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Diversified game keeps McDermott among top players

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 7:42 p.m.

OMAHA, Neb. — Doug McDermott is scoring as much as ever. He's just working harder to do it.

Creighton's opponents have tried to design defenses to curb his production but haven't had much success. McDermott has shown a more diverse offensive repertoire this season and is averaging 24 points, a point better than his 2011-12 average.

“If he had stayed the same, he wouldn't have been able to do that,” said Greg McDermott, coach of the 16th-ranked Bluejays and Doug's father.

Doug McDermott knew after earning first-team All-America honors last season that he couldn't stand pat. He's developed a dependable mid-range jump shot. He's making more 3-pointers. He's improved his ball-handling.

He's still almost unstoppable in the post.

McDermott's evolving game has prompted TV commentators to draw parallels between him and a Missouri Valley player of yesteryear, Hall of Famer Larry Bird.

McDermott, a 6-foot-8 junior, headed into Wednesday night's game with Indiana State second nationally in scoring. He's shooting 56.5 percent from the field and a team-leading 51 percent on 3s for the Bluejays (20-3).

He's made 52 3-pointers, two short of his total in 35 games last season. He has 42 assists — five more than last year.

McDermott didn't arrive at Creighton in 2010 accustomed to being the main man on offense. One of his teammates at Ames (Iowa) High was Harrison Barnes, who went on to play at North Carolina and now is with the Golden State Warriors.

“It's been a huge adjustment,” McDermott said. “High school, Harrison was getting all those (double-teams), and I was the guy who was wide open for 3s.”

Greg McDermott doesn't get caught up in the comparisons to Bird.

“As much as I love my son and appreciate what he does on the basketball floor, he can't do everything that Larry Bird did,” the coach said. “So having said that, obviously, to even have him mentioned in the same sentence is a compliment to Doug and to how his game has developed. Larry was a once-in-a-lifetime player, and I haven't seen another one in my lifetime yet.”

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