Players shocked by Purnell's decision

CLEMSON – Demontez Stitt didn't even see it coming.

Friday afternoon, on his way back home to the Charlotte-area for Easter weekend, he had a 15-minute phone conversation with then Clemson basketball coach Oliver Purnell.

He could be the most shocked of all his teammates when they learned what transpired early Tuesday morning.

"We talked about next year, the other players, some of the players that are supposed to come in," Stitt said of Friday's conversation. "I didn't see any signs of him wanting to leave."

But he did.

On Tuesday, Purnell accepted the head coach position at DePaul, much to the surprise of everyone at Clemson. None of the players on the team saw Purnell before he left for Chicago.

"It was kind of fast. We weren't really aware of it until this morning," Andre Young said Tuesday, after Purnell was introduced as DePaul's new coach. "I still don't know all the details and everything. We're just taking it one day at a time right now."

He and roommate Tanner Smith were sleeping while text messages sat nearby on their phones.

"We found out that way," Young said.

At the team's daily breakfast, assistant--now interim head coach Ron Bradley--confirmed what happened.

"I didn't fully believe it until coach Bradley told us at breakfast, until I heard from his mouth that OP had left," Smith said.

Young first learned of the business that is college basketball while he was recruited out of high school.

"DePaul just kind of really jumped on him. Friday, they were really on him. He just made a business deal," Young said. "It's a business. That just happens."

Stitt believes "most of the guys" that are scheduled to return this fall will stick around Clemson.

"Nobody has even talked about leaving," he said. "When we worked out at the gym, it seemed like everybody was alright."

If there are bitter feelings from either of the two point guards, neither shared them.

Both are thankful for the opportunity Purnell provided.

"He helped me become the player that I am," Young said. "I definitely have to look at it that way. I wouldn't be where I am without him."

"There's nothing bad I can say about coach Purnell," Stitt said. "He was a great coach while he was here. He gave me an opportunity to come here and play…he had a lot of trust in me. I respect him for that." Top Stories