DePaul Blue Demons men’s basketball- a sleeping giant or just forever doomed to toil in irrelevancy? Well, last year brought the first season under a new Athletic Director that actually means business in trying to build a winner in DeWayne Peevy, but he was still working with a Jean Lenti-Ponsetto hired head coach in Dave Leitao.
As everyone expected, Leitao was sacked and Peevy brought in his guy, in the form of Tony Stubblefield. The new head coach has learned under legends like Dana Altman and Lou Henson, so we’ll see if he can eventually (this is going to take time, for real) program build like those two men did,
Last Time Out, 2020-21 DePaul Blue Demons
It was yet another dead last in the Big East conference, not competing for the post-season DePaul Blue Demons kind of season. The only difference was it got started later, due to covid-19 ravaging the program. DePaul typically finishes in the basement even when at full strength, so for the pandemic to hit them so much harder than other programs…well, that’s just especially cruel and unusual.
Returnees: Javon Freeman-Liberty, Nick Ongenda, David Jones
Transfers: Jalen Terry (Oregon), Brandon Johnson (Minnesota), Tyon Grant-Foster (Kansas), Philmon Gebrewhit (JUCO), Yor Anei (SMU), Javan Johnson (Iowa St.)
We’ll cover Simeon grad and key frosh Ahamad Bynum in his own section in a bit.
Romeo Weems is off to the NBA while Charlie Moore, who they ran a lot of their stuff through, is also gone. Also no longer with the program is Jalen Coleman-Lands, currently with his 9th different college team, in his 27th year of eligibility; or something like that.
Circle the Date
While Rutgers probably takes a step back or two from where they were the past couple seasons, the Gavit Games contest on Nov. 18 gives the Demons an early season chance to see where they might or might not be.
Villanova will be running things in the league, yet again, and DePaul hosts them Jan 4, visits Philly Jan 25. UConn is in the league now, ICYMI and their two meetings are Jan 29 (here) and Mar 5 (there).
“Bobby Hurley has done a great job, he’s going to continue to do a great job, recruiting, and having UConn in the league only makes the Big East stronger.”
And of course, Patrick Ewing himself, and Georgetown come to town Feb 9; with the reverse fixture Feb. 24.
“It is fun, I grew up watching Patrick Ewing play, with Georgetown and then obviously his career with the Knicks,” said Stubblefield.
“To look down that sideline, and be coaching against Patrick Ewing, that will be really interesting. He’s really got that program up and running, and he’ll only continue to do great things there.”
The Blue Demons host Loyola in the Red Line Rivalry this season, which takes place on December 4.
We had an exclusive with Stubblefield at the Chicago College Basketball Media Luncheon, where we asked him what we should expect from the player who headlines a DePaul Blue Demons recruiting class ranked No. 9 nationally by 247Sports.com, 11th by Rivals.com and No. 14 by ESPN.
“Just like any freshman, there’s going to be a learning curve, there’s gonna be some ups and downs,” Stubblefield responded Bynum. He’s a talented young man.”
For more on Bynum go here.
Exclusive with DePaul Blue Demons Head Coach Tony Stubblefield, on what he learned from Dana Altman:
“Getting the program up and running, from where we were at, when we got there. Now the program has gone to a Final Four, has won six Pac-12 titles, and a great deal from an offensive stand point, a defensive standpoint, a teacher of the game.”
Stubblefield worked under Altman for 11 years.
For what he learned under Lou Henson go here.
DePaul Blue Demons Overall Expectations
A lot of people are picking them to finish last in the conference, and there is good reason for that. However, with JLP and JLP’s hires now gone from the program, there is immediate hope for the future. Hey, the other main tenet of the building, the Chicago Sky, just won their first WNBA title (we asked Stubblefield about being a part of that too).
Maybe DPU can get better simply by osmosis of that? Yeah, I know, it’s a bit of a reach to say something like that.
Still, this program has a lot of highly rated recruits coming in, so maybe in a year or two, they could at least become mediocre?
2021-22 College Basketball Season Preview Series
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”