Published Monday, March 26, 2012 at 1:00 am / Updated at 1:24 am
BASKETBALL
All-America Bluejay

Tracking McDermott: View an interactive shot chart from the season
Video Below: See highlights from McDermott's season

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Doug McDermott celebrated becoming Creighton's first consensus All-America basketball player Monday with a trip to the weight room.

But not before he had a 45-minute talk with his coach, and father, about what he needs to do to be even better next season.

"Man, the news just keeps coming with different people naming me to different stuff," McDermott said. "I'm in some great company, and it's crazy when I look back on it.

"It's more motivation for me to just get better because I know where the bar is at right now and where I can improve."

The bar is set much higher than McDermott could have ever dreamed it would be when he enrolled at Creighton two years ago.

"I never imagined I would be in this position,'' he said. "Now I know where I can get, and I know what I have to do and how much harder I have to work to get there again.''

McDermott learned Monday that he had been selected to the first team of the Associated Press All-America squad. No Bluejay had ever earned first-team status — Kyle Korver was a second-team selection in 2003 and Paul Silas was a third-team pick in 1964. (Omaha native Bob Boozer earned first-team honors at Kansas State in 1959.)

No Creighton player had earned consensus All-America status. That is determined by assigning a point total to the players picked to the four major All-America teams — the AP, the United States Basketball Writers Association, the National Association of Basketball Coaches and The Sporting News.

Players receive three points for a first-team selection, two for second-team recognition and one for a third-team honor. Four players — Kansas' Thomas Robinson, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, Kentucky's Anthony Davis and Michigan State's Draymond Green — received the maximum of 12 points.

The 6-foot-7 McDermott, who also was named first team by the USBWA and NABC and second team by The Sporting News, totaled 11 points.

McDermott also learned Monday that he was one of 10 players selected to the Wooden All-America team. He is a finalist for the Wooden national player of the year award, as well as one of four finalists for the Naismith national player of the year award.

Toss in his selection as the Missouri Valley player of the year as well as first-team all-conference honors for the second straight season, and McDermott has become the most honored player in school history this season. Not bad for a guy who was being considered for a redshirt season before his freshman season.

McDermott became the second player coached by his father to earn AP first-team honors. Pete Maravich was a three-time AP All-American while playing for his father, Press, at Louisiana State.

Coaching a son who is the star of the team did bring about a different problem for Greg McDermott.

"It could be a situation where if your son was a borderline player that your fans get upset if you put him in the game,'' he said. "Our fans get upset if I take him out.''

Doug McDermott finished third in Division I in scoring with a 22.9 average. He averaged 8.2 rebounds and shot 61 percent from the field and 49.5 percent from 3-point range.

He said that in Monday's meeting his father stressed defense as an area of his game that needs improving.

"There are a lot of things I can improve on,'' Doug said. "The main thing is on the defensive end. I did a lot of good stuff offensively, but my defense needs to get better.

"I think if I can bring it defensively, the whole team will pick up on that and we can do a lot of special things next year.''

With McDermott leading the way, Creighton tied the school record for victories in a season and returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007. The Bluejays defeated Alabama in a second-round game to notch their first NCAA win in a decade before North Carolina ended their season at 29-6 in the third round.

Creighton returns all but one player from its regular rotation. Coach McDermott is in the process of meeting with all of his players to discuss offseason points of emphasis. The players already are hitting the weight room.

Doug McDermott, who played this season at 215 pounds, said his offseason goal is to add 10 to 15 pounds of muscle.

"I want to get stronger and put on some weight,'' he said. "This summer I won't be going over to Latvia for three weeks, so I can just focus on myself.''

McDermott made the United States' under-19 national team last summer and faced international competition at the world championships in Latvia. He had built himself up to about 225 pounds before trying out for the U.S. team last June, but lost 10 pounds while traveling and competing.

Of the five players to earn consensus All-America honors, McDermott might be the only one to return next season. Green is a senior, while Robinson is a junior, Sullinger a sophomore and Davis a freshman. The latter three could leave school early, as they are considered among the top 10 players in most NBA mock drafts.

McDermott already has said he won't declare for the draft, even to just be evaluated by NBA personnel. Players can receive the evaluations by declaring but not signing with an agent.

"We both kind of agreed that I can get a lot better,'' he said, referring to discussions he's had with his father. "We made the decision to stay here, work hard and get a lot better and have a real special year next year.

"If I can improve on all the areas, I think I can fulfill my dream of playing professionally. Right now, I'm just focused on the college life and enjoying that.''

McDermott said he knows that he'll have to be prepared for questions about his future next season. He also knows he is bound to receive even greater attention should he be the only consensus All-American to return to the collegiate game.

"This is definitely what it's all about, and everyone wants to be in this position,'' he said. "It's nothing I'm complaining about. It's probably going to be pretty crazy going into the season.

"It's just something I'm going to have to keep (in perspective) as I'm trying to get better and do whatever I can to make this team better. If I do that, all the other stuff will take care of itself.''

NOTE: Creighton commit Isaiah Zierden is one of eight high school players who have been selected to participate in a 3-point shooting contest as part of Final Four festivities in New Orleans. Zierden, of St. Louis Park, Minn., will compete in the contest at the Alario Center in New Orleans on Friday. The competition also will include a slam-dunk contest and a women's 3-point shooting contest. Zierden committed to Creighton last November along with Andre Yates of Dayton, Ohio.

Contact the writer:

402-679-2298, steve.pivovar@owh.com

twitter.com/PivOWH

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Video: See highlights from McDermott's season:

Contact the writer: Steven Pivovar

stevepivovar@hotmail.com    |   402-679-2298    |  

Steven Pivovar is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and primarily covers Creighton athletics and the College World Series.

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