Doug McDermott picked up another award Monday, while he and his teammates held their position in the national polls.
The Missouri Valley Conference named McDermott its player of the week after the junior forward averaged 28.5 points in Creighton’s two wins last week. It is the third time this season and eighth time in his career that McDermott has won the weekly award.
After a week of few upsets, Creighton remained 13th in the USA Today coaches poll and 16th in the Associated Press Top 25. Only one ranked team, Gonzaga, lost last week, and that defeat came at the hands of a ranked Illinois club.
The Bluejays (9-1), who play at California on Saturday, have been ranked in the top 16 in each of the polls for the first six weeks of the season. They moved as high as No. 11 in both polls two weeks ago, then dropped to the present rankings after a loss to Boise State.
Creighton rebounded from its only defeat with victories over St. Joseph’s, Nebraska and Akron. McDermott scored 80 points in the three wins, with almost half coming from beyond the 3-point arc.
McDermott made 13 of 19 (68.4 percent) of his 3-point shots in the three games. After shooting 30 percent from beyond the arc in Creighton’s first six games, McDermott has buried 17 of his last 24 3-point shots (70.8 percent).
“I started a little slow out of the gate, but my perimeter shot is coming along,” McDermott said. “I’m seeing a lot of improvement there. I still like to post up, and when I have that opportunity, I definitely take advantage of it.”
Because he often draws double- and triple-teams inside, McDermott has been forced to look for ways to create some space on the court.
“I just can’t post up, so I have to figure out other ways to score and get open,” he said. “I think I’ve come a long way in that, but I can continue to get better.”
McDermott shot 48.6 percent from 3-point range in earning consensus first-team All-America honors last season. He came into this season as a career 44.5 percent shooter from beyond the arc.
That’s one reason no one panicked when he opened the season making just 6 of his first 20 3-point attempts.
“He shot 50 percent in high school and whatever he shot in his first two years here,” said Creighton coach Greg McDermott when asked about his son’s rough start. “That was the last thing I was worried about.”
Nor is the coach worried about the rough patch that Ethan Wragge has hit after making 58.3 percent of his 3-point attempts in the first six games. The junior sharpshooter has made 5 of his last 18 attempts, including going 0 for 3 from beyond the arc in Sunday’s 77-61 win over Akron.
“Does that mean he’s a bad shooter because he had a few rough games?” Greg McDermott asked. “It’s not an easy shot, and there’s a reason the national average is in the low- to mid-30s.
“It’s something that goes in waves. I knew Doug was going to be fine, although the stretch he’s on right now is pretty incredible. It’s much like the way Ethan started the year.”
Doug McDermott is shooting 52.3 percent from 3-point range for the season, while Wragge is at 48.1 percent. Austin Chatman has made 9 of 16 3-point attempts in posting a team-high 56.3 percent accuracy mark from beyond the arc.
Creighton has made 42.1 percent of its 3-point attempts as a team to rank ninth nationally. The Bluejays rank in the top 10 in five other statistical categories: third in field-goal percentage (.521), eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.53 to 1), ninth in 3-point baskets per game (9.0) and 10th in points (802) and assists per game (17.6).
Grant Gibbs is third nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (7.33 to 1), McDermott is fifth in points per game (22.7) and Wragge is 16th in 3-point percentage. McDermott and Chatman do not have the minimum number of attempts per game to be ranked nationally in the latter category.
Jones will hold press conference Wednesday
Creighton guard Josh Jones said he will hold a press conference Wednesday to discuss his health and future participation in basketball.
Jones fainted before Thursday’s game against Nebraska and was hospitalized overnight in Lincoln. Jones, who underwent open-heart surgery as a high-school senior, has been meeting with doctors and undergoing tests since returning home Friday.
Jones politely declined a World-Herald interview request Monday, but said via Twitter that he intends to discuss his status on Wednesday.
“Thanks to everyone in Omaha and the state of Nebraska who loves me for who I am and what I do and will do positively in the future,” Jones tweeted.
“This Wednesday I will hold a press conference about my condition. I have support from my family coaches and team. I’m in great spirits.”
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