Monday, September 23, 2013

Get To Know The New Big East: DePaul

DePaul Blue Demons, 11-21 (2-16)

Head Coach:  Oliver Purnell - Purnell enters his 4th season as head coach of the Blue Demons.  When he was hired, it was viewed by some as a bit of a head-scratcher.  He had success at Old Dominion, Dayton and Clemson prior to taking the DePaul job but locals thought they might get someone that could connect with Chicago recruits.  Depending on what happens in this current recruiting cycle (DePaul is in on a package deal for two of Chicago's top HS players) and on the court, Purnell needs something good to happen.

NCAA History:

Final Fours: 2, 1943 & 1979
Elite 8's:  3
Sweet 16's:  10, none since 1987 and no NCAA appearance since 2004

DePaul was where the first great big man of basketball played, George Mikan.  DePaul was coached for decades by the legendary Ray Meyer.  Meyer took the Blue Demons to the Final Four in 1979 lead by Mark Aguirre. His son Joey Meyer had some success but recent history hasn't been so kind to DePaul.  A program once great, looks to recapture past glory.

2013-14 Glance:  You'd like to think things can only get better but most pundits are picking DePaul to finish last in the new Big East.  The top two players returning are SR. F, Cleveland Melvin who averaged 8 boards per game and SR. G Brandon Young.  Young averaged 16.7 ppg and 4.7 assists per game.  Purnell is looking for more contributions from JR. G's, Charles McKinney and Jamee Crockett.

The Newcomers:  There is a fair amount of turnover on theroster.  FROSH G's RJ Carrington and Billy Garrett, Jr. are expected to contribute immediately along with big men Tommy Hamilton, Jr. and Forrest Robinson.  DePaul also adds JUCO transfer big man Greg Sequele and Purdue grad transfer, Sandi Marcius.  Marcius provides depth.

There's some interesting pieces on this team.  Can Purnell piece it together and take a step forward?  Best case scenario for DePaul appears to be a NIT bid and that seems generous.  DePaul hasn't won more than 12 games in the last 5 years.  Off-court happenings are brighter.  As I mentioned earlier, if Purnell can add Cliff Alexander and JaQuan Lyle, it all but assures he'll be back next year.  Chicago also appears to be going forward with a new arena for the Blue Demons that is quite spectacular looking.  Given the mausoleum they play in now, it would be a massive upgrade.  It is designed to hold 10,000 fans but to get them, DePaul needs to become relavent again in Chicago.

DePaul Basketball Blogs:

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