Some thoughts about DePaul vs. Northwood

DePaul hammered Division II Northwood 107-62 last night. Unfortunately I was unable to attend, but the good news is that Pico Dulce of The East Coast Bias happened to be there. He was able to jot down some notes and send them to me, for which I am very thankful. Thus using a combination of the box score and Pico's notes let's talk about three good things and three bad things from last night. (I'm not going to get to Jeremiah Kelly in this post, but thank goodness he's playing more shooting guard now.)
Three Good:
1. Energy that the team played with: From Pico - "Overall, I really loved the energy of the DePaul team. ... But they looked like a Purnell team already, it's pretty impressive."

From the box score - The hustle shows up in a number of places including 28 turnovers forced, 45 points off turnovers and 21 second-chance points. Those are all things to be very happy about.

2. The play of freshman Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young: From Pico -  On Melvin: "And while he needs some improvement, he was... great last night. I temper the enthusiasm because it's against a D-II team, and his plays were based in part off of his athleticism, but wow. He made a difference on defense in trapping and hounding ballhandlers like Devin Hill, but he made hustle plays. He was on the floor. He was blocking shots. And this guy can leap. His dunks got the crowd going. The tomahawk, the OTHER tomahawk, the one where he hung in the air for a full deep breath... and he made a jumper." On Young: "Very impressive.  Good with the ball in his hands - I remember one bad turnover (and he reacted badly, chasing down the thief and messing up the Demons' defensive position, leading to a layup, I think) - and he pushed the ball against defensive pressure. I think the team looked a little faster with him handling the ball - and Kelly wasn't bad playing off the ball.  Brandon Young finished REALLY well through contact, and generally took his shots at the rim."

From the box score: Melvin was a very impressive 9-11 from the floor. He also had one official block. The most disappointing thing was that he shot 1-4 from the free throw line and only grabbed four rebounds. Young's all-around numbers from the scrimmage stand out. He was 5-9 from the floor, shot 10 free throws (making six), and had four assists, three steals and three rebounds. 

3. The system's fit for Tony Freeland and Devin Hill: It seemed last season that Freeland and Hill didn't quite fit into Jerry Wainwright's system, but Purnell's system seems custom made for athletes like those two. From Pico - "I loved Devin Hill's agility in riding a ball handler into a trap in the backcourt. ... Tony Freeland was also active, strong down low, muscled his way through players. I thought he had more impact than the box score indicated."

From the box score - Freeland was 2-7 from the floor, but he had a team-high nine rebounds and also collected three steals. Hill was shot 6-12 and just filled up the box score. It makes sense with his length that he can be a valuable asset in Purnell's scheme.

Three Bad:
1. Free throw shooting: The team went 18-33, and while Pico didn't specifically mention it, it jumps out of the box score. If Young really is going to get to the basket effectively and Melvin is going to display his athleticism, they're going to need to hit free throws. I'm sure this will be addressed in the future.

2. Rebounding, especially defensive rebounding: From Pico - "Krys Faber is very good at using his big body to hold space, he's got good hands. I liked what he was doing and he's adjusting well to the faster pace - though I don't know that he's going to score a lot. But everyone else... well, Tony Freeland was really the best rebounder. He hustles, he's strong, but there are two much taller guys who should battle in the paint and they don't." (I assume he's talking about Melvin and Hill here, but I'm not sure.)

From the box score - The rebounding margin doesn't look good at 43-42 in favor of DePaul, but what really bothered me was the fact that Northwood grabbed 33 percent of the available offensive rebounds (15 of 45). That's a lot of second opportunities.

3. Moses Morgan's adaptation to the collegiate game: There is no doubt that Morgan can shoot the basketball. If you saw him at Blue Madness you know it. But he's having some trouble adjusting. From Pico - "I thought this in the scrimmage too - the game and he aren't in sync.  He's moving too fast, or the game's moving too fast - he can't get anything to fall.  Deep jumpers, runners, free throws, nothing.  He looks good, can handle a bit, but the shots aren't falling."

From the box score - Morgan seems to be pressing, he went 1-9 from the field, 0-4 from beyond the arc and 1-3 from the free throw line. It might just be a slump, but hopefully things will slow down for him soon.

Was anyone else there? What did you think about what you saw?

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