Durrell McDonald, a freshman guard from Henderson, Nevada, arrived at DePaul in early June and has impressed both his coaches and fellow teammates in the short time that he's been in Chicago.
As a senior at Green Valley High School, McDonald averaged 21.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists while leading the Gators to the semi-finals of the Class 4A Nevada state championship.
One question is how much an impact can the 6-2 guard make in his freshman year?
"We hope that he will make an impact," said DePaul coach Oliver Purnell. "He's got a lot of potential, but he's playing a difficult position. It depends on how quickly he makes that transition."
If he proves worthy, McDonald can step in and fill the void left by Jeremiah Kelly, who graduated in June. For McDonald to get playing time as a freshman though, he'll first need to learn Purnell's system and he'll need to work on the defensive end of the floor.
"One thing we didn't get into a lot of this summer is full court pressure," said Purnell. "Now that's a little bit different when you've got to play full court pressure and play offense and that kind of thing. He's physically very capable of doing that. He's got the physical tools."
Indeed McDonald does have the physical tools. In April, McDonald cleared seven feet in the high jump setting a Nevada state record. While Durrell has great leaping ability, it's his speed on the court that Purnell likes.
"It think it's more the quickness," said Purnell. "He can obviously jump. I think the quickness, because he's a point guard, is even more important."
McDonald, who goes by the nickname of "Nugget", was quite a find for DePaul. He was not a highly sought after recruit before offering his verbal commitment to DePaul in January. His only other high-major interest came from Penn State. That was mainly due to not getting much exposure on the AAU circuit.
"(Assistance coach) Brian Ellerbe saw him and the (Associate Head Coach) Ron Bradley went out there to Vegas to watch him play," said Purnell. "Sometimes that happens when somebody is floating under the radar. You may see him in some of those tournaments that you don't hear a lot about during July. There are a few of them in places like West Virginia, here and there, where not a lot of people go, because you can't cover them all. You can only have three coaches out at a time and there is a lot of tournaments in a compressed period of time. If a kid isn't in one of the high-profile tournaments, then sometimes he'll fly under the radar."
McDonald's days of living under the radar may soon be over. If he does want the DePaul coaching staff wants him to do this year, it won't be long before Durrell is a household name in the Big East conference.
Can McDonald Make an Impact for DePaul?
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