March Madness 2014 – Player To Watch – Doug McDermott

March Madness 2014 is about to kick off in full force tomorrow morning with 16 big games that will likely ruin half of the population’s bracket picks. However, March Madness isn’t only about office pools and catchy slogans, it also gives the hoops fan an opportunity to focus on players who will likely make a splash in the NBA. One such player who is ready to bask in the Madness is Creighton’s Doug McDermott.

McDermott plays for the 16th-ranked Bluejays, who are seeded third in the West Region. They will meet 14th-seeded UL-Lafayette at 2:10 p.m. on Friday, in San Antonio, in a second-round game. McDermott has amassed some impressive numbers over his career at Creighton, and is now looking to become a household name during the March Madness tournament.

Scoring is McDermott’s forte. He has poured in over 3,000 points, and is the fifth-leading scorer in NCAA history. He is a matchup nightmare due to his 6 foot 8 inch frame and deadly outside shot. McDermott hit on 310 of his 590 shots from the field this season (53 percent) and was good on 94 of 207 3-point shots (45 percent). He also excels from the charity stripe, checking in at 87 percent. A pro scout noted that Doug also scored over 250 baskets with his left hand over his career (he’s a right handed dominant shooter).

Even before March Madness kicked into overdrive, McDermott began getting national publicity. He was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, mimicking a famous pose of another small town boy with a deadly jumper, Larry Bird. McDermott is standing, with hands on his hips, behind two cheerleaders going “Sh-h-h-h!” — with the same headline as Bird’s cover: “College Basketball’s Secret Weapon.”

The network executives are drooling over the possibility that Creighton makes a long run in March Madness this year. They’d love to feature McDermott in as many games as they can. This is a player who has not followed the recent trend of most top college players – stay one season and bolt for the green of the NBA. McDermott has stayed in school for all four years, and the tv people like the fact that he’s a humble, clean cut player.

While many fans want to compare McDermott to Larry Bird, it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to live up to that hype. Bird was in another stratosphere. But McDermott has studied Bird’s game, and even watches a highlight reel of Bird’s best moments before some of his own games for motivation.

McDermott also has displayed his sense of humor with an amusing tweet. ESPN tweeted out that McDermott was quite a way off the all time college scoring record, held by Pete Maravich:

“In order to pass Pete Maravich for most points all-time, Doug McDermott needs to reach the title game and average 94 PPG in the tournament.”

To which McDermott playfully tweeted back: “@ESPNCBB So your saying there’s a chance?” The 2014 NCAA tournament will be more entertaining if the Creighton Blue Jays and their star, Doug McDermott, make a long run in March Madness.

[Image via AP]