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What did we learn about DePaul in the preseason?

There’s a new arena, which you may have heard about

DePaul v Creighton Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

It seems like the biggest addition to the DePaul Blue Demons is the Wintrust Arena in the South Loop, just off of downtown Chicago. The arena is like a four-star recruit that has been hyped for years.

From the Chicago Tribune:

"The challenge of not being in the city has taken away from some of the essence of being a city school," [Coach Dave] Leitao said. "We're trying to change the narrative of what DePaul means to the city of Chicago, and there's a campus-wide synergy we have not felt in a while."

As [Brandon] Cyrus put it: "It feels great to have a place to call our own, somewhere to create our own legacy."

On Big East Media Day, Dave Leitao spoke about his team, itself, since the arena can’t dribble, shoot, or defend:

“We're in transition. We've got some new pieces who will provide more scoring opportunities, more depth. We will try to look a whole lot better like a successful basketball team should.

“And now, it’s the process of putting those pieces together - you talk about Eli, you talk about Brandon, guys who have played a lot of minutes for us and gained that experience through wins and losses, plus the inclusion of some new people, Max Strus, Austin Grandstaff, guys that sat out that I know will contribute a lot. And we added a fifth year guy Marin Maric, guys that have to be respected offensively.

“It's my and our job to put the pieces together to create chemistry that is sorely needed and necessary in this league. Putting those pieces together is the hardest part of the transition right now - learning to win.”

He also sees a different, more point guard skilled Eli Cain emerging:

“[Cain] played on a team where he was forced to take a lot of shots. Sometimes they went into the basket, sometimes, he took some tough shots because he had to.

“Now it's the transition of understanding 'I'm playing with other guys that are equally as talented and have the ability to put the ball in the basket'. We haven't see his ability to make people better as much because of his requirement to score the ball for us in order to give us a chance to win.”

Also from Media Day, from DePaulia:

“We’ve got a lot of new things going on,” Leitao said. “I don’t think the Big East or America knows who Max Strus is, they don’t understand Austin (Grandstaff’s) potential contribution, and nobody knows Marin Maric.

“Our six new people will have a lot to do with our success this year, so I’ll take (our preseason ranking) as motivation,” Leitao said.

Max Strus thinks he can hang in the Big East after his transfer from Division II Lewis

And Austin Grandstaff will contribute.

St. John’s face their Blue Demons on Saturday, January 6th in Queens and will finally get to see the shiny new Wintrust Arena on Wednesday, February 14th.

NCAA Basketball: St. John at DePaul Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports