More often than not in life, you have to start from the bottom and work your way up. I experience that feeling in the broadcasting industry, and DePaul University is undoubtedly going through the same feeling as they look to return to their once-dominant form after capturing just one regular season Big East win over the last two seasons. The Blue Demons, the first team to be profiled in-depth as both the college basketball season and Big East media day draw closer, have made wholesale changes since the last time they took to the court in the Big East tournament against South Florida. Head coach Jerry Wainwright was dismissed halfway through the season and interim boss Tracy Webster was not brought back. Instead, former Dayton and Clemson head man Oliver Purnell has taken the reins in Chicago, and his first task will be to improve a front line decimated by the loss of Mac Koshwal, who decided to take his talents to the professional level; as well as to replace the outside threat and productivity vacated by shooting guard Will Walker, who graduated this past May.
Purnell inherits forward Devin Hill, now in his junior year; as well as fellow junior Jeremiah Kelly, whose long-range ability can stifle opposing defenses on any given night. Ohio State transfer Eric Wallace is also back, as well as big man Krys Faber and senior swingman Mario Stula. Baltimore native Cleveland Melvin headlines a solid group of incoming freshmen that will, if nothing else, serve to give DePaul a core of young players that Purnell and his staff can build around while recruiting for the future.
DePaul's non-conference schedule isn't what older fans of the Blue Demons were accustomed to seeing in the days of Ray Meyer and Pat Kennedy, but it does include a potential meeting early in the season with Virginia Tech, who returns guards Malcolm Delaney and Dorenzo Hudson among others. The Blue Demons will also play home-and-home series in the Big East with West Virginia, Cincinnati and USF, while being one of the first teams to travel to the new Yum! Center in Louisville when they square off against Rick Pitino's Cardinals on February 5th.