Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Purnell lands semi-important recruit
By Eamonn Brennan
I admit it might just be local fascination on my part -- I happen to live a few blocks from DePaul's campus in Chicago -- but I find DePaul's basketball program eminently fascinating. It's a former 1980s glory days power with a pretty campus in a nice neighborhood in one of the biggest, most sports-crazed cities in the country. And it can't win.
This has a lot to do with DePaul's facilities; the basketball team plays its games in a dreary old box about 40 minutes away from its campus. But it also has a lot to do with DePaul's Big East affiliation. The school plays in a conference that draws most of its talent from the East Coast, and it's probably fair to say most East Coast players don't grow up dreaming of one day being a DePaul Blue Demon. That's the challenge for new coach Oliver Purnell -- find a way to get solid recruits thinking about the Big East to likewise think of DePaul.
Some perspective is warranted here: It's just one player, of course, and Melvin isn't a top 100 guy; he's the No. 53-ranked power forward in ESPNU's class of 2010. DePaul isn't suddenly a tournament team, or something. But it's good news for DePaul all the same. This is the type of player people assume DePaul can't recruit, a guy from the East whose other options included a Big East power and an East Coast school much closer to his hometown.