To say Sean McDermott‘s high school junior season hasn’t unfolded the way he planned would be a massive understatement.
In mid-November, just a week prior to the start of the basketball season, McDermott was admitted to the emergency room at Community Hospital in Anderson for what he thought was a serious case of the flu. Doctors told him it could be a life-threatening illness. He was then transferred to Riley Hospital for Children, where it was feared he could have cancer or leukemia.
“I thought I was going to die, honestly,” McDermott said. “I was in the hospital bed for seven or eight days, not knowing what was going on.”
Eventually, doctors diagnosed McDermott with a severe staph infection. As he suffered from extreme pain in his knees and hips, McDermott was kept immobile for several days in the hospital. But it beat the alternatives.
“With some of the other things we were hearing it could be, it was definitely good to hear it was a staph infection,” he said.
There was never a doubt in McDermott’s mind that he’d make it back to the basketball court this season. It was what kept him motivated to make a quick recovery. But the reality was that he had lost 17 pounds from his slender 6-5 frame.
“He’s a pretty thin kid to begin with,” Pendleton Heights coach Brian Hahn said. “He lost a lot of muscle. Losing 20 pounds is quite a bit.”
McDermott, the grandson of former Pike coach Alan Darner, returned to the court sooner than expected, on Jan. 4 against Pike. Watching him now, barely six weeks later, it would be difficult for outsiders to tell anything had happened to McDermott.
But he can tell. Though he’s not taking 12 pills a day anymore, McDermott still struggles with pain in his hips at times.
“I’m probably about 80 (percent),” he said. “I lost a lot of strength, obviously, so getting back in the weight room will help.”
In 14 games since his return, McDermott is averaging 14.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists for the 14-6 Arabians. He is shooting 34 percent (34-for-100) from the 3-point line.
“Sometimes the pain will flare up, but it’s just something I have to deal with,” he said. “It just feels good to be out there with my team again.”
McDermott has taken visits to Butler, Indiana State and Purdue since his return and added that all of the schools recruiting him before the staph infection have stayed with him. He has offers from Illinois State, Indiana State, New Orleans and North Carolina-Greensboro.
Brebeuf Jesuit senior guard P.J. Thompson is getting serious interest from Purdue. The 5-10 Thompson visited Purdue for the Indiana game and was recently watched by coach Matt Painter and assistant Jack Owens.
“Purdue has been coming at me strong,” said Thompson, who is averaging more than 23 points a game. “They say they want a 2014 point guard. They are waiting to see how I did on the SATs, but if that goes well, they’ve said they want me.”
Thompson said Creighton, Georgia State, Indiana State and Ohio have also been in the mix of late.
Indiana offered Homestead sophomore Caleb Swanigan this week. The 6-9 Swanigan, ranked No. 31 in his class nationally by Rivals.com, also has offers from Georgetown, Illinois, Michigan State, Pitt and Tennessee. … Painter attended Bowman Academy’s 86-71 win over East Chicago Central on Tuesday. Purdue has offered Bowman junior Davon Dillard and East Chicago Central junior guard Hyron Edwards. … Park Tudor’s Trevon Bluiett (Xavier) and Marion’s James Blackmon Jr. (Indiana) continue to climb the state’s career scoring chart as seniors. Bluiett scored 34 points in Monday’s 73-47 win over Lapel in the final game of the regular season to push his total to 2,365. Blackmon Jr. scored 32 points in Tuesday’s 77-63 win over Fort Wayne South to break the Marion single-season scoring record. Blackmon has 2,296 career points with one regular-season game left, on Friday versus Fort Wayne Snider. Bluiett ranks eighth on the all-time list and Blackmon is 12th. … Greenwood Christian senior Lucas Peters set a school scoring record of 45 points in a 74-69 win over Irvington on Tuesday. Peters, who is averaging 22.5 points, went over 1,000 for his career. … Horizon Christian senior Dante Butler has signed with IU-South Bend. … Lipscomb recruit Aaron Korn scored 47 points in Frankton’s 83-54 win over Muncie Central on Tuesday.