Doug McDermott’s storied career comes to painful end


In four seasons at Creighton University, senior forward Doug McDermott established himself as one of the greatest scorers in the history of the sport. With 3,150 points, McDermott ranks fifth on the NCAA’s all-time scoring list, but to look at his career is to reveal that he had an impact that went well beyond the scoring column.

Creighton made three NCAA tournament appearances during his college career, and that run of excellence helped put the program in position to make the move from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Big East. The change in leagues gave both McDermott and the program as a whole another stage on which to perform, and the Big East Player of the Year didn’t miss a beat in his lone season in the conference.

Unfortunately as the saying goes all good things must come to an end, and that proved to be the case for McDermott and his fellow seniors (Grant Gibbs, Jahenns Manigat and Ethan Wragge) in No. 3 Creighton’s 85-55 loss to No. 6 Baylor on Sunday.

MORE: Baylor clicks on both end in emphatic victory

source: Getty ImagesBaylor’s primary goal was to keep McDermott from getting comfortable offensively, and they were successful through the use of their length and a zone defense that took on various looks throughout the night. McDermott would once again reach double figures, scoring 15 points, but he did so on 14 shot attempts and did not make a single three-pointer. And with his teammates also struggling to connect from the perimeter (5-for-24 3PT), this spelled doom against a Baylor team that supplemented its defensive effort with some hot shooting on the other end.

To say the least it was a tough way to go out, as any athlete hopes to have their career end in positive fashion. Creighton won an NCAA tournament game in each of the last three seasons, but they were unable to reach the second weekend. However that final line in the story that is Doug McDermott’s college career won’t take away from what he and his teammates were able to accomplish.

“This is the worst we’ve played all season, and it just stinks that it’s the last one,” McDermott said after the loss. “But that doesn’t take away from all my memories here.  It’s tough to go out this way.  We still won three games in the NCAA tournament the last three years.

“Not a lot of teams say they can do that three straight years to win a game, but it’s hard to end on something like this.”

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.

According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.

That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.

“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”

As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.

Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press
Leave a comment

When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.