Late bloomer, McDermott becomes force for SkyHawks

Raised in an athletic family, Omaha Skutt's Sydney McDermott, left, says she has found her niche with volleyball.

It seems that every year, volleyball players are being recruited at younger ages, making headlines by committing to colleges before ever playing a varsity match.

"I am a late bloomer and the recruitment has been a little later for me," she said. "I have some good options, and I am just waiting until club season comes and I will make a decision from there."

For now, she just wants a win against Elkhorn.

"She is very good at focusing on the task at hand," Saunders said. "She doesn't get caught up in the hoopla and is steady. She is 100 percent game ready every time she goes out there and worries about doing her job every time out."

This weekend, McDermott and her teammates are looking for their fourth straight Class B championship — a tough task considering the depth and talent in Class B.

Dealing with hoopla is something that comes natural to McDermott. She has grown up around it.

Her father, Greg, is Creighton's basketball coach. He also coached her brother, Doug. Doug was a bit of a late bloomer, too, but was college basketball's player of the year in 2014 for the Bluejays and is in his fifth NBA season, currently with the Indiana Pacers.

"Both of them have been great influences on me and helped me become the player I am today," Sydney said. "My dad has been great with advice and as a leader to do what's best."

She called her brother a role model. She watched how much time he put into improving as a basketball player when he was young. It took hard work and focus "to get where he has in his career," she said.

And don't forget mom, Theresa. "My mom has helped me a lot because she is always there and has given me advice when everyone else is busy," Sydney said.

Sydney admits to feeling some pressure because of her last name.

"But I just go out and play and try not to worry about it," she said.

And volleyball is her thing. She laughs when explaining that sometimes she has to explain to her dad some volleyball terminology. But Dad does understand Sydney's competitiveness.

"I am one of those people that hates to lose," she said. "And I want to compete as hard as I can for my teammates and Coach Saunders."

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