commit.

McDermott is currently ranked as the 34th best player in the 2014 NBA Draft by

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Louisville backcourt struggles in first scrimmage

Quentin Snider, Jerian Grant
Associated Press
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While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.

One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).

They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.

That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.

“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”

As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.

Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.

But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.

Knee injury sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.