It’s pretty clear that Doug McDermott will be wearing Creighton blue this season instead of a redshirt.
The 6-foot-7 son of new Bluejays coach Greg McDermott scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds Thursday night to lead Creighton to a 79-67 exhibition basketball victory over Northern State before an announced crowd of 14,251 at Qwest Center Omaha.
The younger McDermott’s development since joining his father on campus last summer has all but left him slated for playing time as a true freshman.
“Doug’s a talented offensive player, and he’s a work in progress on the defensive end,’’ Greg McDermott said. “His lack of strength hurts him at times on the glass, and that’s why I think he could benefit from a redshirt (season).
“But the more I’ve been around this team, we probably need his offensive punch in the lineup. My guess is that unless something changes in the next week, we’ll go ahead and play him.’’
The younger McDermott’s performance was the highlight of the Bluejays’ lone full-blown dress rehearsal before they open the regular season Nov. 12 against Alabama State. Creighton did hold a closed scrimmage at Colorado last Saturday, and point guard Antoine Young said there were signs of progress Thursday.
“I thought we shared the ball well, and we attacked in transition,’’ he said. “I don’t think we got beat off the dribble as much as we did in the scrimmage. But we still have to get better at that and improve on the defensive end.’’
Young chipped in 16 points and had six assists in playing 34 minutes. Center Kenny Lawson overcame a slow start to finish with 10 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. Wayne Runnels had nine points to go along with three assists and two rebounds.
Coach McDermott also agreed that his players made some positive steps since the scrimmage but saw enough things that need to be fixed to keep the Bluejays busy until they start playing for keeps.
Among the points that will be emphasized in practice:
Rebounding: Northern State held a 36-32 edge on the boards, including a 17-10 edge on the offensive glass. “We should never get outrebounded by a Division II team,’’ Runnels said. “That’s no disrespect to them, but we have to get better.’’
Shooting: Creighton made just 4 of 16 shots from beyond the arc. “We didn’t shoot the ball well against Colorado, and we didn’t do that again tonight,’’ Coach McDermott said. “We have to get that cleaned up.’’
Defensive awareness: The Wolves got too many open shots, especially on the perimeter. They knocked down nine 3-point attempts to keep them in the game in the second half before the Bluejays gradually stretched the lead to double digits.
“One of the reasons you have exhibition games is that they give you a chance to work out some kinks,’’ McDermott said. “We still have some kinks that need to be worked out.’’
Northern State, playing its second game against a Division I team in three days, got 16 points and 10 rebounds from Collin Pryor and 11 points from Derek Hoellein. The Wolves dropped a 75-64 decision at Oklahoma on Tuesday.
Doug McDermott had a pair of baskets in an early 11-3 run that turned a one-point deficit into a 16-9 lead. The Wolves never got closer than three points.
McDermott made 6 of 9 shots from the field and all six of his free throws in 20 minutes.
“I came out a little nervous with the huge crowd,’’ he said. “But I adjusted after a couple of minutes and a few times down the court.
“I thought I played well. My main focus was getting to the glass, and I still need to improve a lot.’’
He’s already made big strides. Lawson said when he first played against McDermott this summer that he figured the gangly freshman was headed for a redshirt season.
“But he kept working and kept improving,’’ Lawson said. “He can definitely help us this year. He’s not the most physical player out there, but he’s very efficient.’’
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