Stay or go? Tough call for McDermott

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The trouble isn’t grasping the

concept; it’s hanging on to a stinking consensus. You need Google maps

and a divining rod to get a read on where Doug McDermott lands in the

NBA Draft, assuming Creighton’s all-world junior decides to take the

plunge at all.
 
NBADraft.net projects

McDermott as the 20th pick overall, to Brooklyn. DraftExpress.com? No.

47, to Portland.
 
The HoopsReport.com likes

Dougie Fresh off the board at No. 23, to the Pacers. Hoopsworld.com? No.

48, to the Jazz.
 
One scout sees the next

Wally Szczerbiak. Another sees the next Adam

Morrison.
 
In one war room, gold. In the

next, kryptonite.
 
“All it takes is one team

to like him,” Aran Smith, longtime draftnik with NBADraft.net, said of

McDermott, whose Bluejays (24-7) are slated to face Drake in the first

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament quarterfinal Friday at Scottrade

Center. “It’s a weaker draft (this year) than next year as well. I’m

sure he’d like to stick around and help his Dad another year. It’s a

double-edged sword.”
 
And so the underlying

question remains, one of several lurking in the Creighton camp during

Arch Madness 2013:
 
To jump, or not to

jump? Stay or go?
 
“If you would’ve told me

this (would happen) three years ago, I would’ve called you crazy,”

offered McDermott, the nation’s second-leading scorer at 23.4 points per

game. “So to even be in this situation is really

cool.
 
“I try not to think too much about

the future — just try and take care of business each day at a time, and

good things will happen.”
 
At the moment,

mum’s the word. McDermott and his father/coach, Greg, insist they’re no

deeper than the fact-gathering stage now, something that’ll pick up once

tournaments — including the Big Dance — are over and done

with.
 
“I think it’s every kid’s dream to

play in the NBA. But you want to make sure that, if you make the plunge,

that you do it at the right time,” the elder McDermott said. “And that

there’s research that’s going to need to be done (as to) when it is the

right time.”
 
The Jays’ coach has been down

this road before — most recently with Craig Brackins, a 6-foot-10

forward who was the centerpiece of McDermott’s Iowa State squads between

2007-10. The lanky California native elected to turn pro after his

junior season, and wound up being taken with the 21st pick overall by

Oklahoma City in 2010.
 
“My responsibility

is to the person, just like it was with Craig Brackins when I was

coaching him,” the elder McDermott said. “No matter what’s best for our

program, Doug, like Craig, has to make the decision that’s best for him

at that stage in his life.
 
“After Craig’s

sophomore year, the research kind of pointed in the direction to come

back a year. And that’s what the research pointed at after Doug’s

sophomore year. And we’ll do the research again. But I’m in a little

different situation, because I have to advise him as his coach and do

the research, and then I have to take that hat off and I have to advise

him the best I can as his father, and take everything else

out.”
 
And there’s that double-edged sword

again. The 6-foot-8 forward is Creighton’s bell-cow and bulwark, almost

impossible for his father to realistically replace in the short-term.

According to STATS, Inc., the younger McDermott is one of just three

major-college players since 1996-97 to total at least 2,100 points, 800

rebounds and 150 treys in their career — a group that includes ex-Duke

standout Kyle Singler, a second-round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons

back in 2011; and ex-VMI star Reggie Williams, now with the Charlotte

Bobcats.
 
On the flip side, there’s not that

much more to prove — not on the collegiate side of the equation,

anyway. The preseason All-American’s already snatched a regular-season

MVC title, the Jays’ first since 2001, and is chasing a second straight

Valley tourney crown this weekend. Other than greater glory in Bracketville, it’s slim pickings on Dougie Fresh’s undergraduate bucket list.
 
Which begs the question: Is

there a number? Late first round? Pick No. 25 or higher? What would it

take?
 
“We haven’t talked about that yet,”

the elder McDermott countered. “I think it’s just whether he feels the

time is right.”
 
Smith thinks that time is

right here. Right now.
 
For one, the

projected pool of draftable forwards isn’t especially great, at least

compared to what may be hitting the market in 2014. For another, Smith

came away impressed with what he saw of the younger McDermott in person

last summer at the LeBron James Skills Camp, where the Jays star was

part of a group that included Michigan’s Trey Burke, North Texas’ Tony

Mitchell and Murray State’s Isaiah

Canaan.
 
Instead of a mid-major stuff, Smith

saw a dangerous shooter, a smooth passer with good vision, wicked pivot

moves and high I.Q., but not super-quick defensively. Think Kyle Korver

with a mean streak, or maybe Jason Kapono with a bit more polish in the

post. McDermott was a high-school big who’s turned himself into a

“stretch 4” — a post player who’s a career .459 shooter from beyond the

arc, including a .481 clip on treys this season.

 
The Jays forward also spent three weeks

last year with a private instructor working on scoring moves off the

dribble, another wrinkle that’s turned a few heads. At a Pac-12 game

earlier this winter, a scout from one of the NBA’s Western Conference

clubs told Smith that he’d seen McDermott drop 34 points on California

earlier in the year and came away convinced that the kid was a sure-fire

first-rounder.
 
“Like with Korver, he’s not

a great defender, but he kind of holds his own. I think he’s got a real

chance,” Smith said. “He’s got to really evolve into a different style

at the next level. I think teams like his chances of being a specialty

shooter.”
 
How much, though, is the

question. Still, like the man said, all it takes is one team. That and a

Ouija board.
 
You can follow Sean

Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at

seanmkeeler@gmail.com