"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Know Your.... Enemy? DePaul

In advance of Marquette's road game against DePaul we were contacted by John over at Chicago College Basketball. John was good enough to share his thoughts on the game and the DePaul program in this installation of Know Your Opponent.

John is doing some really interesting things with his blog, which we encourage you to check out -- and be sure to check out our responses to his questions about MU and the game at Bradley Center South.


What does the DePaul fan base think of Athletic Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto? Is she the right leader to help DePaul emerge from its current struggle with men's hoops?

I think the DePaul fan base is quite frustrated with Jean Lenti Ponsetto right now. Most fans thought that Jerry Wainwright should have been fired at the end of last season. The fact that she waited until halfway through this season has angered a lot of fans. She keeps talking about how DePaul is a great job, but fans wonder if she really understands how hard it is to coach in the Big East night in and night out. Whether she's the right person to get DePaul out of this mess remains to be seen. All of DePaul's other Big East teams are doing phenomenally well, but people don't realize that because of the struggles of the school's premiere program. Her next hire is probably JLP's last chance with the DePaul faithful. She better make the right one.

Does the timing of the Wainwright dismissal help or hurt the program?

The fact is this: Jerry Wainwright had to go. It became obvious as you looked at the roster he constructed that he doesn't have a good grasp on how to recruit Big East level talent. There's no questioning his capability with X's and O's, but you can't win in the Big East when there is no talent on your roster. NBA Lottery picks are going to destroy your average Conference USA caliber athlete (just look at Memphis) and that's what Wainwright had been recruiting. Him stepping down at this precise moment came from a lot of factors, but I think the early dismissal was probably a good thing for the coach and the program. No one wanted Wainwright to have to attempt to coach on the sidelines while hobbling on crutches and the program needed a breath of fresh air. Last season at Allstate Arena felt like a long drawn out death spiral for the program and at least now there has been a resolution and action will be taken at the end of the season.

Can you give us a sign of hope regarding DePaul?

Signs of hope? Hmm... Will Walker is the only senior on the roster. The injuries to Mac Koshwal might force him to stay in college for his senior season. The team played with a tremendous amount of effort for Tracy Webster against Providence. There really is no beacon of light right now and I think that's why places like the Chicago Tribune are asking if anyone can win at DePaul anymore. The first challenge of a new coach will be to instill some hope in the fan base.

There are many people that root for DPU to keep depressed, because of the idea that it benefits Marquette if DPU is not as good. Your thoughts?

I don't think DePaul being down benefits Marquette that much, especially since Buzz Williams became head coach. His recruiting connections don't seem to be in the Chicago area. Two easy wins against DePaul every season might seem helpful, but it hurts the Big East's reputation and gives Marquette the chance to get some ugly losses. Personally I think it's better for the Big East if every program is humming along. There will always be cycles, but DePaul hasn't been in an upswing ever in the Big East. If it never does it'll be an anchor for the conference, and that's definitely not a good thing.

With big man Mac Koshwal out 2-4 weeks, which players should we focus on for Wednesday's game?

The player that has really stepped up since the firing of Jerry Wainwright has been Mike Stovall. The junior is listed as a forward, but at 6'5" he'd much prefer to slash to the basket and make plays. He has the athleticism to play in the Big East, but he's more of a streak shooter. Against Providence he was hot and scored 30 points, against St. John's he was cold and scored 11. He wasn't getting much playing time under Wainwright, but Tracy Webster seems to feel he's a very important guy for the rotation. He's the guy to watch.


Thanks John!

Gametime is set for 8pm Marquette Standard Time on Wednesday night. Fans can watch the game on the BIG EAST Network. Marquette enters the game at 11-6 overall and a respectable 2-3 in conference play.

Is the proverbial cavalry coming for the Warriors? There's been plenty of anticipation about the possible return of Junior Cadougan to the active roster. The freshman was thought to be lost for the season with an Achilles tendon injury but recent comments from Buzz Williams indicate that help might be on the way. Of course, the basketball gods giveth and taketh away -- on Tuesday MU announced that big man Yous Mbao will now miss up to six weeks with a knee strain.

The Blue Demons are lousy and reeling, off to an 0-5 start in conference play and 7-10 overall. Last time out DePaul was smoked 67-47 by St Johns in Queens. Sadly the Demons even to Florida Gulf Coast in their final tune-up for BIG EAST action.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Lets get back to .500 tonight! Then our new season can begin. I'm feeling an NCAA bid...