Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Creighton’s Marcus Zegarowski on Greg McDermott: ‘People make mistakes. That’s my guy’
By ADAM ZAGORIA
Creighton star Marcus Zegarowski became the first Bluejays player to publicly defend coach Greg McDermott in the wake of the coach’s racially insensitive comments last week.
“Obviously, the whole situation is real tough, it’s a sensitive topic,” Zegarowsi, the Big East Preseason Player of the Year, said after Creighton’s 93-73 win over Butler Saturday for which McDermott was suspended.
“But I just wanted to say that I know he made a really sensitive mistake, a really bad mistake with what he said but only I know everything that he’s done for me as a player, but more important as a human being. And he loves me, he loves everybody in that locker room and he’s shown that every single day I’ve been on this campus since June of 2018.
“That’s my coach and I love that dude. But people make mistakes. That’s my guy.”
On Tuesday, McDermott issued an apology for making a reference to a “plantation” in the locker room after his team’s 77-69 loss to Xavier on Feb. 27.
“Guys, we got to stick together,” he said he told the players. “We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can’t have anybody leave the plantation.”
It’s unclear if McDermott meant to use the word “reservation” instead of “plantation,” but that phrase is not considered politically correct, either. In a Twitter post on Tuesday, McDermott said he “immediately recognized my egregious mistake and quickly addressed my use of such insensitive words with the team.”
McDermott offered his resignation but the players reportedly did not want that.
“If they would have chosen to have me walk away, I would have walked away. But that is not what they wanted,” he said in a radio interview that aired Wednesday.
McDemott was allowed to coach the Villanova game Wednesday but the school announced Friday he had been suspended from “all team activities.” Assistant Alan Huss served as the interim coach for the Butler game, and it remains unclear if, or when, McDermott will return.
The Bluejays are the No. 2 seed in the Big East Tournament and will open play Thurdsay at Madison Square Garden against the Xavier/Butler winner at 6 p.m.
Creighton is a projected 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.