ARLINGTON, Texas -- Every Thursday for five months, the Wooden Watch ranked the best individual players in the country. For the final 13 of those weeks, Doug McDermott owned the No. 1 slot.
It wasn't always this way: When the season began, McDermott was one viable candidate among many. By the end, he was the only plausible choice. Any dwindling intrigue was about how many -- if not all -- of the Wooden Award committee members' votes McDermott would earn.
That McDermott was so clearly the best player in the country in a memorable and high-octane college basketball season was just the latest, and probably not even the most remarkable, among his accomplishments at Creighton.
In March, McDermott finished his career with 3,150 total points, fifth on the all-time scoring list. He eclipsed 3,000 points in his final home game. He was the third player in history to record 3,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. He was the only player in Creighton history to score 750 points in a season, and he did it three years in a row.
The list goes on (and on and on). Meanwhile, the imprint McDermott left on Creighton basketball -- which moved from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Big East in his time on campus -- spanned the pure, intangible joy of watching an all-time great and the bottom-line benefits of a bigger conference and more TV money. And the new Big East helped McDermott, too: It allowed him to prove, once and for all, that he really was that good.
Did he ever. Each season, the player of the year award is dominated as much by perception as reality. Typically there are a handful of worthy candidates and little margin among them. Usually the award goes to whichever player solidifies some vague majority of college basketball people before mid-March.
McDermott didn't have to worry about any of that. Thankfully, neither did we. Instead, we just got to watch him play, appreciate his game, and remember the time we saw McDermott -- the goofy Creighton kid whose own dad passed on him, turn into a bona fide college hoops legend.