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updated: 6/30/2014 7:41 PM

New Bull McDermott ready to soak it all in

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  • First-round draft pick Doug McDermott responds to a question during an introductory Bulls news conference Monday.

      First-round draft pick Doug McDermott responds to a question during an introductory Bulls news conference Monday.
    Associated Press

  • Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, far left, and general manager Gar Forman, far right, stand with first- and second-round draft picks Cameron Bairstow (41) and Doug McDermott during a news conference Monday.

      Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, far left, and general manager Gar Forman, far right, stand with first- and second-round draft picks Cameron Bairstow (41) and Doug McDermott during a news conference Monday.
    Associated Press

 
 

Doug McDermott had very little time to actually think through the merits of playing for his father in college.

His father, Greg, after losing his job as head coach at Iowa State, took the same position at Creighton in April 2010. Doug was committed to Northern Iowa at the time.

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The coach at Northern Iowa, Ben Jacobson, had been an assistant under Greg McDermott, both at UNI and North Dakota State. So Jacobson was willing to excuse Doug from his letter of intent, if that's what he wanted, to play for his father.

"It was kind of a quick decision," McDermott said Monday at his first news conference at the Berto Center. "It was kind of like a no-brainer for me. I didn't have much time to think about it, and it's probably good that I didn't because I probably would have changed my mind. It just worked out great."

After four years together at Creighton, Greg McDermott has handed his son over to Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. The Bulls officially introduced Doug McDermott on Monday after trading up in the draft to snag the high-scoring forward.

"Usually we send our kids off to college, we see them a couple times a year," Greg said. "I got to watch him develop as a person every day. That's something that I'll always cherish. Obviously, I'll miss having him around, miss being able to see him every day. But also knowing he's in a good place is very rewarding to me."

McDermott wasted no time getting his Bulls career underway. A few hours after the news conference broke up, he was on the floor at the Berto Center, doing defense and shooting drills with Bulls assistant coach Andy Greer.

The coaching from Thibodeau will come later, although McDermott worked with the Bulls' head coach briefly last summer at a Team USA training camp.

"I've got some pretty high expectations," McDermott said of playing for Thibodeau. "I'm going in with an open mind. I know it's going to be hard."

It's often natural to have low expectations for NBA rookies. Then again, consider how quickly McDermott became acclimated to the college game.

He was a late bloomer in basketball but had the good fortune of playing on one of the most talented high school basketball teams ever. At Ames (Iowa) High School, he played with current Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes, the No. 7 pick of the 2012 draft.

"Just his work ethic alone really got me a lot better because I just followed his lead when I was younger," McDermott said of playing with Barnes. "We had so many competitive practices."

When his father coached Iowa State, they agreed that Big 12 competition wasn't the best fit, which is why McDermott originally signed with Northern Iowa. Once he got to Creighton, though, McDermott thrived right away, becoming the highest-scoring freshman in Missouri Valley Conference history.

Greg talked about a preseason scrimmage in Colorado in which Creighton was down a couple of players for various reasons. So Doug, a freshman, started at center and had 14 points and 7 rebounds by halftime.

Plans for a redshirt season were quickly scrapped.

"He did (surprise me)," Greg said. "I've always been a believer that young people have to find a place they can play. The level that you go to doesn't make as much of a difference as finding a place where they have an opportunity for you and a need for you.

"He developed quickly, but Doug's put the time in. It's a unique story, because he was sixth man on his team as a junior in high school, and six years later he's a lottery pick, and that doesn't happen very often."

McDermott's scoring skills should help the Bulls right away, but most agree he needs to develop defensively. In the meantime, the entire family is glad he ended up in Chicago.

"I'm just excited to be here," McDermott said. "I'll do whatever they want me to do. I feel I'm ready right from the get-go. I played four years (in college), unlike a lot of guys that maybe went higher in the draft, but I think that helped me."

mmcgraw@dailyherald.com

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