Playing on a team coached by a parent comes with both highs and lows.
Doug McDermott knows the feeling. He’s experienced it.
The former Ames High and Creighton star and current Chicago Bulls forward penned a column for The Players’ Tribune detailing his basketball journey as he played for his father, Greg McDermott, who is the head coach for the No. 23 Bluejays. Doug McDermott was a three-time All-American while he played for Creighton from 2010-2014 and ranks fifth in the NCAA with 3,150 points scored during his college career.
“My dad has been coaching basketball my whole life, so I was born into the game,” Doug McDermott wrote.
Greg McDermott began crafting his college coaching resume as an assistant at North Dakota State from 1989-94. He then became the head coach at Wayne State (Neb.) for six seasons until traveling back to Fargo, N.D., to become the head coach at NDSU.
“North Dakota’s gym was where I remember playing ball for the first time,” Doug McDermott wrote. “I also remember being the ball boy at Wayne State games when I was in second or third grade.”
In 2001, Greg McDermott signed on as the head coach at his alma mater of Northern Iowa. And then, from 2006 to 2010, he was the head coach at Iowa State.
Doug McDermott was 14 when his family moved to Ames. He said he walked into “a really good situation” in having the nation’s top 2010 recruit (Harrison Barnes) on his team. Ames won consecutive Class 4A state titles in 2009 and 2010.
Doug McDermott remembers having conversations with his dad during his junior and senior high school seasons. Greg McDermott mentioned to him that he should be a walk-on player at Iowa State, but Doug McDermott wanted to be an impact player. He signed with UNI.
“I didn’t want to,” Doug McDermott wrote of the Iowa State possibility. “I wanted to play at a mid-major school — someplace where I felt like I could have an impact from Day 1.”
But the opportunity of a lifetime followed: Greg McDermott was heading to Creighton following the 2010 season. So rather than being intraconference rivals, Doug McDermott flipped his commitment and was on his way to Omaha, Neb., also.
While at Creighton, Doug McDermott wanted to make it known that he was on his teammates’ sides, not his father’s.
“I told my teammates, ‘I know it’s a little awkward ’cause my dad’s the head coach, but I’m with you guys. I’m not with him,'” Doug McDermott wrote. “Don’t think that I’m on his side — I’m on your side.”
Doug McDermott said that his dad balanced their basketball-family relationship well, even through funny situations like this:
“I remember one time when my dad yelled at the team after a practice, but then walked up to me and said quietly, ‘Hey, I’ve got your laundry down in my office. Come get it,'” Doug McDermott wrote.
Now that he’s playing for another Ames High legend in former Iowa State and current Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg, Doug McDermott has realized what makes his dad such a great coach.
“My dad loves the process of college basketball — having a system, recruiting, having players return year after year,” Doug McDermott wrote. “Like any dad, my dad can be annoying; he can be a pest. But he’s doing it for all the right reasons.”
You can read Doug McDermott’s full column here.