Big East Summer Capsules: DePaul Blue Demons

Posted by mlemaire on July 27th, 2012

While most relish the onset of Summer, college basketball junkies do not. Most of the news surrounding the sport is recruiting rumors and commitments or injuries and transfer news. In order to help keep folks up-to-date on what their teams are doing during the summer, we put together these summer capsules for each team in the conference. Next up is DePaul.

1. Cue the overreaction to a high school recruit’s Top 10 list.

Is It Possible Jabari Parker Ends Up At DePaul?

Jabari Parker, a consensus top-five recruit in the Class of 2013, recently trimmed his list of possible destinations to 10 schools and wouldn’t you know it, but the Chicago native has his hometown Blue Demons on the list. This led to a ton of absurdly premature speculation that DePaul might have a shot at landing the precocious youngster. For starters, Parker is a teenager, whose mind is subject to change at any whim, so this list, while potentially noteworthy, is hardly set in stone. Also, look at the other schools on the list, what exactly does DePaul offer a potential one-and-done player that Kentucky or Duke or North Carolina don’t? It is understood that he has a litany of connections to the Blue Demons’ program and could be swayed by the comfort of playing near to home, but let’s try to manage our expectations here Blue Demons’ fans.

2. Finding frontcourt help for Cleveland Melvin,

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Checking In On… the Big West Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 28th, 2012

David Gao is the RTC correspondent for the Big West Conference. You can also find his musings online at Zotcubed, a UC Irvine blog, or on Twitter @dvdgao.

Reader’s Take 


The Week That Was

  • Long Beach State Halfway Home: UC Riverside’s David Chavarria was one made free throw away from handing the 49ers their first conference loss of the season on Thursday, with the game all tied up at 63 and two seconds left. Fortunately for Long Beach State, he missed, and the game went into overtime. Coach Dan Monson’s crew proceeded to take control of the extra period, propelling the 49ers to a 77-70 win and a sparkling 8-0 conference record halfway through the 16-game schedule. Thursday’s UCR game would have been a classic letdown game after Saturday’s impressive blowout of UC Santa Barbara on national television, but it’s clear that Long Beach State is determined to win out.

    Dan Monson Has Long Beach State Playing Excellent Basketball

  • Cal Poly Ties NCAA Record: The Mustangs made their first 11 three-pointers against Cal State Northridge on January 21, tying the all-time NCAA record for consecutive made threes. Cal Poly shut an incredible 71.4% on the night from long distance, going 15-21. Of course, they followed that up by shooting a paltry 3-29 the following game against Pacific (10.3%). The two nights added together equal 18-50, good for 36%, or their approximate season average.
  • Big West Lands Slew of Midseason Transfers: Some of the future stars of the Big West officially enrolled for the spring semester recently, with Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton the big winners. Arizona State star and southern California native Keala King is transferring to Long Beach after averaging 13.7 points in 13 games with the Sun Devils this year. Rumored to have character issues since high school, it will be interesting to see if King can settle in to lead the new era of 49er basketball along with fellow transfers Tony Freeland (DePaul) and Edgar Garibay (Loyola Marymount). In addition, Cal State Fullerton pulled in yet another D-I transfer (they currently have eight on their roster) in UTEP’s Darius Nelson, a freshman who never played a game for Tim Floyd. While some D-I transfers have excelled as expected (Orlando Johnson comes to mind), others haven’t received as much playing time as anticipated (Nate Garth, Johnson’s teammate).

Casper Ware And The 49ers Have Control Of The Big West. One Question Sure To Be Asked Is Whether They Have The Insurance Policy Of An At-Large Resume Worthy Of A Bid. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

Power Rankings

  1. Long Beach State (15-6, 8-0) – Long Beach State fans were able to let out a huge sigh of relief on Thursday against UCR during the aforementioned missed free throw from David Chavarria with the game on the line, as Long Beach went on to complete the first half of conference play at a perfect 8-0. What’s more impressive is that arguably their three toughest games in conference, on the road against Cal Poly, UCSB and UCR, will all go down in the books as wins. Their supposed biggest test coming into conference play against UCSB at the Thunderdome, a game televised nationally on ESPNU, turned out to be a laugher, as the 49ers ran away with a lopsided 71-48 win. The question going forward remains the same: can Long Beach’s heavily used starting group stay fresh and maintain enough energy to close the season strong? Edis Dervisevic being reinstated from his academic suspension helps as the 49ers look to keep their NCAA at-large chances alive. Read the rest of this entry »
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Big East Morning Five: 01.20.12 Edition

Posted by Patrick Prendergast on January 20th, 2012

  1. Oftentimes as fans of college basketball, because we only see our teams while they are in uniform on the court, we tend to forget that they are kids with lives and hardships.  Yes, there are well chronicled ‘coming from the streets’ accounts, but even so in some way players still are dehumanized.  We focus more on how a kid is doing at the free throw line than we do on his background.  Then stories like the one that conveyed about Louisville’s Peyton Siva and his father come along and put it all back in perspective.
  2. In another example of life superseding basketball DePaul released a statement that junior Tony Freeland will transfer to be closer to  his ailing grandmother. Freeland, who is from Los Angeles, is out for this season following shoulder surgery. The 6’7″ forward started eight games last year for the Blue Demons as a sophomore, scoring more than 20 points four times and averaging 9.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. In his career, Freeland started 15 games while scoring 6.8 points and grabbing 3.8 rebounds per game. “We support his decision to be closer to home and near his family,” said head coach Oliver Purnell.
  3. Well it looks like my colleague, Mike, who reported on Providence here yesterday, will have to go back and re-handicap Saturday’s game against #21 Marquette. Providence head coach Ed Cooley confirmed yesterday that Vincent Council, who was suspended for the Friars’ last game at #1 Syracuse, will be back on the floor Saturday in their home contest with the Golden Eagles. “I definitely will play Vince this Saturday. We are looking forward to him back in the lineup,” Cooley said on Thursday’s weekly Big East conference call.  After the Syracuse game Cooley termed Council’s suspension an “accountability issue.” Big East victories have been hard to come by for the Friars (1-5). As has been written here before, wins are always important, but Ed Cooley suspending his best player for a road game against the number one team in the country only drives home the point that he intends to build a program that rests its laurels on more than what any record may suggest.
  4. It is no secret that Pittsburgh (11-8, 0-6) is struggling. However, it looks like the Panthers are close to getting a lift as junior point guard Travon Woodall  he is back practicing, and could return on Saturday night when the Panthers host #23 Louisville. Woodall, who suffered a torn abdominal muscle and strained groin, has played in just one game since December 1. The one game he played in was December 27, a loss at Notre Dame where he did not score in 18 minutes. “I came back way to fast. I wasn’t ready,” Woodall told reporters. Woodall also addressed reports indicating that head coach Jamie Dixon and the Pittsburgh medial staff cleared Woodall to play two weeks ago, leaving his return in his hands, “That’s the thing. Everyone has been saying I’ve been cleared to play. I heard it on an ESPN game when I watched it again. I never had the word that I was cleared to play. If I had the word I probably would have tried to play.” Woodall has averaged 12.4 points and 7.5 assists in eight games played this season.
  5. Yeahhh… that’s the ticket. Holes continue to be punched in the sexual abuse accusations against former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine as the accusers’ credibility is diminishing by the day. First we had prison inmate Floyd VanHooser admit he lied about his claim.  He said he made the accusations as in a revenge “plot” against Fine, who has supported VanHooser since he was a teenager, because he did not pony up for a lawyer when VanHooser was arrested for repeat burglary offenses.  Now we have another accuser changing his story.  It appears that accuser Zachary Tomaselli needs to visit RTC Big East more often so he can brush up on the conference and its teams.  According to Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, Tomaselli originally claimed Fine molested him in early 2002 when Syracuse played at Connecticut.  The thing about that is, Syracuse did not play Connecticut that season. Fitzpatrick said that once Tomaselli was informed of this he changed is story and said the molestation occurred when Syracuse played at Pittsburgh in January, 2002. Tomaselli refuted Fitzpatrick’s rendering saying, ““I was 13 at the time. I had been in the northeast less than three or four months. That was not something I remembered, the specific city. I did once I thought about it. The minute I actually thought about it I knew it was Pittsburgh. One hundred percent.” Shortly thereafter Tomaselli said, “I don’t think I ever told the police it was in Connecticut. I’m 90 percent sure I did not even tell Connecticut to a police dispatcher. That 10 percent, I might have said it was a rivalry game, possibly Connecticut.”
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Morning Five: 01.20.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on January 20th, 2012

  1. The strange transfer drama around Todd O’Brien appears to have come to an unsatisfying end as he received the official rejection of his appeal for a graduate student transfer late on Wednesday. This does not appear to be any different than the previous rejections as the NCAA continues to reiterate its stance that the decision by Saint Joseph’s not to support the transfer factored in the NCAA’s decision. Since nothing seems to be changing in this story as the school refuses to comment on the situation citing privacy laws despite O’Brien’s insistence that he would waive his rights it seems like the school will continue to take a big PR hit and face the consequences on the recruiting trail. If the school does have a legitimate reason for blocking the transfer, one would assume they would want to get their story out there even if it was leaked through anonymous sources talking to a reputable media organization. Seriously, someone at St. Joe’s e-mail us and we will pretend it was an anonymous source.
  2. Unlike O’Brien DePaul junior forward Tony Freeland will be granted a release for his transfer. Freeland announced yesterday that he would be transferring to a school near Los Angeles to help tend to his ailing grandmother. Freeland, who has been sidelined this season after undergoing shoulder surgery, averaged 9.6 points and five rebounds per game as a sophomore. Despite his injury, he should have plenty of interest from teams in the LA area looking for a solid interior player with Big East experience and two more years of eligibility remaining.
  3. Speaking of forwards in the LA area, USC junior forward Aaron Fuller is expected to miss the rest of the season as he will undergo surgery on his left shoulder next week. Fuller has been one of the bright spots averaging 10.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for a Trojan team that that has been underwhelming to put it kindly. Fuller, a transfer from Iowa, has done this while playing with a torn labrum in his left (shooting) shoulder. As we mentioned yesterday, we didn’t think that the Pac-12 could get much worse, but it continues to find ways to top itself.
  4. In this week’s edition of his power rankings, Luke Winn examines the relative chances of Syracuse and Murray State going undefeated as well as a variety of topics. The undefeated discussion goes about the way you would expect, but some other areas such as the statistics on blocked shots by Anthony Davis and Jeff Withey may surprise quite a few people. As always it is a great read and we guarantee that if you read his power rankings you will come away having learned something that you didn’t know before (assuming you aren’t some college basketball sabermetric guru).
  5. Is there a storm brewing in the ESPN college basketball family? According to some sources it appears that Jay Bilas is not a fan of Andy Katz based on a tweet that Bilas sent out after Katz made a mistake on-air. While we have no knowledge of their relationship firsthand we have spoken with both at games and they seem very friendly as individuals. In truth, this really isn’t a major news story (nearly every major company has some petty bickering among high-level employees), but it is a slow news day and makes for some amusing discussion.
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RTC Conference Primers: #1 – Big East Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 14th, 2011

Brian Otskey is the RTC correspondent for the Big East. You can find him on Twitter @botskey.

Reader’s Take I


Top Storylines

  • The Realignment Circus Continues: The latest blow to the Big East came just recently as West Virginia was accepted into the Big 12. That leaves the Big East with 13 basketball schools remaining and a handful of others (football schools) desperately trying to flee the sinking ship. Commissioner John Marinatto has said he is committed to holding Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia to the 27-month notice provision in the conference’s bylaws but one has to wonder if a financial settlement will be worked out in order to expedite the transition and move the conference into rebuilding mode. It’s going to be quite awkward if these three schools remain in the league until 2014. All of the current Big East members should eventually find a stable home in one form or another, but the days of Big East basketball as we know it will soon come to an end. Enjoy the 2011-12 season because it just might be the last year of this remarkable 16-team behemoth.
  • How Many Bids This Year?: After sending a record 11 teams to the NCAA Tournament last year, can the Big East reach that mark again? That seems unlikely but you never know how things will truly play out. I’d say there are ten contenders for NCAA bids and to make 11 you would need all of those teams plus one of the three New York City-area schools to have a wildly successful year and snatch a bid. The Big East is quite possibly the best conference in the land yet again but 11 NCAA teams is far-fetched. Eight or nine bids this season would seem to be much more realistic.
  • Can Connecticut Repeat?: The technical answer is yes but it will be extremely tough to do. There’s a reason only two teams have gone back-to-back in the last 20 years. College basketball is as deep as ever in terms of talent and quality teams, plus there’s someone missing from last year’s Connecticut team. Kemba Walker is now in the NBA and, despite Jim Calhoun’s impressive recruiting haul, there is a major leadership void to be filled. This team is stocked with talent but Walker was a one-of-a-kind leader who took complete control in Maui and parlayed that into a way of life for the rest of the season. Jeremy Lamb figures to take control but remember how young this group is. They’ll get better as the season progresses and may even win the Big East but when the chips are down in the NCAA Tournament, they won’t be able to call on Kemba and that’s why I feel they will not repeat.

Calhoun Won't Have His Mr. Everything Around This Season

  • Cautious Optimism at Georgetown, Villanova and West Virginia: These traditional powers lose a lot of talent and figure to be lodged in the middle of the conference. All three programs return key cogs but the departures of Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, Antonio Pena, Casey Mitchell, John Flowers and Joe Mazzulla leave more questions than answers. These teams all need someone to step up and become a deep shooting threat while maintaining a low post presence. Guards win in college basketball but you also have to be able to rebound and score inside occasionally. Hollis Thompson, Mouphtaou Yarou and Deniz Kilicli must become better all-around post men if their respective teams hope to make the NCAA Tournament. At 6’7”, 205 lbs., Thompson isn’t one to bang with the big guys but he’s going to have to score in the paint at times. Each team has a nice recruiting class coming in, but it’s up to the returning players to make the ultimate difference.
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