It might be unfair for Creighton to have Doug McDermott on his team. I mean look at his stats, he averages 23.6 points per game with 8.3 rebounds. Oh and he’s shooting 52 percent — not from the field, that’s too pedestrian for McDermott. The sophomore forward is shooting that good from the 3-point line (62 percent from the field, for the record).
McDermott is a big reason why Creighton is having their best season since the Kyle Korver-era. They stand at 21-3 for the year and 11-2 in the tough Missouri Valley Conference. But as good as the Bluejays’ star is, he isn’t all they’ve got.
Creighton has five guys averaging at least seven points a game, which may not seem a lot, but when you take into account their top guy is one of the leading scorers in the country, that’s pretty good.
One of those players is senior guard Antoine Young, who is averaging 11 points and 4.5 assists for Creighton. He went off for 23 points in their buzzer-beater loss to Northern Iowa on Saturday — the second time he has gotten over 20 against them this year.
He isn’t even their top assist guy either, as Grant Gibbs is averaging 5.8 a game. Gibbs is a Gonzaga transfer who is filling up the statbook, also averaging 7.9 points and 4.5 boards. Led by the guard play of Gibbs and Young, Creighton is second in the country in assists with 19.3 a game, trailing only Iona. Creighton is 17-0 this year when one of their players has at least six assists in a game. Having pass-first guards has been a key in helping McDermott be the prolific scorer he is.
Add in Gregory Echenique (9.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Jahenns Manigat (7.1 ppg) and this is a very formidable team with a chance to make a run in the NCAA’s.
But no mid major can be ranked as high as Creighton is without a little luck.No one on their rotation has missed any time this year, as they have had nine guys play all 23 games this year.
And this team is shooting deadly, and it doesn’t matter where they are on the court. They are first in the nation in both field goal percentage (.514) and 3-point percentage (.449).
McDermott will be the MVC Player of the Year and a possible All-American, but he will be double teamed by the best teams in the nation come March. His teammates have had his back all year, and they will have to keep doing so in order to make a run to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.