Doug McDermott receives 2014 Wooden Award at Los Angeles Athletic Club

April 12, 2014

Los Angeles -- On paper, Doug McDermott was far and away the most impressive college basketball player in the country this year. With a game some have compared to a young Dirk Nowitzki or Kevin Love, McDermott led the nation in scoring in his senior season at Creighton. Averaging 26.9 points a game, McDermott carved his name into the record books as the 5th-leading scorer in NCAA history.

On Friday night, McDermott added some more hardware to an NCAA resume that already included every other major award in college basketball, as the Creighton senior was presented with the 2014 Wooden Award in downtown Los Angeles at the prestigious Los Angeles Athletic Club.

Former Duke point guard Jayson Williams hosted the event with fellow Duke grad Jay Bilas on hand as well. All six finalists for the award were in attendance: Duke’s Jabari Parker, Louisville’s Russ Smith, Wichita State’s Cleanthony Early, and Arizona’s Nick Johnson.

The award was particularly special for McDermott because he had been on the fence about returning to Creighton for his senior season. It was a tough decision that ultimately paid off for him.

"I stuck it out for four years,” McDermott said, “That's why it's so great seeing other seniors be here with me. We're guys who decided to get better every year."

The women’s award went to Stanford center Chiney Ogwumike. The Pac-12 Player of the Year had quite a season herself, averaging 26.1 points and 12.1 rebounds, and leading Stanford to the Final Four. Many expect her to be the top pick in next week's 2014 WNBA Draft.

I’m so humbled,” Ogmuwike said, “The girls on the video are equally as deserving.”

Adreian Payne of Michigan State won the first ever Outreach Award for the friendship he had with Lacey Holsworth, an 8-year-old girl diagnosed with cancer who unfortunately had just recently passed away. Lacey was a big Michigan State basketball fan and Payne was incredibly sweet and compassionate in his efforts to befriend Lacey and have a positive impact on her life. He received a standing ovation from the crowd, followed by a moment of silence for Lacey.

“I learned so much, just seeing her fight every day,” Payne said. “She taught me to persevere through anything and just be strong.”

Stanford head coach Tara VanderVeer was also honored, winning the “Legends of Coaching” award.

While there are rarely sure things in the NBA Draft, McDermott appears as though he has the size and firepower to hold his own in the NBA, if only merely as a spot-up shooter. He may even have the size to potentially play as a Stretch-4 in a D'Antoni-like offense.

As always, with the unpredictable nature of college prospects in the Draft, we’ll just have to wait and see.

By Max Rucker
Contributing Writer for

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