Published Monday, December 23, 2013 at 10:10 pm / Updated at 8:25 pm
BASKETBALL
Shatel: Doug McDermott's No. 3 'will never be worn again,' and that's a good call

If you're getting a Creighton No. 3 jersey this Christmas, consider yourself lucky. They're about to become extinct.

Creighton Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen told me Sunday night that Doug McDermott's No. 3 will never be worn again after this season.

The school doesn't have plans to officially retire No. 3. But until that day comes, McDermott's number will be unofficially retired.

“It will never be worn again,” Rasmussen said.

McDermott would join Bob Gibson, Bob Portman, Paul Silas and Bob Harstad as former Jays who had their jersey numbers retired. The school still will consider adding Kyle Korver to the list, and whether McDermott would come after that. In the meantime, No. 3 will be unavailable. As it should.

A group of NBA scouts watched Creighton vs. Cal on Sunday night at the CenturyLink Center, including a former coach I've known for a long time. The scout, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he thought McDermott “should be a top 10 pick (in the 2014 draft) — but he probably won't be.”

The scout's opinion is that Doug is one of the top 10 players available in 2014, but he'll likely get downgraded by some teams for defense, they don't know where he'll fit on the floor or they'll fall in love with someone more athletic who didn't have McDermott's skill set. Nonetheless, my scout said McDermott “is a better rebounder than people think and his ability to create shots around the rim is outstanding. He'll definitely be able to score inside.”

The scouts had to be impressed with McDermott's fadeaway jumper — including on one leg — in Sunday's game. That shot is unstoppable.

I knew I was going to leave out something in my annual year's top sports stories or moments column. My apologies to the Omaha South and Creighton Prep soccer teams, which drew a record crowd of 8,200 for the Class A championship game at Morrison Stadium last May. That is most certainly a top 10 moment.

I love the Ed Hightower Retirement Tour. And I love that coaches and fans are applauding a veteran official on his way out, though, to do it right, they should bring back Johnny Orr or Billy Tubbs and let him give them one more technical.

UNO basketball was on national display last Friday night on the Big Ten Network and Derrin Hansen's program couldn't have looked better, unless the Mavs had beaten Minnesota. I hope UNO can continue to play these kinds of big games in the future. Big conference coaches get a little nervous about playing teams like UNO, that have more game than name.

Don't ask me what's going to happen in the NFL playoffs, but I have to think the Chiefs will be better off on the road. The Arrowhead magic seems to have worn off.

Jay Cutler or Josh McCown? I'm not sure it matters if the Bears defense is going to play like it did on Sunday night.

Local football observers may have recognized the big Colorado State Ram who forced the fumble that set up CSU's dramatic comeback win over Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl. That was senior linebacker Shaquil Barrett, the former Boys Town and UNO defensive tackle.

Barrett was an all-state defensive tackle at Boys Town (2008-09) and was defensive MVP of the 2009 Shrine Bowl. As a freshman at UNO in 2010, Barrett started at middle linebacker in 10 of 11 games, and amassed 11.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and four blocked kicks. When UNO dropped football, Barrett landed at Colorado State.

The movie “Grudge Match,” which opens on Christmas Day, could easily have been titled “Rocky vs. Raging Bull: Who ya got?”

Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro look like they're playing this one for laughs, but it raises a good question for boxing and sports movie buffs: Which one was the better boxing movie — “Rocky” or “Raging Bull?”

One was fantasy, the other based on former middleweight champ Jake LaMotta. Stallone's “Rocky” showed the commercial side of what boxing became in the 1970s. De Niro's “Jake” was a raw look at what the fight game was before it became spectacle.

That's a tough call. I'll take De Niro's performance over Stallone, but I'll give “Rocky” a judge's decision after 15.

One more and I'm outta here: A shout-out to Con Marshall, the renowned (and now retired) sports information director at Chadron State, who will be inducted into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in July. It's always great when conferences recognize the important people behind the scenes and there's been nobody bigger in northwest Nebraska than Marshall.

Contact the writer: Tom Shatel

tom.shatel@owh.com    |   402-444-1025    |  

Tom Shatel is a sports columnist who covers the city, regional and state scene.

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