McDermott, Korver light up the CenturyLink Center in return to Omaha

McDermott, Korver light up the CenturyLink Center in return to Omaha
Posted at 10:44 PM, Oct 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-20 23:47:13-04

Tonight is a special evening. Not just for fans attending the NBA exhibition game between the Bulls and the Hawks, but for former Creighton basketball stand-outs Kyle Korver and Doug McDermott.

For McDermott, this is the first time he's been back inside the CenturyLink Center since his senior night as a Bluejay. 

"It's my first time back in awhile," McDermott said. "Sleeping in the hotel last night just didn't feel right, but it was just really exciting waking up this morning and pulling up to this arena."

For Korver, the memories of being a Bluejay are sure to flood his mind, but those memories might be slightly different than those of McDermott.

Korver never played at the CenturyLink Center as a member of the Creighton basketball team. The Bluejays were housed at the Civic Auditorium until after 2003, Korver's last season at Creighton. Either way, playing basketball in front of the Creighton faithful in the city he spent his college career is something meaningful for Korver.

"Looking up during layup lines and seeing familiar faces...obviously being back in Omaha is always special," Korver said. 

The CenturyLink center was a packed house as it officially sold out the day before the game. As the game was underway, it was clear who the fans came to see.

McDermott checked into the game about five minutes in and the crowd went wild. The surreal moment of the night was early in the game when McDermott got the ball with Korver guarding him, put his back to the basket and did the post-move shimmy that all Creighton fans were so accustomed to seeing and sunk the shot for his first points of the night. At that moment, it almost felt like he was playing Seton Hall in February. 

"I knew it was coming the whole time too," Korver said. "I was like 'this dude's going to post me up on the elbow and Dirk (Nowitzki) fade away on me. Then he did it, and he made it and I just kind of shook my head. Obviously I've watched Doug do that, it feels like hundreds of times. He's got that move down."

"He kind of hit me with what I did in college and I kind of hit him with what I did in college," McDermott said. "That was fun on my first's not very fun chasing (Korver) around screens all day, but they're a great team and we're trying to do some of the stuff they are.

McDermott did not have the best shooting night of his career as he made just five of his 15 field goals. The Bulls shot just 30-percent as a team from the field. McDermott joked that the rims might have had something to do with it.

"Everyone was complaining in the locker room," McDermott said. He then asked how many points he had in the game (15), and said "I should have had about 25. I missed like four layups."

Not only was this a big night for Korver and McDermott, but for Creighton athletics as a whole. Tonight served as a celebration of Creighton basketball's ability to produce athletes at the next level. Korver said he is proud of how far Creighton has gone since he attended back in 2003.

"There were a lot more faces here than when I was here which is awesome to see," Korver said. "Just watching how Creighton has grown and how the fan base has grown, it's just really awesome to see."

McDermott and the Bulls open up the regular season October 27 against the Boston Celtics at the United Center in Chicago at 8:00 p.m. That game will be broadcasted on TNT.

Korver and the Hawks start their 82-game grind in Atlanta Oct. 27 against the Washington Wizards.


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Twitter: @TylerMartinOSI