Today marked the victory parade and celebration rally for the Chicago Sky, who achieved their first ever WNBA title on Sunday, with an 80-74 victory over Phoenix. Without a doubt, they are the much more successful of the two main tenants at Wintrust Arena.
The other main tenant, DePaul Blue Demons Men’s Basketball, has a long long long way to try and catch up to the Chicago Sky. They haven’t reached the NCAA Tournament in 17 years. The next man up to try and turn the DPU program around is Tony Stubblefield, who will begin his first season at the helm in just a couple weeks.
One More For History: The @chicagosky’s first @WNBA Championship rally at @Millennium_Park on Tuesday afternoon as the confetti flies for the city’s first pro sports championship since 2016. @WGNNews pic.twitter.com/7YJE9wCudV
— Larry Hawley (@HawleySports) October 19, 2021
We caught up to him at the Chicago College Basketball tip-off luncheon, and during our exclusive conversation, we discussed the historical season that the Chicago Sky were in the midst of finishing up.
“They’re very very good, the WNBA is a great brand of basketball,” said Stubblefield, who has attended approximately seven or eight Sky home games this (now past) season.
A lot of people out here for the #skytown parade! pic.twitter.com/xUrSzVCT3t
— Gavin Good (@itsallG_O_O_D) October 19, 2021
“The ladies are very talented, the Sky are obviously having a great year, and I’m just really excited that they’re playing at Wintrust and we’re sharing a facility with them. Just hoping they can pull it off and they can win a championship.”
(Obviously, this interview was conducted before the title clinching victory)
It is thought, at least by some in local sports media circles that a rising tide could lift all boats. And by that I mean local basketball success can be contagious from one team to the next. Stubblefield has made no secret of his plans to recruit Chicago very hard.
Getting top talent to stay home is one of his top priorities.
“The city of Chicago has had great players, produces great players, great coaching at high school and AAU programs, really great players in the suburbs and the state of Illinois,” Stubblefield said.
“So it’s important to try and keep those young men at home and trying to recruit them hard, get it on them at an early age- this is an area that we’re trying to cover extremely well, and do a good job.”
DePaul has their one and only exhibition at home on Nov. 4 against something called Montevallo. The actual season gets going Nov. 10 against Coppin State. The first real test will come Nov. 18 against Rutgers in the Gavitt Tipoff Games.
The league opener is Dec. 20 at home against Creighton.
The Chicago Sky won the 2021 WNBA Finals series over the Phoenix Mercury 3-1.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune.
He co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Leave a Reply