The only player in college basketball last season to average over 9 rebounds and 5 assists per game (the next closest actually was Dominic McGuire with 9.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists), it would be safe to say that Geoff McDermott can already be considered one of the most unique players in the NCAA. A former high school quarterback, standing 6-8, McDermott probably stands out on first glance more for what he isnt than for what he is.
An average athlete at best, McDermott is the type of player who will always need to be one step ahead of the crowd mentally in order to separate himself. And thats exactly what he is. Blessed with great hands, outstanding timing, superb toughness, and an excellent feel for the gameMcDermott outsmarts quicker, more explosive players on a regular basis simply by seeing and reacting to things before others are able to. He uses his body exceptionally well both in the post and when slashing to the basket, keeping his opponent off balance with his old school style of play, for example with shot-fakes, bank shot-runners or by leading with his shoulder on a foray into the paint. Its not rare to see him anticipate a steal or offensive rebound right before they happen by tapping a ball to himself and stealing a possession in the process.
McDermott has shooting range that extends out to the 3-point line, hitting 36% of his shots on a limited amount of attempts. Its a flat-footed, power-forward style jumper, complete with a slow, deliberate release. His first step is mediocre at best, and its not rare to see him getting his shot blocked at the rim because of his lack of explosiveness in traffic. All in all, McDermott is a pretty limited scoring threat as his 9 points per game averages would indicate. The fact that he only shoots 54% from the free throw line doesnt help matters much either obviously.
Where McDermotts true stripes as a former quarterback come out are in his passing skills--easily the best part of his game. When he wasnt acting as a full-time point guard (bringing the ball up the floor and all), Providence liked to get him the ball in the high post, where he could either find slashing cutters with a nifty bounce pass, or lob a touchdown-style throw deep into the end-zone, usually into the outstretched arms of his top wide receiver Herbert Hill. Continuing with the football theme, we also found an interesting pick and roll play in Providences offense, where McDermott takes a block/screen and moves his way into the paint before throwing an option style lateral sideways into Hills hands for an easy layup, or backwards for a mid-range jumper.
Looking back at their in-bounds plays, there was never any doubt regarding who would be responsible for getting the ball in play. Having a 6-8 point-forward with court vision like his is a great asset to have obviously, and he would reward them regularly with an easy basket on a set play. His mind works incredibly fast, as hed often remind us with a beautiful one-time touch pass. Hed also help Providence break a full-court press calmly, as well as provide an occasional spectacular full-court outlet pass after a rebound, or just a fundamental post-entry pass, his specialty.
So where does all this leave him as a draft prospect? Thats a great question, and the answer depends entirely on who you are talking to. Some would say hes the next Spencer Nelson, the next Anthony Mason, or the next Ryan Gomes. McDermott lacks some height at the power forward position, and is probably not quick enough laterally to guard NBA small forwards. Becoming a lights out shooter from behind the arc is probably going to be a necessity for him to be able to warrant playing time at the next level. Putting him next to a dominant big man who demands double-teams could be one solution, as his post-entry passing is already a skill that few NBA power forwards have. Hell have to fall into the right situation for sure, but its not out of the question that he makes it. You never want to rule out players who show such an outstanding understanding of the game, especially one who is only going into his junior year.