In honor of tonight’s game between DePaul and our beloved Bearcats, John from Chicago College Basketball and I swapped some questions about our teams. We also swapped wives, but that’s another story for another day. I think John’s is the only DePaul blog out there, at least, it’s the only one I read. That means it’s fucking good. I answered John’s questions over there, so be sure to visit his site and read the things I said. Without more talking, here’s John. My questions are in bold, and the ones that end in question marks if you are stupid.
DePaul started off in not amazing fashion, but they’ve played well lately. What’s changed for the Blue Demons?
Slowly it seems this team and the new coaching staff is beginning to trust talent over experience and the better players are playing. Tony Freeland has been a big spark off the bench offensively and Cleveland Melvin has started playing more and making a big impact, including a Big East Rookie of the Week award.
This is the other part of the answer to the first question. It took the team a little while to figure out this system. I’m not sure that they’ve really figured it all out yet either, but at least they understand what’s going on now. Overall I’m just as excited as I was when he was hired about this team. I think he’s a great fit for the school and rebuilding project ahead and Purnell will really make a difference. Case in point – the Blue Demons are fourth in the nation in defensive turnover percentage, which is exactly what this team needs to be successful in the Big East.
Cleveland Melvin was just named the Big East rookie of the week. What can you tell us about him, and the other star freshman, Brandon Young?
Melvin and Young are both from the Baltimore / Washington, D.C. corridor and both have made a big impact this season. Young won a Rookie of the Week award earlier this season. Melvin is a long, athletic wing that has a ton of physical gifts but is very raw. He’s got confidence offensively though and he makes the press run better. Young looks like he’s going to be a star. He’s shooting 45.8 percent from three-point range and averaging 3.9 assists per game. As teams have attempted to take away his offensive game he’s gotten more and more players involved culminating in a 7 assists, 1 turnover against Florida International in the Blue Demons’ last game.
Will Walker was the only player on DePaul that I thought could score. Who gets it done for them this season?
Young is actually this team’s leading scorer at the moment at 13.4 points per game. Sophomore Tony Freeland has really come on and has a knack for drawing fouls. He’s scoring 11.8 points per game. Still, this is a team that has to get into transition to score. The Blue Demons aren’t going to beat you by standing around in the half court.
How are you feeling about the Big East slate for DePaul? Do you think the Blue Demons can get more than 1 win this season? Do you think they will be competitive?
Purnell’s system is a tough one to prepare for and it’s going to surprise a few teams. I think DePaul is going to find at least two wins in conference play, which would double their output from the past two seasons. The press is a high variance system, so DePaul’s results are going to be wildly different from one game to the next so it’s going to 1) Be tough to tell if this team is improving and 2) Hard to tell if they’re being competitive. Still I think it’ll be an interesting conference season.
Bonus question: How good does it feel to see a team who can make free throws?
DePaul was the worst team in the conference last season at shooting free throws and all of a sudden they’re 104th. Freeland credits assistant coach Dr. Ron Bradley with improving his stroke. Whatever it is, it’s working and thank goodness.
Big ups to John. Read his blog and love his blog. Get ready for more DePaul talk with a preview later today, and get ready for Big East basketball baby, ain’t nothing like it.