Video Below: Watch the press conference with Doug McDermott and coach Greg McDermott
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Theresa McDermott had to catch herself in mid-celebration.
Her son had just informed her on Wednesday that he was returning to Creighton for his senior season rather than heading for the National Basketball Association.
“I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh,'” she said. “Then I stopped and said, 'Doug, I would have been just as excited if you had picked the NBA.'”
Doug McDermott let his mom get away with that little white lie. He knew how much she wanted him to come back to Creighton for his senior season. He knew how much his teammates wanted him to come back, how much the Creighton fan base wanted him to come back.
And in the end, McDermott knew how much he wanted to return, which is why he announced Thursday that he was bypassing the chance to declare for the NBA draft and would play for the Bluejays in 2013-14.
“I was like, 'Yes!'” said Ethan Wragge, one of McDermott's teammates who didn't know of his decision until he tweeted it shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday. “Most of us knew how much pressure he's been under, so we tried not to bother him by asking him about it.
“But we were all waiting to find out what he was doing.”
After mulling over the question of whether to go or stay for about a month, McDermott decided Wednesday afternoon during a meeting with his father, Creighton coach Greg McDermott.
They were going over information they had received from NBA clubs and trying to project the strength of next season's draft against this season's.
“Doug just looked at me and said he didn't see a lot of difference,” Greg said. “He said he thought he'd have a chance to be in the same position next year as he was today, and with some hard work, there were some things with his game that he could improve.
“He looked at me and said, 'I think I might as well stay.' I got him out of there before he had a chance to change his mind.”
The elder McDermott's dual role as coach and father made for some delicate moments during the process. As Creighton's coach, he could talk to NBA officials to get an evaluation of his son's potential draft status.
“I made a vow early that I was going to tell Doug everything,” Greg said. “I would tell him what was being said that was positive, and I would tell him any questions that people might have about his ability to move on and be successful. I wanted him to know exactly what the information is.
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“I told him I was going to keep the emotion out of it. I owed him that as a coach. I told him if he wanted to talk about the emotional part of the decision, I'll take the coach hat off and listen to you as a father. It was a slippery slope. You watch your son grow up in a process like this.”
Still, the parents admitted it was difficult watching their son agonize over the decision. His teammates also felt Doug's pain.
They saw a different McDermott on Thursday.
“I think he seems with peace with his decision,” Grant Gibbs said. “I think this was the best decision he could have made. As he kept saying, he couldn't go wrong either way.
“But he's in a great situation here. You could tell he was extremely happy this was over. He did this for himself but he made a lot of people happy in the process.”
McDermott's return will mean Creighton has a chance to be more competitive next season as it moves into the new Big East. It will also mean that he'll get his degree before moving on to the next level.
“He and I came in here together, and this means that we'll be able to finish the journey that we started,” teammate Jahenns Manigat said. “We'll have a chance to play all four years together and graduate together.
“I'm happy for him, both as a teammate and a friend.”
Theresa McDermott admitted Thursday that she wanted her son to return and get his degree.
“But we tried to stay as neutral as we could because we didn't want him to resent the decision if it came from one of us,” she said. “It had to be his decision.”
Doug McDermott said returning to school will allow him to work on some things that could prepare him for life after Creighton. His mom has one thing specifically in mind.
“I will teach him how to do his own laundry this year so that he's ready to go next year,” she said, laughing. “He's going to improve those skills.”
As happy as his parents were that Doug would return for one more year, Greg McDermott knew the decision came at a price.
“I've made a few promises, I'm not going to lie,” the coach said sheepishly. “He's got a little mini-vacation coming that's probably on my tab before this is all over.”
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>> Video: Watch the Doug McDermott press conference:
>> Video: Greg McDermott reacts to Doug's decision:
>> Video: See Doug McDermott's 2012-13 highlights: