PENDLETON — These are brave new basketball waters for Sean McDermott. Fortunately, the Pendleton Heights rising junior has no shortage of helpful navigators.
McDermott’s mother, Kim, played at Indiana State. Uncle Linc Darner played at Purdue, and another uncle, Tige, played at Appalachian State.
Grandfather Alan Darner won two state titles as a head coach at Pike after a highly successful run at Highland.
So the pressure of playing the same position as Butler’s Kellen Dunham this winter and landing on the radar screens of elite college basketball recruiters isn’t likely to overwhelm the soft-spoken sweet shooter.
“In the house, to have somebody who played college basketball and somebody who made it to the state finals,” McDermott said, referencing his mother’s run as a player with the Scots, “it’s a big help.”
Linc Darner, now the head coach at NCAA Div. II Florida Southern, was able to attend a couple of his nephew’s games in person last week at the Adidas Invitational in Fishers. He was not alone.
McDermott competed in the event with his AAU team, Speice Indy Heat, and walked away from the tournament with offers from Illinois State and New Orleans.
Butler assistant coach Terry Johnson, an Anderson High School graduate, had been in contact with McDermott before then-head coach Brad Stevens left for the Boston Celtics.
And McDermott hopes the Bulldogs’ interest will continue under new head coach Brandon Miller.
Indiana joined the pursuit a little later in the game. But McDermott has been in weekly contact with assistant coach Tim Buckley ever since the Hoosiers came on board.
“It’s different because this is my first year really being recruited,” he said of the sudden influx of attention. “It’s fun right now, but I’m just focused on getting better.”