OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton fans should buckle up for a wild ride if Doug McDermott's junior season lives up to the expectations and acclaim doled out by a series of national experts on Thursday. Experts at two of college basketball's most prominent websites, SI.com and ESPN.com both rolled out their preseason picks with McDermott prominently featured.
SI.com, the website for popular magazine Sports Illustrated, has McDermott tabbed as a Preseason First Team All-American. In addition, three of its four primary writers (Luke Winn, Pete Thamel, Andy Glockner) predicted McDermott would earn National Player of the Year accolades at year's end. North Texas big man Tony Mitchell, who Creighton will host on Friday night, is picked as a Second Team Preseason All-American and listed by Winn as the "Best Under-The-Radar" Player in the country.
ESPN.com used a panel of 17 experts to predict its preseason All-America teams as well. Sixteen of the 17 experts predicted McDermott would earn First Team All-America accolades, with ESPN Insider Chad Ford the lone exception. Eight of the 17 experts had Mitchell as a All-American, good enough to land him a spot on the second team. In another link on their site that details the predictions, Seth Greenberg, Jason King and Miles Simon each pegged McDermott for National Player of the Year. ESPN's early season anonymous "straw poll" of 55 experts have McDermott ranked second among POY candidate ,trailing only Indiana's Cody Zeller.
McDermott averaged 22.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last season, after which he became Creighton's first consensus First Team All-American. He's been tabbed Preseason MVC Player of the Year for the league favorite Bluejays, who tied a school-record with 29 wins last year.
Creighton opens its long-awaited regular-season Friday night at 7:05 pm Central with a game vs. North Texas. A crowd of more than 16,000 is expected at CenturyLink Center Omaha.