The McBucket List

11COVv10_PromoThe newly minted top scorer of the ‘00s Creighton senior Doug McDermott, appears on this week’s national cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (3/17/14)—on newsstands NOW. This cover is a recreation of the classic Larry Bird cover from 1977 and is McDermott’s first SPORTS ILLUSTRATED cover. As the greatest college scorer of this millennium, McDermott has scored more than 3,000 points, started in 140 consecutive games; 23 of which he’s scored 10 or more points. He’s had 10 straight games with 25 or more points and a total of 3 game-winning shots. Senior writer Luke Winn highlights McDermott’s versatility on the court and what McDermott has had to do to remain determined and focused throughout the season. Writes Winn, “More than 3,000 points now, and in how many ways? McBuckets’ bucket list is long and diversified. They’ve come on threes and post moves, on banked-in leaners and one-legged fadeaways, on hard curls and slipped screens.” They’ve been 85.5% right-handed, 12.8% lefty, and just 1.7% of them have been dunks. They’ve come in Peoria, Springfield and Wichita for three seasons and in Philly, Indy and New York City during this profile-boosting year in the Big East.” (Page 32)

To reach these impressive goals on the court, McDermott has had a number of inspirations in his life.  He recalls a trip he took when he was in seventh grade with his grandfather Earl and his father’s [Greg McDermott] Northern Iowa team to Indiana State to see Larry Bird’s number 33 retired. Now, years later, a large part of McDermott’s pregame routine includes watching the same YouTube montage of Bird HD highlights. “I love watching Bird” says McDermott. “He just plays a different way.” (Page 33) When senior guard Grant Gibbs learned of McDermott’s 3,000 point accomplishment he leaned over and whispered, “When they announced you passed Bird, a small part of me died inside.” (Page 34)

 Another pregame routine of McDermott includes a session with Jack Stark, the Omaha-based psychologist who has previously worked with NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. During the session, Stark leads McDermott to a place in his mind where he can remove the clutter and visualize the day’s game. This process, the escape before he hits the court has been a pregame routine of McDermott’s since December 22nd, 2010. Stark is only a phone call away when McDermott isn’t playing at his home court although, it is McDermott’s responsibility to find a quiet place for these calls; even a bathroom. McDermott recalls, “I turned the light off and lay against the door to make sure no one would come in, because I wanted to stay focused…And it got really awkward. I could hear people saying, ‘What is going on in there?’ ‘I can’t get the door open!’ and I think someone tried to get security while I was lying there in the dark, listening to [Stark].” (Page 35)  That quick session was enough; McDermott finished the game against Missouri State with a total of 39 points.

 In just four seasons, McDermott has added so many dimensions to his offense that it’s nearly impossible for other teams to guess his next move. From his past inspirations of Larry Bird and his pre game rituals, he’s become a player who believes in the power of preparation and hard work.| SI Senior Writer Luke Winn





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