Forward Motion: Melvin Looking at Next Year

College and NBA basketball in Chicago is completely over now, but much is to be looked forward to coming next season. We talk with DePaul's Cleveland Melvin in this report.

While the DePaul men's basketball team struggled at times, signs of forward progression and improvement were clear.

"It was a learning experience because it was tough and kind of frustrating," said Blue Demon forward Cleveland Melvin. "But we still had a good season never gave up, we came out strong."

While he admitted that it was rough on the guys, "we built off that," he said. "It's kind of motivated us for next season."

Through the turbulence, the six-foot-nine freshman stepped up to help lead the way for the Demons. With solid averages of 14 points and five rebounds per game, he picked up the Big East Rookie of the Year award along the way.

Winning the award, "definitely motivated me more because it's a great, special award. I worked hard for it all season."

While he got off to a mild start, he turned things up a notch during Big East play, cranking it up for 17 points a night.

"That was one of my goals coming into the season [as soon as the] school year started," he said. "It was a great war for me, but I made another goal, so I still got to keep working for that one."

Improving as much as anyone in the conference -- and the country for that matter -- more of the same and plenty extra should be in store next year. Looking to fine-tune his game and add some perimeter assets, he's back to working in the gym to sharpen his sword.

"I'm getting stronger in the weight room and getting my skill-work down pat," said Melvin. "I'm working on my wing skills more and getting my jump shot right."

"I'm expecting to just stay focused and win more games -- more games in the Big East. Be more competitive in the Big East and continue to improve on the court and off the court -- academically-wise, too."

The first steps will come this August when the team takes a 10-day trip to France, where they'll play four games against club teams.

"That'll be a great experience going out to France, because all the young guys will be coming with us, too," Cleveland said. "It's going to be out first experience going out there to play against older men. I'm really looking forward to it."

When mentioned that he still had a different, bigger goal he was trying to capture, I of course had to ask what is was?

"To win Player of the Year," he said. "It may be lofty, but it's got the future looking bright."


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