Naysayers Give Purnell Motivation

With the season opener 11 days away, every team has a level of optimism that this is the year they will do big things. But when you have a new coach, that optimism only intensifies. That will be the case when DePaul opens their season against Chicago State on November 14th.

"We're embarking on something new here. It's exciting,'' Coach Oliver Purnell said at the Chicago College Basketball media luncheon Tuesday afternoon. "We're starting to pick everything up scheme-wise so that's good and we're starting to look better every day.''

The Blue Demons are going to need to pick up Purnell's scheme quickly, as they face some stiff competition early, including Oklahoma State and potentially Virginia Tech in the 76 Classic in Anaheim. The tough competition will prepare the team for a tough run in the Big East Conference. DePaul finished the Big East Conference season at 1-17 and was picked to finish last in the preseason poll.

"Any time you are picked at the bottom, near the bottom in the conference, you know, if you're a competitor you can certainly use that for motivation. I expect our guys to be competitors and I expect our team to really compete hard. Hopefully that will be an inspiration to us to prove people wrong."

While the excitement about the season was abound with every school in the room, an idea that Purnell coined as "The Chicago Five" seemed to be an idea all coaches embraced. The idea would be a tournament amongst all five city teams (Northwestern, DePaul, UIC, Loyola and Chicago State), played similar to what the city of Philadelphia does with their five local schools.

"I am a new guy, I can say anything I want and then take it back a little bit later because I didn't know," Purnell joked. "So sure, I'd be interested. Just throwing it out as an idea. It's an interesting idea. I'm sure logistics have to be worked out … but sure, I'd be interested.

"I've always had a lot of respect for Chicagoland basketball, obviously at the high school and the AAU level, but also at the college level,'' Purnell said

Along with the game against Chicago State, the Blue Demons also play Loyola in the nonconference portion of the schedule.

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