September 1st, 2006
Basketball Preview: DePaul
Demon fans were understandably disappointed about not making the Big East
Tournament last year. They wonít miss it again this year, primarily because
they lost only Marlon Brumfield, who averaged 3.7 ppg and 4.7 rpg in 22.2
mpg, and Rashad Woods, who played a total of 26 minutes all year and has
since transferred. Everyone else returns.
Sammy Mejia, though talented, has been plagued by inconsistency
throughout his career. He can look like an all-conference player one game
and then virtually disappear the next. He's played both guard spots, but
he's more of a natural two guard than a pure point guard. Mejia averaged
15.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, and 2.5 apg and shot 48% from the field. However, he hit
only 29% of his trey attempts. Teams can play off of him and dare him to
beat them from the outside. It's a pretty good gamble.
The surprise player last year was Draelon Burns. He was actually the
Demons' most prolific scorer as he averaged 11.6 ppg in only 23.2 mpg.
However, like Mejia, he shot only 29% from behind the arc. He displayed a
tendency to force shots early in the shot clock. He needs to become more
patient and use better judgment on when to shoot.
Cliff Clinkscales, who is a true point guard, is neither a shooter nor a
scorer. He averaged only 3.2 ppg in 19.4 mpg, but he did average 2.5 apg.
He's very quick and can handle the ball. When he's at point, Mejia often
slides to a wing.
Another perimeter player, Jabari Currie, looked terrific at times last
year but also appeared overmatched at other times. Still, he averaged 22.2
mpg and contributed 5.1 ppg and 2.8 apg. Heís an average shooter as his
overall field goal percentage of 37% and his three-point percentage of 32%
Small forward Karron Clarke is the teamís best outside shooter - 50% overall
and 43% from behind the arc. His averages of 10.0 ppg and 5.2 rpg in 30.0
mpg should climb a bit since last year was his first with decent playing
time. He's the Demons' only consistent zone-buster.
Given the glut of perimeter players and dearth of interior players,
Wilson Chandler will have to play the 4 again, though his best position is
the 3. He's tall enough for the 4 (6'8"), but his lack of strength made it
difficult for him to defend physical power forwards. Word is heís bulked up
since last season, which is something he needed to do. Chandler is at his
best attacking the hoop and putting up a variety of floaters, short jumpers,
and bank shots. Still, he shot only 44% from the field - relatively low for
a 4 - primarily because he sometimes tried to do too much on his own and
forced the issue. He needs to become more patient without losing his
aggressiveness. If he does, he has the potential to raise his scoring
average from 10.6 ppg to 15-16 ppg.
Freshman point guard Will Walker was ranked in the Top 100 by four of
the five major publications (#81 by Scout, #84 by HoopScoop, #93 by
Hoopmasters, and #95 by Rivals). He has a respectable perimeter shot, which
the Demons could certainly use, and excellent quickness. However, it's hard
to see him getting major playing time since all four guards return. He may
take some minutes away from Clinkscales and/or Currie, and possibly even
Mejia, but Burns will probably get more playing time this year. Still, if
Walker can move ahead of even one of the four guards on the depth chart, the
Demonsí backcourt will be stronger.
The most crucial addition could have been Keith Butler, a seven-footer who
transferred from Temple. Coming out of high school, he was a Top 100 recruit
(#66 on RSCI in 2002), but his career at Temple, for the most part, never
lived up to the lofty expectations that accompany such a ranking. However,
Butler is currently not listed on the teamís official roster as he was
indefinitely suspended earlier this summer by coach Jerry Wainwright for
There is no other proven 5 for the Demons, except for Wesley Green, who
has yet to live up to his RSCI ranking of #73 for the Class of 2003. De
Paul probably doesn't need a lot of scoring from the 5, but it does need
rebounding and interior defense - someone to match up with the more talented
centers in the conference. If Green canít fill the void in the middle,
Wainwright will have to rely on career reserve Lorenzo Thompson, who
averaged 0.9 ppg and shot only 32% from the field.
The Demons should be better than last year and make the conference
tournament as well as the NIT. They have talent, but it's concentrated on
the perimeter. De Paul should edge out Providence for ninth in the
conference and could grab the eighth spot with some breaks. Itís hard to
see the Demons finishing any higher because of their lack of a proven center
and their lack of consistent three-point shooting.
Predicted Finish: 9 of 16
16th - South Florida
Ľ Eric Silver's
Big East Breakdown Ľ
14th - Seton Hall