One more year. One more year. One more year.
The chant went up with about two minutes left. Doug McDermott had just scored another mind-blowing basket, this time a running one-hander. And the foul.
His dad, the coach, pumped his fist in the air. It was 84-69 Creighton and everyone was feeling it. The Valley championship was in the bag, and it felt like the time to get a little greedy. One more year?
It lasted about a minute, then went away. And never returned. You'd think Creighton fans would have been rocking that chant to the final buzzer of their 91-79 Valley championship win, through the senior speeches and out into the street. And maybe set up shop outside McDermott's house.
Then again, Jays fans aren't exactly experienced at having to worry about a star player leaving early for the NBA.
They got one now.
One more year. One more year. One more year.
I'm starting the campaign. I'm being selfish. McDermott played a different game Saturday at the CenturyLink Center. He was moving at a different speed, like he was playing all alone out there, and everyone else was watching.
He lifted up his own high standard.
And I want to see it again next year.
I want to see him put his name on all of the records.
I want to see what new shots he can invent.
I want to see how high he can take this game of his that keeps exploding before our eyes.
Oh sure, he'll play in the NBA. But the NBA can wait. I don't want to see him sitting on the bench in Charlotte or Portland next year. He'll be a role player at that level.
Doug McDermott is a college basketball genius, who is becoming more comfortable by the game in that unique skin. I want to see what's next.
But let's be honest. After Saturday, nobody could ever blame McDermott for walking away on that. That's how good he was.
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On a day for writing history, Doug had a legacy game. Oh my. Forty-one points, 15 of 18 field goals, five 3s, six boards, three assists.
All, in the biggest game of the year, the biggest game he and his teammates could play in.
Where would it rank? That's one of the greatest games I've ever seen anyone play, and that includes all of the greatest-evers from the Big Eight, Big 12 and all of the other Big boys.
Greatest game ever by a Creighton player? I haven't seen 'em all. But I've seen everything after Saturday.
“Spectacular,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. “He's a special player.”
Marshall put his best defenders on McDermott. Senior Carl Hall bodied Doug with all 6-foot-8, 238 pounds, had his hands in his face, the works. But it was like Hall wasn't even there.
On this day, McDermott just scored. And scored. And scored.
He worked the baseline like a painter, with bright, broad strokes. He spun this way, then that, banking a shot in and then looping his right hand under the basket and spinning it off the glass.
There was a runner. A spin move and bank with the shot clock expiring. One basket came off an offensive rebound, and if Doug was going to hit the boards, the Shox were in for a long day.
Poor Hall. And the other guys Marshall ran at No. 3. They didn't stand a chance. They needed a seat belt. Trying to stop Doug Mac on Saturday was like hanging onto a mechanical bull or riding a roller coaster. Hang on tight.
Outside the 3-point line, McDermott twice took one dribble, aimed and swished it. Then there was the time he took the step back and knocked it down from just off his own bench.
“That was an NBA shot,” Marshall said. “Whether they think he's ready or not is going to be up to he and his family.”
Can't blame Marshall for bringing it up. There's an entire room of Valley coaches who are pulling for Doug to take the plunge.
And an entire arena of folks in white and blue who couldn't begrudge the young man if he used this one to ride off into the sunset.
“Not a bad one to end on,” said senior guard Grant Gibbs. “I think it's going to be hard to pass up.”
Probably. That was the prevailing sentiment after watching the Doug Show. Really, what else is there left to show us?
That said, Gibbs seemed to offer CU fans some hope. He knows his good friend well.
“He's a different brand of superstar,” Gibbs said. “He hasn't been pumped up by people to play in the NBA his whole life. He's kind of a throwback. His personality, and how he was brought along, could play into it.”
Gibbs put it at “50-50.” And that's how it felt on Saturday, talking to Doug alone outside the interview room. He's got one foot in and one foot out.
“I've always had a dream to play in the NBA,” McDermott said. “But I'm living my dream right now, playing college basketball. I love college basketball and I play in an NBA arena.”
The records are nice, Doug said. The attention, the national writers, the All-America stuff, that's cool, too.
But D-Mac got what he really wanted on Saturday, what all great players want. The title. The nets. The validation for their legacy.
No star wins alone. And Doug had plenty of help Saturday: During a five-minute stretch of the second half when he took a breather, the Jays extended a 53-46 lead to 66-54.
They played good defense, Austin Chatman played tough, Gibbs hit a ridiculous rainbow 3, and they followed the lead and energy of the guy who wanted it, needed it.
“Absolutely,” McDermott said. “I want to be remembered for winning. That's the best legacy you can have. People will remember the team for winning more as much as they'll remember me. You remember the winning.”
So he's got his title. Why come back for another? There's the Sweet 16 goal. But you don't bypass the NBA to go to the Sweet 16.
A move to the Big East next year? “That would be cool,” Doug said, but didn't give the impression that would sway him.
If he's got an indication he'll be taken in the first round, you'd expect Doug to say thanks for the memories.
He's given us some doozies. But he got one for himself on Saturday. During a break in the action, Doug caught himself looking around the packed, loud arena and wondering if this would be his last time.
“I got the chills, looking around the arena, watching the dancing grandma,” Doug said. “This place has done so much for me. Coming out of high school, I was just hoping for a shot.”
The sentimental angle should not be underestimated here. Doug enjoys Omaha and the life of a superstar in Omaha. As Gibbs said, “People love him here. That will make it hard to leave.”
Would he leave without saying goodbye? If this was his Senior Day, he didn't get his turn at the microphone. Then again, his wonderful, incredible actions spoke loud enough.
If he is gone, he had the walk-off of all walk-offs.
“Who wouldn't want to be in this position?” Doug asked. “I really can't make a bad decision.”
Typical Doug. Whatever he does, he can't miss.
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