Creighton senior forward Doug McDermott capped his career with yet another individual honor Sunday, as he was named winner of the Naismith Award. The honor, voted on by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, annually goes to the best player in college basketball. And after averaging 26.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, McDermott was the clear favorite to win every major individual Player of the Year honor.
And that’s how things have played out, with McDermott also reeling in individual honors from the Wooden Award to those handed out by the Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association and the NABC.
McDermott ended his career as one of just three players in NCAA history to account for at least 3,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
“With Doug you have to reflect not only on the current season but also his entire career to appreciate the full impact he had on college basketball,” said Eric Oberman, Atlanta Tipoff Club Executive Director. “He’s got all the intangibles to make him a tremendous all-around player, and he showcased those attributes this season. It’s an honor for us to call him a Naismith Trophy winner.”
The other finalists for the award, which was won by Michigan’s Trey Burke last season, were Arizona guard Nick Johnson, Duke forward Jabari Parker and Louisville guard Russ Smith.
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.