Marrero Talks DePaul Decision

DeJuan "Rico" Marrero became DePaul coach Oliver Purnell's first recruit for the class of 2012 this afternoon when he offered up his verbal commitment to the Blue Demons while on campus for an unofficial visit.

DeJuan Marrero is a 6-6, 210 lb. small forward from Thea Bowman Academy in Gary, Indiana. Marrero chose DePaul over offers from Iowa and Minnesota. He was also receiving serious interest from Miami of Florida.

This afternoon Rico laid out his reasons for pulling the trigger for DePaul.

"First, they have a great education," said Marrero. "I went over everything with (the academic advisor). I felt they had the best education for what I need. Two, it's close to my Mom, it's twenty to thirty minutes from home. Third, I feel like I can turn the program around at DePaul, because I believe in Coach Purnell and what he did at Clemson. I believe I can come into DePaul and help turn the program around. Fourth, it's the Big East. It's the best conference in the USA."

Marrero, who is rated as a three-star prospect by, figures to give DePaul some needed help at small forward in 2012.

"He told me that I'm his type of guy," said Rico. "I'll be playing the three for him. We can just build from there."

DePaul's frenetic pace and style of ball was a factor in Marrero's decision as well.

"They play full court," Marrero said. "He said that he'll put me at the three and he feels like I can guard the one, two, three, four and sometimes five."

Marrero arrived on DePaul's Lincoln Park campus this morning and took in the sights.

"First, we went and talked to the academic advisor," Marrero said. "Then we took a tour of the campus. We had lunch and we looked at the scenery of the campus. Then we talked about player development."

It was then that Purnell got Marrero's attention.

"When he was going over the player development and talking about getting to the next level, that was it." Said Marrero. "I'm trying to get to the next level and I feel that Coach Purnell and his staff can help me get there. That's when I said to myself ‘I really like this, I can see myself here' and I committed."

Another reason Marrero chose DePaul was his relationship with DePaul assistant Billy Garrett.

"I've known Coach Garrett since I was little," said Rico. "I didn't even know it. He saw me when I was in seventh grade and I didn't even know it. I didn't know who he was until eighth grade and freshman year. He said that he's been having his eye on me awhile."

In June, Marrero helped his Bowman team win the championship at DePaul's High School Team Camp. Rico had to sit out the championship game with a bruised tailbone, but was instrumental in getting his team to advance in that tournament.

Marrero, who is DePaul's first recruit from Gary, Indiana, since Thomas Cooper played for the Blue Demons in the late 90's, sees himself as a blue-collar kind of basketball player.

"I'm hard-working," said Marrero. "I'm more like a Dennis Rodman-type guy. I've really been working hard on my ball handling." analyst Brian Snow feels that DePaul landed themselves a winner in Marrero.

"Marrero just did what he does," said Snow. "He was active on the glass, scored down low, and brought energy and effort when on the floor. Not a super skilled kid, Marrero just makes the plays to help his team win. He needs to be more efficient shooting the ball, but his handle looks better and his toughness is as at an extremely high level."

For now, Marrero will focus on his senior season at Bowman and getting ready for his freshman debut at DePaul in 2012.

"I'm excited," said Rico. "I know their fans are crazy and are very excited. I'm going to help build back up their program."

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