Doug McDermott made Creighton history last season when he was selected as the school’s first player on the AP All-America team. Now he’s done it again.
The 6-foot-8 junior forward, the second-leading scorer in Division I, was a repeat selection Monday, the 51st player to earn the honor in consecutive seasons.
“It’s pretty crazy. I couldn’t expect to have as good a year as I did,” said McDermott, who averaged 23.1 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 56.1 percent from the field and 49.7 percent from 3-point range.
Trey Burke of Michigan and Otto Porter Jr. of Georgetown tied as the leading vote-getters for first team, while Victor Oladipo of Indiana and Kelly Olynyk of Gonzaga were the other players selected.
McDermott, who led the Bluejays to the Missouri Valley Conference championship with a title-game win over Wichita State, wasn’t shocked that he was the second repeat selection in as many years, following Jared Sullinger of Ohio State. But the honor was satisfying.
“It’s not too surprising because I approach the game the same every time,” he said. “I knew I could kick it into gear and have a special season. It’s tough to do what I did with the defenses I faced. I got a lot more attention. I found ways to expand my game. I was really pleased.”
So was his coach, and father.
“I’m just really proud of the season that he was able to put together,” Greg McDermott said. “On one hand he was able to consistently put up incredible numbers on a team that won a lot of games. At the end of the day I know that was most important to Doug.”
Burke and Porter both received 62 first-team votes and 319 points from the same 65-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Voting was on a 5-3-1 basis and was completed before the NCAA tournament.
Oladipo got 58 first-team votes and 306 points. McDermott had 44 first-team votes and 279 points, one more than Olynyk’s total points. The Gonzaga junior got 47 first-team votes.
Burke, a 6-0 sophomore point guard, had an impressive individual season while running a team that at times had four freshmen on the court with him.
“That’s like a quarterback that’s got his offensive tackle’s a freshman, his wide receiver is a freshman, and his running back is a freshman, and he still leads them to wins,” said Wolverines coach John Beilein, using an analogy from the sport his school loves. “So he’s taken a lot on as far as leadership. Quiet leadership now, but it’s been huge for us.”
Burke averaged 19.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists and shot 40.1 percent on 3-point attempts. He is Michigan’s fifth All-America and first since Chris Webber in 1993.
“Every now and then you think about individual accolades, and that was definitely a goal of mine coming into my freshman year,” Burke said. “I didn’t know it would be this quick, but it happens.”
Porter, a 6-8 sophomore, is a smooth, solid forward whose coach describes his efforts this way: “Otto was Otto.”
“I’ve defined it all year — probably without saying it — in that he is a selfless player, in that all of his actions, all of his thoughts are on how can he help our team win,” Hoyas coach John Thompson III said. “And because he’s so talented, with such God-given ability, because he is the worker that he is, because he is as coachable as he is, he has been able to succeed on many different fronts. Not just scoring. I don’t want to say he’s a complete basketball player — he’s not finished — but he excels at many different aspects of the game, many of which show up in the stat sheet, many of which don’t.”
What does show up on Porter’s stat line is 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while shooting 42.7 percent from behind the 3-point line. He is Georgetown’s sixth All-America and first since Allen Iverson in 1996.
Oladipo is Indiana’s first All-America since A.J. Guyton in 2000 and the eighth overall. He was impressed to be joining the likes of Scott May, Kent Benson, Isiah Thomas, Steve Alford and Calbert Cheaney.
“I’m kind of speechless to be with the great names in college basketball, the NBA, in basketball history,” Oladipo, a 6-5 junior swingman, said. “To be put in a sentence with them only makes me want to work harder.”
That is one of the traits Hoosiers coach Tom Crean loves about Oladipo, who averaged 13.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.2 steals while shooting 59.9 percent from the field and 44.3 percent on 3s.
“I see somebody who continues to get better every step of the way at Indiana,” Crean said. “I think when you have a young man who puts in that kind of time and that kind of work and cares about his teammates, all the outside stuff doesn’t matter. It’s on the court that does.”
Olynyk, a native of Canada, became an All-America with a junior season that saw the Bulldogs reach No. 1 for the first time in school history. The 7-footer averaged 17.5 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 65.2 percent from the field. He was recognized as much this for his long hair as his inside game.
“Obviously you believe in yourself, but I didn’t expect it to explode on the scene with this much attention,” said Olynyk, who redshirted last season. “My teammates and coaches believed in me and put me in a position to succeed.”
Olynyk joins Dan Dickau and Adam Morrison as Gonzaga All-Americas.
Freshman guard Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State got 11 first-team votes and 190 points and was joined on the second team by senior Mason Plumlee of Duke, sophomores Cody Zeller of Indiana and Shane Larkin of Miami and freshman Ben McLemore of Kansas.
The third team was seniors Jeff Withey of Kansas, Erick Green of Virginia Tech and Nate Wolters of South Dakota State and juniors DeShaun Thomas of Ohio State and Russ Smith of Louisville.
McDermott, Burke, Zeller and Thomas were on the six-man preseason All-America team along with Isaiah Canaan of Murray State and C.J. McCollum of Lehigh.