Prior to joining DePaul in the fall of 2009, Mike Stovall had spent time in Oregon (while playing at Oregon State for part of his freshman year) and Missouri (playing at Mineral Area Community College) before finally coming home to Chicago. This is the last go round for Stovall, and he wants to go out on a winning note.
"We just want to give it our all," Stovall said when asked about how to turn around DePaul's misfortune. "We have to play hard every night and take in what coach is giving us, and put it out there on the court."
New DePaul coach Oliver Purnell, who came over from Clemson in April, will look to Stovall, who is one of DePaul's two seniors, to help resuscitate the program. Stovall, after all, is DePaul's leading returning scorer (seven ppg).
Stovall certainly has had his moments in his first season with DePaul last year. Who can forget his buzzer-beating shot to beat Marquette? Or how about the career high 30 points he had against Providence?
However, Stovall is more focused on winning above anything else and wants DePaul to ascend from the Big East basement. In the Big East's preseason poll, the Demons were picked to finish last again, where they have finished the previous two seasons.
Stovall wants to use that prognostication as motivation.
"It's a big motivation," Stovall admitted. "We don't want to have a season like we did last year. We're really going to pick it up this year."
Stovall knows that they were close in a lot of games last season. He says the team didn't do a good job of closing out games last year.
"A lot of games last year, we should have won," Stovall said. "I feel in the second half we came out lackadaisical. We're going to pick that up and move forward."
The 6-4 Stovall said he is excited to play in Purnell's high-octane full-court pressure system and said he can play guard or forward in his system. Stovall said he has learned a lot from Purnell. The DePaul coach often emphasizes to his team to do "what's next".
"You have to work hard, plain and simple," Stovall said of his impression of Purnell. "You have to do what's next, and if you do what's next, that (makes) you a better (person)."
If Purnell and DePaul are to surprise people this year, Stovall will have to be a major part of the renaissance.
DePaul's Stovall Ready for Last Stand
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