February 14, 2014

Creighton star closes in on player-of-year honors

The senior closing on top-player honors and company with legends.

The Creighton sports information team needed more than 3,000 words to fill out Doug McDermott’s career achievements page on the Creighton website. From All-America honors to multiple scoring achievements, McDermott has racked up accolades.

Those writers will have many more to type out in the next two months.

McDermott, a senior for the Blue Jays (20-4, 10-2 Big East), keeps piling up numbers and is the favorite to win this year’s John R. Wooden Award, given to the most outstanding player in the nation.

On Thursday, McDermott hit a last-minute 3-pointer to propel No. 18 Creighton past Butler. In the game, McDermott passed two more players on the NCAA all-time scoring list to reach No. 15 with 2,824 points.

McDermott, who scored 26 points against Butler, is averaging 25.3 points a game, second in the nation behind Antoine Mason, a junior at Niagara.

McDermott has the led the Blue Jays to the top of the Big East standings. They are a half-game behind No. 6 Villanova going into Sunday’s game against the Wildcats. McDermott had 23 points to help Creighton win 96-68 in the teams’ first meeting, one of Villanova’s two losses this season — the other was against No. 1 Syracuse.

Sunday, against Creighton’s lone remaining ranked opponent, McDermott will have a chance to gain more separation in the Wooden race.

McDermott is on pace to become just the eighth NCAA player to score more than 3,000 career points. If McDermott can keep pace, he will pass many all-time greats, including Larry Bird (2,850 points), Elvin Hayes (2,884 points), Danny Manning (2,951 points) and Oscar Robertson (2,973 points).

McDermott won’t be able to reach Pete Maravich, however, who finished his career at LSU with 3,667 points. No matter. Enjoy McDermott’s college run. Creighton has six more regular-season games before the Big East and NCAA tournaments.

Here are two other players to watch as the season winds down. Both have a chance to upset McDermott, who is also in the running for the Naismith and Oscar Robertson trophies:

Jabari Parker, freshman, Duke. Parker is scoring 19.2 points and grabbing 8.5 rebounds a game to prove he was worth the hype he carried from high school. Parker has seemed raw at times, but he has become the No. 8 Blue Devils’ leader and one of the top players in the nation.

C.J. Fair, senior, Syracuse. Fair is the leader on the best team in the nation, undefeated Syracuse. Fair is averaging 16.7 points and 5.8 rebounds a game. He has also come up big for the Orange, including hitting a 3-pointer to set up a last-second win against Pittsburgh on Wednesday night and scoring 28 points in Syracuse’s overtime win against Duke on Feb. 1.

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