There are 356.8 miles in between Doug McDermott‘s hometown of Ames, Iowa and Chicago, but only 73.8 miles separate his hometown from Kyle Korver‘s hometown of Pella, Iowa. A home-state isn’t the only thing he shares with the former Bulls swingman, though.
McDermott attended Creighton University where he played his college ball just like Korver did. The duo are both Bluejay greats from Iowa that have led Creighton to the NCAA tournament. Their games have been deemed similar, as they have both made a name for themselves with their sharpshooting abilities. Despite that, Korver has been sure to clarify that they aren’t the same player.
“We got a similar skill set although he’s got some post game that I don’t have. We come from the same school. We’re about the same size, all that. It’s easy to say that. But he’s his own person and he’s got his own things to his game that I don’t have and he’s going to do a great job for you guys. He’s really excited to be there. He’s going to learn so much from Thibs. It’s so great.”
Tom Thibodeau isn’t the only one McDermott will be learning from, though. Differences in age and experience haven’t held back the former Bluejays from developing a good relationship. In fact, during USA Basketball’s training camp in Las Vegas, the former Bluejays even went out to dinner, where they found very appropriate food choices.
McDermott has referred to Korver as both a friend and mentor, but there will be another Iowan available to mentor him, one that will be a lot closer than Korver in Atlanta. Last month, Kirk Hinrich re-signed with the Bulls on a two-year, $5.6 million contract. however, prior to the start of free agency, Hinrich expressed his excitement on the possibility of playing alongside McDermott.
“I really would enjoy it. He’s a great player, and it’d be cool to have two Iowa guys on the same team. I enjoyed watching him in college, and I’m excited to see him become a good NBA player.”
Now, Hinrich’s officially been re-signed. McDermott has signed his rookie contract, and, with Kevin Love heading to Cleveland, there are no more worries about McDermott being a potential trade piece. Hinrich is set to finally take on the backup guard role while still remaining a valuable veteran presence, and McDermott’s already acknowledged viewing him as a role model.
“I got a fellow Iowa boy to look up to in Kirk. He’s a great veteran who will help me.”
Just like being Iowa guys wasn’t the only thing that tied McDermott to Korver, McDermott and Hinrich are more similar than one may think.
For one, they are both alumni of the Martin Brothers Legacy AAU basketball program, and they are both coach’s sons. McDermott played for his father Greg during his four years at Creighton while Hinrich played for his father Jim throughout his four-year varsity career at West High School in Sioux City, Iowa.
They have both also experienced a Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 4A state championship. In 1999, Hinrich led the West Wolverines to a state championship his senior year. In the latter half of his high school career, McDermott, along with current Golden State Warrior Harrison Barnes, won consecutive state championships in 2009 and 2010. The similarities don’t end there, though, as the two of them also could have been former Iowa State Cyclones.
Prior to being Creighton men’s basketball’s head coach, Greg McDermott was the head coach of the men’s basketball team at Iowa State. Despite that, the only way Doug would be on the team there would be as a walk-on. Hinrich, on the other hand, verbally committed to play at Iowa State the summer after his sophomore year. But once Tim Floyd — Iowa State’s head coach at the time— became head coach of the Bulls, the Cyclones lost the eventual Kansas Jayhawk. There is, however, another Iowa-native who both played for the Bulls and attended Iowa State: Cyclone men’s basketball’s current head coach Fred Hoiberg.
Just like McDermott, Hoiberg hails from Ames, Iowa, played ball at Ames High and won a state championship there. Hoiberg went on to play for his hometown Iowa State Cyclones before being drafted by the Indiana Pacers as the No. 23 pick in the second round of the 1995 NBA Draft. It wasn’t until Hoiberg’s fifth season that he played for the Bulls after signing with them as a free agent.
Hoiberg has experience of going against McDermott, albeit not directly. During McDermott’s freshman season and Hoiberg’s inaugural season as Iowa State head coach, the Bluejays and Cyclones played each other Nov. 21, 2010. The Sunday matinee resulted in the Cyclones barely coming out on top with a 91-88 victory.
In the loss, McDermott posted 16 points off of 8-for-13 shooting, five rebounds and two assists, and he wasn’t even his team’s leading scorer. More recently, though, McDermott was able to show his growth as a player and dominated in an unofficial scrimmage, and Hoiberg had nothing but positive words about him.
“We scrimmaged them last year and Doug was 8-for-8 in the first half for 20 points and ended up with 33,” Hoiberg said. “He just shredded us. And he showed all those moves — the up-and-unders, hitting 3s, the whole arsenal.
“He’s a heck of a player. I think the world of him. I think he’s going to be a great pro.”
Whatever similarities McDermott may have to whomever is tied to the Chicago Bulls franchise, the consensus is clear: Doug is going to be good.