LISLE – After making a name for himself while playing for his dad at Creighton, Doug McDermott was traded to the Chicago Bulls on draft night after being selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 11th overall pick.
McDermott recently completed his first summer league with the Bulls and spent some time with the USA Select Team along with Bulls teammate Jimmy Butler. McDermott visited the Bulls/Sox Academy on Aug. 13 for a Chicago Bulls All-Day Player Camp, where he signed autographs for young fans and spoke with members of the media, including Suburban Life sports reporter Dan Santaromita.
What was your experience like with the Select Team and getting a chance to be around [Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau]?
McDermott: It was really cool just to get a chance to be around them. Obviously I can learn a lot from them, and I’m going to have a chance to do that coming up here pretty soon.
How was Derrick Rose doing?
McDermott: He was real focused. He wanted to get out there and show what he can do, and he did. He was really good to meet beforehand.
How good was it to see him practicing and playing?
McDermott: It’s been great. We knew it was coming the whole time because we saw it leading up to summer league, so it wasn’t a big surprise to us when he was out there playing well for USA. It’s great to see and great for us as teammates to see that.
Is everything going how you expected for you this summer?
McDermott: I always expect to do well. I put in a lot of work. As long as I keep doing that I expect good things to happen. I’m sure there will be some bumps here and there, but that’s just the way basketball is. I’m just looking forward to contributing to a really good team.
Was is hard to hear your name in trade rumors?
McDermott: I didn’t follow it too much. I looked at it as I’m an NBA player either way so you can’t complain. I’m just glad I’m here. I feel that they really like me here. I feel like I’m wanted and I want to help out this team.
Has playing with the Select Team the past two years helped you?
McDermott: It really has. They’ve given me so much more confidence, just being able to play against the best players in the world going into a college season and my first NBA season. There’s not any better way to drive yourself than going against the best players in the world.
What have you been working on most in your game this summer?
McDermott: Ball handling, working on my range and, with coach Thibodeau, defense. He preaches defense, so that’s something I got to get better at and that’s something I’m looking forward to working with him.
How much do you enjoy events like [the camp] that help you learn a little bit more about your community?
McDermott: It’s great. It’s just awesome being around the kids and the fans. It shows what kind of support the city has to offer. It’s great helping out and giving kids advice because I was in their shoes one day and they’re all hoping to get into mine.
Who did you follow growing up?
McDermott: I liked the Bulls a lot. I hate to admit it, but I was a huge Reggie Miller Pacers fan, but I liked the Bulls. I’m a Midwest kid and you dream of playing for Chicago, especially watching MJ (Michael Jordan).
What’s been the biggest adjustment of becoming a pro basketball player?
McDermott: Just the lifestyle, the routines. Being able to manage your time well. You’re not scheduled to do stuff. You have to show up on your own and get it done.
Have you had a chance to step away off the basketball court?
McDermott: A little bit. Not a lot, though. I plan on doing that here in two weeks or so and take a little time off before getting ready for training camp and try to hit the golf course a little bit.
Has Thibodeau told you how he’s going to use you?
McDermott: I haven’t talked to him a whole lot about that. I think we’re still learning each other. I think we’re both comfortable with each other, which is good. I think me and Kyle Korver, the way they used him a little bit. I’m starting to watch film on him. I’m trying to pick up on things they ran for him and other shooters in the past.