Mayor wants DePaul return

Updated: October 1, 2012, 5:45 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday he would like for DePaul to return to Chicago to play its men's basketball home games.

The Blue Demons have played at the Allstate Arena, which was previously called the Rosemont Horizon, in Rosemont, Ill., since 1980. The stadium is about 15 miles away from DePaul's Lincoln Park campus.

"DePaul for years has been talking about a stadium in Chicago that's better for their basketball team, better for their fans and better to be close to home," Emanuel said at a press conference at McCormick Place on Monday. "It is in our interest as a city that they choose Chicago. And so we're going to work together to look at Chicago being a home for DePaul's Blue Demons. It will be a win for DePaul and a win for the city of Chicago."

Emanuel did not elaborate on where he'd like DePaul to play its games.

According to reports, a new arena could be built for DePaul near McCormick Place or the Blue Demons could play at the United Center. DePaul has expressed interest in recent years to get its home games closer to its campus, and that is among its objectives in its 2018 strategic plan.

The school released this statement on Monday: "As noted in our strategic plan V2018, one of DePaul's goals is to seek opportunities to bring men's basketball back into the city. To that end, DePaul will consider any proposal that will help us accomplish that goal. As of now, however, nothing definitive has been forthcoming."

A basketball arena in Chicago could be more attractive to local recruits and improve student attendance. The Blue Demons' last NCAA berth was in 2004 and its last NIT appearance was in in 2007. They have gone 25-97 in the Big East since joining the conference in 2005. DePaul averaged 9,413 fans at Big East home games last season.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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