I keep finding new ways to describe how poorly the DePaul Blue Demons played last season, but this is a new low. In terms of points contributed just three DePaul basketball players were above average last season. (They were the usual suspects - Mac Koshwal (left), Will Walker and Dar Tucker.) It wasn't that the entire team was below average, it was how far below average they were as a unit.
The average Big East player contributed 114.8 points last season. Think Marquette's Dwight Burke or Pittsburgh's Gilbert Brown. By contrast, the average DePaul player contributed 88.8 points.
That's a ridiculously small number of points contributed. As a comparison, Seton Hall's freshman guard Jordan Theodore contributed 88.5 points in 2008-09. (If you're asking, "Who's he?" Here's Theodore's ESPN player page.) There's no way a team of Jordan Theodore's wouldn't come close to competing in the Big East. Are there any bright spots? What else can we learn?
Point 1. DePaul needs more elite talent. Alright, so this one's obvious. The Blue Demons need some more elite talent. By elite talent I don't mean "I wish Dar Tucker would've stayed," either. Still, only one DePaul player - Koshwal - ranked in the Top 34 in the Big East. That's the threshold of truly elite talents in the league. If the talent were evenly distributed every team would have two elite talents, but that's not the reality. Walker (ranked #55) struggled to play the role of Robin to Koshwal's Batman. Can he make the jump to an "elite level" Big East player during his senior season? That could be the difference between another 0-win season and a respectable conference showing for the Blue Demons.
Point 2. The freshman guards were exactly the same. The stat lines from Michael Bizoukas and Jeremiah Kelly in conference are below, can you guess one from the other?
- A: 26.3 FG%; 29 rebounds; 38 assists; 21 turnovers; 7 steals; 57.5 points contributed
- B: 29.7 FG%; 22 rebounds; 29 assists; 16 turnovers; 11 steals; 56.0 points contributed
Pretty indistinguishable, right? (For the record Bizoukas is A.) Both players contributed approximately the same amount of points while on the court. Bizoukas had the slight edge in points contributed per minute, but really there's almost no difference between the production DePaul got from these player's last season. They might do things in different ways, but you're getting the same production.
Point 3. Be excited for Devin Hill's defense, worry about his offense. At an athletic 6'9" Hill can be a force on the defensive end. His defensive points contributed of 32.5 points was very strong in limited minutes. Unfortunately, Hill was one of 19 Big East players (out of 193 total) who had a negative offensive points contributed score during the 2008-09 regular season. Judging from a recent Scout.com article (subscription required) Hill has worked hard to improve his offensive skills this offseason, but they had a long way to go. It'll certainly be interesting to see what impact he has on the court.