Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
Another college hoops season, another year where the DePaul Blue Demons are picked to finish in the cellar of the Big East. Oliver Purnell was hoping the resurrection of the program would have been accelerated from where it now is entering year three. Instead, DePaul has still yet to show any true growth from a team that has won just five conference games in the past four years.
DEPAUL BLUE DEMONS
Last Season: 16th, 3-15 in Big East, 12-19 overall
Predicted Big East Finish: 16th
Projected Depth Chart
C: Darrell Robertson (So)
PF: Cleveland Melvin (Jr)/Donnovan Kirk (Jr)/Montray Clemons (Fr)
SF: Moses Morgan (Jr)/DeJuan Marrero (Fr)/Jodan Price (Fr)
SG: Jamee Crockett (So)/Charles McKinney (So)/Durrell McDonald (Fr)
PG: Brandon Young (Jr)/Worel Clahar (Sr)
Gone: C-Krys Faber, G-Jeremiah Kelly, F-Tony Freeland (transfer-Long Beach State)
Purnell has done a quality job of bringing in quality young talent. However, that group has yet to truly mesh as a unit. Cleveland Melvin has been the team’s best player since arriving in Chicago two summers ago. He is a versatile, athletic forward but tends to force the issue too much on the offensive end.
Point guard Brandon Young has been the number two option the past couple of seasons. He has improved his ability as a distributor and is at his best off the bounce but isn’t a terrific outside shooter. Likely to join Melvin and Young in the starting five are Moses Morgan and Jamee Crockett. Both guys are versatile on the wing but provide the outside shooting ability that Melvin and Young don’t possess.
What is really going to hurt this Blue Demon team is their lack of size inside. Darrell Robertson is their only true center and he averaged less than a point and just 1.4 rebounds per game as a freshman. Without any true depth inside, Purnell will be forced to play a smaller, more athletic line-up with either Melvin, Donnovan Kirk, or Montray Clemons playing the five. A Miami transfer last season, Kirk led the team in shot blocks while Clemons missed his entire freshman campaign due to a ruptured patella tendon in his left knee.
Worel Clahar and Charles McKinney figure to be key contributors off the bench at guard. Clahar is extremely quick and a pesky on-the-ball defender while McKinney is a physical guard but not a great outside shooter. Three freshmen will also try to work themselves into the rotation. DeJuan Marrero is athletic and a big time rebounder while the lengthy Jordan Price can stroke it from deep. Durrell McDonald is a combo guard who is most effective using his athleticism off the bounce but doesn’t figure to be a rotation player right away.
While DePaul has some talented scorers, they were horrific on the defensive end allowing more points last season than any other major conference school. Without a true rim protector on the inside, defense will likely be an Achilles Heel once again.
Player to Watch: Cleveland Melvin
You can’t help but wonder if the B-More native regrets reneging on his original verbal commitment to UConn and ending up being Purnell’s first recruit at DePaul. While he has been the face of the program the past two seasons, his ability often goes overlooked since the Demons have been the laughing stock of the Big East. If he can improve his outside shot, Melvin might be NBA-bound after this season especially if DePaul doesn’t show much growth as a team.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/20 vs. Wichita State (Cancun Challenge)
11/21 vs. Iowa/Western Kentucky (Cancun Challenge)
11/30 at Auburn (Big East/SEC Challenge)
12/12 at Arizona State
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)