Former ESPN Analyst Steve Lavin Sizes Up DePaul (Exclusive)

Former ESPN Analyst Steve Lavin Sizes Up DePaul (Exclusive)

Steve Lavin is well known as a college basketball analyst, having served in that role for seven years with ESPN in between his two head coaching gigs. Lav led UCLA to a 145-78, 80-46 in conference with an Elite 8 appearance in 1997 and five sweet 16 appearances. Now Steve Lavin in his fourth season at St. John’s, who fell to Providence, 84-83, in double-overtime on Thursday night to drop their fifth-straight game and move to 0-5 in Big East play.

The Red Storm did beat Ivy League weakling Dartmouth on Saturday to end their losing streak. The star power of Steve Lavin is showing up in the ticket sales numbers as Carnesecca Arena saw a 38% increase in attendance, the fourth largest in the nation. But they're winless in conference play. They lost to the Blue Demons on Tuesday night at All State Arena.

It was there where I had an exclusive with Steve Lavin and asked him about the improvement DPU has shown this season.

"I think now there's maturity of the older players Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin, and then the new additions. So between the new kids and the veterans they now have a bigger margin for error, versus in other years they had a razor thin margin for error."

"It's still tough in this league as the scores indicate but the experience of the older players and the new players that have come in, they're more competitive as a result," Steve Lavin said.

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Freshman guard Billy Garrett Jr. has been a huge part of the improvement we’ve seen in DePaul Blue Demons basketball this season. They’re 2-4 in the Big East, and if you look at how they’ve been competitive in every league game this year, they might be around .500 in conference play when it’s all said and done.

Sure, that’s not the Final Four or anything, but you have to remember what DePaul has been in the Oliver Purnell era. His best year in the Big East was 3-15, so he’s obviously poised to finish much better than that in 2014. And star frosh Billy Garrett Jr. is a big reason why. DePaul takes on conference rival Xavier in a MLK Day matinee.

Coach Lav was part of a really high profile college hoops broadcast team during his time at the World Wide Leader. Erin Andrews did sidelines and Brent Musburger was his broadcast partner. So Steve Lavin is a rock star in the sport of college basketball. His wife, Mary Ann Jarou is a star in her own right as well. The 36 year old actress/model has scored roles in "Entourage," "The King of Queens" and "General Hospital."

Steve Lavin with wife Mary

Lav's wife is quite a bit younger, she was born in the same exact year as myself, actually. And as you can see from the picture above, and the intro pic, she's the finest recruit that Steve Lavin ever landed. Yes, I just made the same exact joke that every college coach in the history of college sports has ever made about his own wife. "As you can see from my wife, I know how to recruit" is something every coach has says publicly at least once a year.

I also asked Lavin if there's anything positive that can be taken away from his team's bad start.

“Good question. I think in each game, there’s different aspects that you look at that you’re disappointed with, but there’s positives that emerge, I think Rysheed Jordan, his gradual maturation, we’re seeing longer stretches of play where he shows the type of player that he’s capable of being. That’s a plus. I thought Gift (Graduate forward God’sGift Achiuwa, yes that name is awesome) was tremendous,” Steve Lavin responded.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments discussing:  Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Bears and Bulls on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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