Doug McDermott spent his senior season passing a lot of big names on the career scoring list. He is now among some very select company.
The senior forward from Creighton was a unanimous choice for The Associated Press All-America team today. He is the first three-time choice in 29 years and the 11th player overall.
McDermott, who led the nation in scoring at 26.9 points a game, joins Oscar Robertson, Lew Alcindor, Pete Maravich and Bill Walton among others. The last three-time All-Americas were Patrick Ewing of Georgetown and Wayman Tisdale of Oklahoma from 1982-85.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine being with names of that caliber,” McDermott said. “Truly an honor to be an All-American three straight years. It’s hard to wrap my mind around being in the company of those guys.”
McDermott was one of four seniors on this year’s team, which included freshman Jabari Parker of Duke. The other seniors all came from the first-year American Athletic Conference: Russ Smith of Louisville, Shabazz Napier of Connecticut and Sean Kilpatrick of Cincinnati.
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It’s the first time one conference had three players picked since the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2001-02 with Duke’s Shane Battier and Jason Williams and North Carolina’s Joseph Forte.
McDermott received 65 first-team votes and 325 points from the same national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25.
Parker drew 55 first-team votes and was second with 303 points. Smith had 54 first-team votes and 298 points, 44 more than Napier, who got 37 first-team votes. Kilpatrick was a first-team pick 37 times and had 243 points.
The voting was done on Selection Sunday.
McDermott led Creighton to a successful first season in the Big East but the Bluejays lost by 30 points to Baylor in the third round of the NCAA tournament.
“You can’t take away from what we did this year. We made some noise in the first year of the Big East, and we beat some great teams and got a three seed for the first time in school history,” he said. “All that is very special, something we’ll never forget.”
The 6-foot-8 McDermott averaged 7.0 rebounds and shot 52.5 percent from the field and 45.4 percent from 3-point range. McDermott considered leaving for the NBA after last season.
“I’ve been blessed to coach him 33 more times this year than I thought I was going to,” Greg McDermott, his father and coach, said before the NCAA tournament. “This year has been so much fun. It’s been such a privilege as a father to be able to sit on the sideline and watch your son do what Doug’s done over the course of this season. Arguably he had more expectations on him than any player in the country, and he was able to answer every critic in the world with his play and our team’s play.”
Parker was one of the heralded freshmen this season, and he was the one who crashed the seniors’ All-America party. The 6-8 native of Chicago averaged 19.3 points and 8.8 rebounds, taking over the scoring load for the Blue Devils down the stretch of the season.
He is the first Duke first-teamer since Nolan Smith in 2010-11 and the first freshman since Anthony Davis of Kentucky two years ago.
“Being named AP All-American is as high an honor as you can get because it covers the whole country,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Jabari had a great year and for him to be recognized like that is quite an accomplishment for him and our program.”
Smith brought the term “Russdiculous” into the national spotlight as he followed his national championship season with Louisville by averaging 18.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.1 steals while shooting 40.5 percent from 3-point range. There was a lot of speculation that Smith was going to leave after his junior season.
“It’s a lot of things in the back of your mind, as far as, will you get hurt, is it the right decision, will you get drafted, will you make money?” Smith said. “But at the end of the day, it was important for me to get my education and get my degree and finish out my senior year out on a good note.”
Napier led Connecticut in scoring (17.4), rebounds (5.9) and assists (4.9) and it was his buzzer-beating jumper that gave the Huskies the win over Florida on Dec. 2, the Gators’ last loss. Napier was the leader of a team that managed to reach the Final Four after being picked as a No. 7 seed.
“He’s been great,” Huskies coach Kevin Ollie said. “If it wasn’t for him and his wining mindset we wouldn’t be where we are. For him to share the spotlight with his teammates meant a lot to us all season.”
He is the Huskies’ first All-America since Kemba Walker in 2010-11. Napier and Walker are close friends, and Napier said it would “definitely be cool” to share the news with his mentor.
Kilpatrick, Cincinnati’s first All-America since Steve Logan in 2001-02, averaged 20.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists for the Bearcats, who shared the American’s regular-season title. Kilpatrick joined Oscar Robertson as the only Cincinnati players to score 2,000 points.
“When you have to mention such a Hall of Fame guy like Oscar Robertson and what he’s done at the university, now you have to mention my name as well.” he said. “I appreciate it a lot.”
Nick Johnson of Arizona was the leading vote-getter on the second team and was joined by freshman Andrew Wiggins of Kansas, Nik Stauskas of Michigan, Melvin Ejim of Iowa State and T.J. Warren of North Carolina State.