In anticipation for tonight's rematch against the DePaul Blue Demons, we asked Steve of We Are DePaul a few DePaul-related questions about their (perennial) struggles, as possible Chicago arena, what the Demons need to do to pull off an upset, and thoughts on former Blue Demons' coach Dave Leitao.
You may not know this, but the Blue Demons have actually gone to the NCAA Tournament in the last decade. They were decent when they joined the Big East... and fell under the reign of the previous coach.
Thanks again to Steve (who is great company at the DePaul games in Chicago), who runs DePaul's scout.com site and writes articles for the DePaul fanbase. Read on...
Rumble in the Garden: DePaul once again is struggling to win games. What's working for the Blue Demons right now? Which players look like they're part of the solution?
We Are DePaul: Well, when you’re on a losing skid, it’s easier to come up with what’s not working rather than what is working. What is working? Creating turnovers. Capitalizing on those turnovers, though, is not always working.
Cleveland Melvin is DePaul’s most consistent player right now. The Demons lack consistency from the rest of the cast. That has been an issue. With more consistency, the others can become part of the solution.
Rumble: Following and watching DePaul is a labor of love, it seems. What keeps you going? Do you see fans dropping off, watching less/ participating less?
W.A.D.: Good question. Honestly, it’s always been a labor of love for me. Love of the game definitely keeps me going.
There has been a drop-off with in-person attendance at games. Yet, in what is a peculiar paradox, traffic on the website is increasing. Site traffic is always higher after a loss than it is after a win. I think that shows that DePaul has a fanbase that cares and is also frustrated.
R: What's new with the move to an arena within the Chicago city limits? Where is DePaul/ the city and state/ the United Center with the concept?
W: DePaul would like to leave Allstate Arena in suburban Rosemont for a location in the city of Chicago. DePaul continues to pursue a possible arena in the South Loop near McCormick Place. The University is looking to partner with the City of Chicago and McPier (Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority) on a 10 thousand to 12 thousand seat arena in that part of town.
Progress on that has been slowed due to court proceedings on the foreclosure of some of the property needed to build the arena. If McPier can acquire the property and clear some political hurdles with the state of Illinois, a new city home for the Blue Demons could be in sight within a few years.
R: How can DePaul pull off the upset?
W: In the first meeting between the two teams on the 19th, DePaul showed that they can play with St. John’s. They just need to improve on a few things that didn’t happen in the first meeting to pull off the upset as you say.
First and foremost, Brandon Young needs to show up. He didn’t show up at all on the 19th. Young turned in his worst performance of the year – six points and seven turnovers. They also need to execute better against the SJU zone and rebound better. If they get the same effort out of Jamee Crockett and take care of the basketball, the Blue Demons can walk out of Carnesecca Arena with a W.
R: Just because I'm curious, a word association game. Your trigger is [former DePaul head coach] Dave Leitao. You can go on for as long or as short as you need.
W: Defense. Rebounding. (two trademarks of Leitao’s DePaul teams)
Foot stomp. (Leitao would loudly stomp his big wingtips on the floor to get his team’s attention during games, another trademark.)
"Mah-kus!!!" (for Marcus Heard, Leitao’s favorite whipping boy. Leitao could be heard yelling "Mah-kus!!" all over the arena.)
NCAA Tournament win. (DePaul hasn’t been back to the tournament since Leitao left.)
Traitor. (yes, he left DePaul for Virginia)
Future head coach? (Leitao is now an assistant at Missouri. If Frank Haith gets slapped by the NCAA as part of their investigation into Haith’s activities at Miami, could Leitao become the interim coach at Mizzou?)