Pico over at The East Coast Bias, a St. John's basketball blog, has just finished wrapping up the four-part Big East roundtable for July. You should go check out each of the pieces to see what people have to say about recruiting and personnel moves going into next season. More than half of the Big East is represented in the roundtable, which goes to show the dedication of the Big East bloggers around the league.
I personally found the fourth piece in the series absolutely fascinating. If you're just curious about what I said about DePaul then you can catch that after the jump.
Question 1: For 2010, which players will be leaving the squad? What holes will need to be filled?
DePaul is saying goodbye to a number of players. Will Walker graduated, but the rest of the Blue Demons are heading out due to other circumstances, mostly centered around the arrival of new head coach Oliver Purnell. Mac Koshwal left early in the hopes of beginning his pro career, but he went undrafted and now most likely will have to go the Developmental League route that his former classmate Dar Tucker has been trudging down. Little used 7'2" center Kene Obi is transferring to a Division II school where he will get more playing time and walk-on Nate Rogers left for UMKC.
Even before Walker and Koshwal left there were holes to fill. Now the Blue Demons are essentially going to be holding open tryouts for almost every position on the court.
Tell us about your recruiting class for next year (about 20 words per player if you need to describe them). Will they have a strong impact?
DePaul still has two open scholarships for the 2010 recruiting class, so it's possible that another name gets added to this list, but at the moment the class stands as:
- Brandon Young - A 6'3" point guard from the Washington, D.C. area.
- Cleveland Melvin - A 6'8" power forward from Massachusetts.
- Moses Morgan - A 6'5" small forward/shooting guard from Las Vegas.
Walter Pitchford, a center from Indiana, was also supposed to be on that list, but after a long saga the Blue Demons have officially released him from his National Letter of Intent. My guess is that Purnell is trying to find one more guy for this season and that DePaul will end up "banking" the other scholarship for the class of 2011. The highest rated of those prospects is Young, but point guard is the one place where the Blue Demons still have a bit of depth, so it'll be interesting to see what kind of impact each of these players makes on the court.
Question 3: How is the recruiting for 2011 going? Who is your team looking at?
With a new coach on the scene and many scholarships to fill the Blue Demons are hot on the recruiting trail already. At the beginning of the summer DePaul got a commitment from Jamie Crockett, a small forward from Chicago. Crockett plays AAU basketball for the Mac Irvin Fire, which has a number of other top recruits in the 2011 class on it. Thus DePaul is mixing it up for a number of high-profile Chicago-area talents including Mike Shaw, Phillip Greene and Macari Brooks. Shaw would be the big get as he would instantly give DePaul a highly-rated presence in the middle, which the team is sorely lacking at the moment.
Question 4: For the last 2 years, some media members have remarked that the Big East will be "down next year." Has the league been "down" recently (and define what down would mean to you) and will it be next year?
The league seems to have hit a consistent place where there is a group of teams that continually competes for titles and then a group that's the second tier of the league. The strength of any league is determined by the bottom half and right now some of the Big East's bottom half - like DePaul - aren't pulling their weight in making the Big East an elite conference. I firmly believe that the Big East has the best coaches in the country and it's coaches that make a conference tough and with Steve Lavin and Oliver Purnell joining the conference that's not going to change. Next year could actually be a good year for the Big East. Notre Dame, Marquette, Pittsburgh and St. John's should all be better next season.