Thursday, January 21, 2010

5 Questions for DePaul

John from Chicago College Basketball has been kind enough to split a "Five Questions" segment with this blog in preparation for the DePaul-ND game on Saturday. Check out his site to see my answers to his questions in the coming days.

His answers to my questions about DePaul:

1. Obviously Jerry Wainwright's dismissal has been expected for some time, but what is the feeling around the program of his being fired midway through this season? Has Tracy Webster had any demonstrable effect on the team?

Everyone felt like a change was needed, most as far back as midway through last season. Wainwright was obviously not having an impact on the players anymore. There was a good start to the season, but ugly losses to Florida-Gulf Coast and American (at home), really got people up in arms. Webster has taken over the reigns of the program and done the best he can in a difficult situation. The Blue Demons still don't have the talent to consistently compete on the level of most Big East teams, but they're making up for it with effort. Webster has played different players and lineups than Wainwright, and he seems to be getting results. The defense has tightened back up and the victory over Marquette was a huge bonus for the program.

2. Who are a few candidates you would like to see DePaul go after to fill the permanent head coaching position?

The name that keeps popping up is Chris Lowery from Southern Illinois, but I'm a little hesitant considering his team's performance lately. One of the other names I like is Detroit's Ray McCallum. A longer discussion of the matter is here ( When Wainwright was fired Jean Lenti Ponsetto said that DePaul would pay for a top-level coach. If that's the case, then maybe the Blue Demons could draw every DePaul fan's dream, Brian Gregory, away from Dayton. Of course the Blue Demons have tried twice before to no avail, so it's probably going to be someone else.

3. After knocking off Marquette, the Blue Demons have one Big East win since 2008. What went right against the Golden Eagles after so much recent futility?

The Blue Demons aren't going to ever be a good offensive team. They scored 51 points on 53 possessions against Marquette, but the key was holding the Golden Eagles to 50 points, including just 18 in the second half. DePaul really clamped down on Lazar Hayward in the second half. He didn't score a point after totaling 14 in the first 20 minutes. Also, Will Walker played one of his best games of the season. He was aggressive, made shots and seemed to give the team great energy. The Blue Demons got out and guarded the perimeter as Marquette only attempted 12 threes and made just 4. Finally, Marquette choked a bit down the stretch. Still, it was a big win for DePaul.

4. Will Walker has carried the team this year, especially in the absence of Mac Koshwal. If any other DePaul player could surprise Saturday and make a big impact Saturday, who will it be?

Will Walker has been the guy, but I think Jeremiah Kelly might be the player that steps up in this one. Kelly is a good shooter when he can get open looks from the perimeter and in the few Notre Dame games I've seen thus far this season it appears like that happens quite a bit. Kelly is probably the best shooter on the team after Walker and I think he'll take advantage of the open space. Also, the hero from Wednesday, Mike Stovall, can get hot if given the opportunity. After his two clutch shots he'll certainly come in with a bunch of confidence.

5. Without Koshwal, how will the Blue Demons offset the inside scoring and rebounding ability of Luke Harangody.

What I said above about DePaul's ability to contain Lazar Hayward in the second half makes me optimistic that the Blue Demons can at least slow down Harangody. DePaul still has some big bodies in Krys Faber, Eric Wallace and Devin Hill. All three played a lot of minutes against Marquette as Tracy Webster went with a bigger lineup for most of the game. Each of them brings something different to the table. I'd expect to see Wallace trying to use his athleticism to both Harangody on the defensive end.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are some things about Mike Brey that I will never understand. Today's article in the SBT about Martin coming back to play this year is one of them. First of all, the chance of Martin coming back and playing this year is 0, so why is Brey so wistfully talking about this in the paper for everyone - including players that actually will be lacing them up - to see? Those kind of comments are just what is needed coming down the stretch of BE play. Confidence levels must soar when players open the paper and read about how great it would be to have Scott Martin back at the end of the year. Never mind the reconstructive knee surgery less than 6 months ago, the fact that he hasn't played in 2 seasons and the fact that he currently has been told by doctors not to jump yet. He surely is better than anything we have. Brey has fallen for the oldest trick in the book. An opposing coach, in this case Boeheim, comes to your place, whips you, and then makes excuses for the losing coach. Boeheim may as well pat Brey on the head and give him some milk and cookies. To his credit, Martin was gracious enough to credit the players who are playing - maybe Brey could learn something from him.