Cleveland Melvin had a fabulous freshman season averaging a team high 14.3 points per game (17.4 ppg in Big East play) and five rebounds per game en route to earning Big East Rookie of the Year honors. However, Melvin will sneak up on no one this year. Melvin knows he'll be the target of opposing team's defenses and he is ready for the challenge ahead of him.
"I'm really prepared," Melvin said. "I have been working on my outside game and my strength in the offseason. So, I'm already focused and ready for the season."
Melvin's outside shot was on display Saturday night in DePaul's preseason 70-63 win over the Lewis Flyers. Melvin made three three-pointers on 11 attempts (he had all of one attempt last year). Melvin wound up scoring 33 points on the night.
Melvin has been biding his time in the gym and the weight room ever since DePaul's season officially ended in March. Melvin and his fellow Demon teammates also had the luxury of going to France for a summer tour and competing against professional teams in the summer.
Melvin soaked in a lot and took away many positives on the trip.
"It was a great experience," said Cleveland. "It made me grow and become more mature. We had great team chemistry and got along. It was a wonderful trip."
Melvin added that he and his teammates share a special bond that goes beyond the basketball court.
"We get along (and) never disrespect each other," Melvin continued. "We're like brothers out there. It translates on the court because we communicate with each other."
With injuries to Tony Freeland and Montray Clemons, Melvin will have to adjust to a having a thin frontcourt and playing more than usual. Melvin says he will come with a complete package to offset the losses, and that he will go inside the paint, as well as outside the paint.
"I'm going to play inside and out," Melvin stressed. "It will help me grow and improve my wing skills."
For DePaul to be successful this year, Melvin has to be all that is expected of him and more. Once again, the Demons received little respect and were predicted to finish last by the Big East coaches.
Melvin looks at this as an incentive to work harder.
"We definitely see that as motivation," Melvin said.
If the Lewis game is any indication, Melvin is ready and motivated for the season to start.
Melvin Motivated for Sophomore Campaign
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