Creighton’s Doug McDermott was named Associated Press first-team All-American this week. And he had a lot of help.
There were his coaches, who got him to put on more weight — and strength — last summer, then built a scheme around getting Doug the ball in the low block. Genius, right? Yes, put your best players in position to make the biggest difference.
There were his teammates, who passed him the ball and took some heat off by becoming a dangerous team from the perimeter. And those teammates then took all the Doug hype in stride, and surrounded their star with a supportive atmosphere.
Then there was Rob Anderson, Doug’s friendly neighborhood sports information director.
Anderson won’t get any credit for this accomplishment. But I’ll say he deserves some. Behind every star is an SID who gets the word out and gets it to the right people.
When that star plays in the Missouri Valley Conference, and has infrequent appearances on national TV, the SID becomes even more important.
Anderson has a reputation as one of the top sports info guys around. His game notes, stats and information are terrific. He knows a good angle when he sees one and he’ll pass it on. He’s just doing his job. He does it well.
When a superstar emerged in the gym upstairs, Anderson already knew what to do.
The sports info game, especially at the mid-major level, is made easier these days with the internet, and all the highlights you can email the top national writers. Then remind them with a blast on Twitter. More games are on TV now, too.
Rob’s job was also made easier because he has a media-friendly head coach and staff. Greg McDermott is a popular guy with the media, local and national. He’ll give you time, most anytime. And give you stuff you can use. When the story is about his son, there’s an endless stream of gems that will make any national scribe or TV guy look good.
Mac creates an environment that is an open door for national media, the people who vote on All-American things, and that’s especially important at CU. National guys are not trying to find the mid-major stories. They aren’t avoiding them. But they naturally look for the Antony Davises of the world. When they do show up here, it’s always a good idea not to make their job harder.
Example: When Jeff Goodman of cbssports.com came to Omaha to do a piece on Doug, Goodman showed up at practice and got as much time as he wanted with Doug, Grant Gibbs and coach Mac. He sat at press row and watched practice and talked to the players. Later, coach Mac took Goodman to dinner. That’s how you play the game.
Meanwhile, Anderson was there with his stats and videos and stories to share. A lot of national media types, including Sports Illustrated, found their way to Omaha to do the hot story on Doug. When they got here, Creighton threw out the welcome mat and it started with Rob.
And when it was announced earlier this week that Doug had made the All-America team, Anderson went on Twitter to thank the national scribes, by name, for their attention. They notice that stuff.
These are small things. And Anderson was just doing his job. Doug and his teammates did all the heavy lifting. But behind every All-American is usually a good sports info man who doesn’t want any credit. The satisfaction of the assist is enough. Creighton was a team of many assists this year. Anderson’s was as big as any of them.