Doug McDermott’s eyes were red, his nose sniffled and his hands shook on a white towel draped around his neck.
The fabled career of the Creighton star was finally over after his third-seeded team’s nightmarish 85-55 blowout loss to red-hot shooting No. 6 Baylor. It ended with a subpar performance of just 15 points, his third-lowest output of the season, on 7-of-14 shooting from the field with just 2 rebounds, a season-low.
The disappointing showing by the 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward is sure to only raise more questions about how his methodical game will translate to the NBA. But on this night, it was more about the end of an era for him, his father, Creighton coach Greg McDermott, and the Bluejays.
This was a year which the younger McDermott not only elevated Creighton basketball, but the national prominence of the 7,385-student school in Omaha, Nebraska. Forget the 3,150 points that leave him fifth all-time on the NCAA career scoring list, the national player of the awards he is likely to win for this season and even the Blue Jays’ wins in each of their three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
His biggest legacy will perhaps be elevating Creighton enough for the school to join the Big East, which it played in for the first time this season. Bluejays fans know this and it's why after Sunday's loss, one dressed in a blue t-shirt with blue-and-white striped paints told McDermott exactly what he deserves as he walked to a post-game press conference.
“Thanks, Doug,” the woman said.
It was a fitting compliment for McDermott, who has represented Creighton deftly both on and off the court during his four years. But on this night, it was simply not meant to be.
From the outset, he and his teammates struggled with Baylor’s zone anchored by 7-foot-1 center Isaiah Austin and matters were only made worse when the Bears hit their five 3-pointers.
“This is the worst we've played all season, and it just stinks that it's the last one,” Doug said. “It's hard to end on something like this.”
When McDermott finally checked out of the blowout with 2:31 left, he and his father embraced on the sideline for several seconds. While they did, the younger McDermott patted his father on the back a couple of times.
It was an emotional moment that Theresa McDermott, Doug’s mother and Greg’s wife, captured nearby with a camera.
“Just so many memories that we'll never forget,” Doug said. “Just grown so much over the years, and playing for my dad, it doesn't get much better than that. You know, I'm just so blessed to be here.”
The elder McDermott knows he has been too, even though what father and son accomplished might not be fully realized by the two for years to come.
“It's been an incredible journey, and I really wish every parent could experience what I've had the opportunity to experience,” Greg said. “I've had a front row street for history, and it was my son that was doing it.”
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