DePaul Basketball to Finally Open the Season, Fingers Crossed

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The 2020/21 DePaul basketball season opener *fingers crossed* will arrive on Dec. 23, or Festivus. We all have plenty of grievances to air with the year 2020, as we should. We’ve all accomplished feats of strength just to make it this far, and still hold it all together at this point.

If you’re reading this and you have no major health and/or financial worries, and the same holds true for your friends and family, well, that is called winning the game of life in this year of 2020. DePaul basketball has seen nine total postponements/cancelations so far, but they will open the season Wednesday against Western Illinois.

Pretty soon, we’ll see the National Basketball Association back in action too. We’ll have nba daily lineups to look at, and basketball season will be back in full swing before you know it. The Blue Demons and Leathernecks will tip-off, again as long as nothing unforeseen happens, at 8 p.m. central from Wintrust Arena. The game FS1 and WIND (560 AM).  DePaul is not the only team in division 1 men’s basketball not to play a single game this year, there are a few others, spread all across the country, but they are the only one from a high-major conference that is still 0-0.

“Obviously, we’re not going to be at our best, in terms of offensive and defensive executions,” said DePaul basketball coach Dave Leitao, “but we’ll come out with a try to win mind set.”

Leitao said that they have had about 34 to 35 practices this season, but his best guess is that only half a dozen has had everybody in the gym, “competing, growing and figuring it.” Some key Blue Demons players will be out for this one, but the ball coach could not say who specifically due to medical privacy issues.

Not only is it extremely tough to not be able to play, while almost everyone is, but this DePaul basketball team has also endured the double whammy of getting geared up to a play a game, and then having it taken away right as tip-off draws near.

Leitao who said on the press call that he likes analogies, likened it to getting your tuxedo on for the wedding, but then the bride doesn’t show up. (He reiterated that getting jilted at the altar is obviously a lot more traumatizing than missing a basketball game, but it’s just the general idea here).

“When it’s taken away from you for instances you can’t completely understand, it’s a let-down,” said Leitao.

“The coaches and players have had a let down, more than one and it does take a toll on you emotionally. If you call yourself a competitor, you’ll have to endure hardships.”

At least six of their Big East rivals will have played eight games before DePaul begins its first. St. John’s is already into double digits.

He also pointed out how tough it is for Americans to really come to grips with what is actually going on in society right now. He’s right, this is a once-in-a-century pandemic.

“There is no one here on this call, including myself, who is 100% in their normal emotional capacity,” he said while adding there is nothing any of us can do other than to get focused on that which is immediately in front of us.

“As the saying goes, bloom where you’re planted, the only thing you can do is prepare for today.”

Five of DePaul’s cancellations are conference games, which means more than likely, they will get played. When the Big East announced the Jan-March conference schedule, they built in extra days in February to fill in postponements.

Athletic Director DeWayne Peevey was also on media call today, and he said that he still hopes to get 25 games in total, for this season.

“We’re trying to add more games to the schedule, we’re undefeated, all our goals are in front of us,” he said.

“At least we exceed the 13 minimum, with a priority on our conference games. It’s a pandemic, if we could predict it, we’d solve it.”

On this his 100th day on the job, he closed the Zoom media session with some greetings of happy holidays, to go along with messages of hope and optimism.

“My hope is with the vaccine, and hopefully the numbers decreasing, and 80-85% of the games being played, hopefully it gets up to 90-95% and we can be a part of that”

i look eforward to talking to you on some of the more positive things and the reutls

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of  “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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