Sitting in a small cramped side locker room in the San Antonio Spurs' arena, watching some of his teammates silently chew on Pizza Hut takeout, Dougie McBuckets tries to push away the nightmare. And all that Baylor black and green.
Doug McDermott spends more time talking about the memories he'll leave Creighton University with than the game that's just ended. Who can blame him? Baylor's ferocious 1-3-1 zone defense absolutely tears apart the nation's leading scorer, exposing all of McDermott's flaws for all of America to see.
From Dougie McBuckets to Dougie McNothing.
Dougie McBuckets goes into a complete shell and puts the burden on his lesser talented teammates after dominating the ball all season.
On his sport's biggest stage, the supposed college basketball Player of the Year is exposed as something of a fraud as Baylor annihilates his dreams 85-55. It's not Doug McDermott's fault that racist idiots who can only see the color of his skin keep comparing him to Larry Bird. But it is on him that he no-shows when his team needs him most.
McDermott puts up three points in the first half of a round of 32 NCAA tournament game. Three points. He only takes four shots. There are cheerleaders who have a bigger impact on games.
Baylor coach Scott Drew's game plan is masterful. Drew tweaks the zone he's only fallen in love with this season just for McDermott and Creighton, concentrating on shutting off the 3-pointers the Bluejays have lived on and funneling McDermott into the middle of the zone — right where the 7-foot-1 Isaiah Austin awaits. It's a change that McDermott admits Creighton never expected — one it didn't spend any time preparing for in the lead up to this Sunday night game.
Then again, Drew and the Bears have become masters of the change-up. This is a team that stumbled out to a 2-8 Big 12 start, one left for dead by all the national commentators. Well, Baylor's (26-11) ripped off a 12-2 run since and looks like as good of a bet as anyone to end up in the Final Four in Arlington. No team's been more dominant than Baylor in the NCAA tournament so far.
The Bears won their two games in San Antonio by a combined 44 points. And they're not blowing out Cinderellas. This sixth seed's taken out Big Ten and Big East foes — with frightening ease.
"When we're 2-8, we were only halfway through conference play," Baylor senior guard Brady Heslip says. "Coach emphasized we just need to rely on God for everything. All the situations he puts us through is for a reason."
Okay, it's doubtful God intervened in this college basketball game. Creighton also happens to be a religious school. And God probably has bigger things to worry about. Like the Kentucky-Wichita State game.
Still, there's no denying the self belief that Drew has built on this team. Baylor's playing like hellraisers, hitting Creighton with a 26-9 opening punch, essentially knocking out the Bluejays by halftime.
The Bears won their two games in San Antonio by a combined 44 points. And they're not blowing out Cinderellas.
It'd be nice to see McDermott play this bold, this fearless. Instead, Dougie McBuckets goes into a complete shell and puts the burden on his lesser talented teammates after dominating the ball all season.
It quickly becomes clear that McDermott wants no part of this fight. No part of Austin, looming there, wearing those space-age version of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar big man goggles. No part of 6-foot-9 Baylor senior forward Cory Jefferson either.
McDermott finishes with only 15 points, with six of those coming in a four-minute stretch that starts with 6:45 remaining, long after the game's been decided. By the time, he starts scoring, the Bears are already wrapping up a game that sees all five of their starters score in double figures.
"Those last five minutes or so, I wanted to cherish everything," McDermott, a 27-point-per-game scorer during the season, says. "I got a little more aggressive. Maybe I should have taken that mindset right off the [opening] tip."
McDermott looks up into the lights of a TV camera in that small, cramped locker room. It's a sad sight — a great college player coming to the slow realization that the moment's long gone.
Dougie McBuckets didn't have anything for this fight. Not with Baylor being as aggressive as McDermott should have been, shooting seven for nine from 3-point range in the first half, led by Kenny Chery and Royce O'Neal, players Creighton dared to shoot.
"Whenever you can shoot 64 percent, that's a blessing, because you're going to have good shots, but that doesn't guarantee you're making them," Drew says.
Dougie McBuckets downfall
In the end, McDermott's left squeezing onto a boatload of priceless college memories. He played major college basketball for his coach father, getting to know the man he always called Dad in ways he never had the chance to as a child.
"To be honest, just playing for my dad," McDermott says when asked for his favorite Creighton memory. "It's been amazing. Growing up he wasn't around that much just because he was always traveling, recruiting."
To his credit, coach Greg McDermott only showers Dougie McBuckets with a father's love in his lowest moment. Doug McDermott is the last Creighton starter the coach pulls from the game with 2:31 remaining— and he wraps him up in a hug after the long walk to the sideline. In the same situation, Bob Knight probably would have kicked his son Pat in the shin.
"If we were going to win, we were going to have to make shots," Greg McDermott says. "The reality of it is we didn't make shots."
Doug McDermott never even takes his best shot. He sits in that quiet, cramped locker room as that Pizza Hut takeout grows colder and colder.
Nothing hurts like March.