Putting the "D" Back in DePaul

DePaul coach Oliver Purnell has been putting his team through their paces in practice the last few days. Defense has been the focus for the Blue Demons in what has been a three day defensive mini-camp. Learn more about what DePaul is up to in this report.

It's good for the DePaul men's basketball team that the official start of practice came with a focus on defensive fundamentals.

Defense and rebounding were aspects of the game where DePaul struggled in Big East play last season.

The Blue Demons (3-15) finished in last place in the Big East standings and were also in last place in the following statistical categories: Scoring Defense (76.7 ppg), Defensive Field Goal Percentage (48.2%), Three Point Defensive Field Goal Percentage (35.4%), and Rebounding Margin (-6.6 rpg).

For DePaul to improve in Purnell's third season at the helm, the will have to get better with both defense and rebounding.

"Hopefully we'll be a better team guarding the basketball and we'll be a better rebounding team," said Purnell. "Those two areas we were in poor in last year. That really is a big key for us in improving as a basketball team."

Better defense will equate to winning more games in the uber-competitive Big East.

"The first few days in practice, all we've done is defense," said Purnell. "We haven't done anything offensively except to warm-up. So we've really been working on the fundamentals of our man-to-man defense. We haven't even put in pressure (defense) yet. A huge part of the fundamentals in man-to-man defense is rebounding. So that's all we're doing for three days in practice. Then we'll start (next week) with more of a balanced practice."

Upperclassmen like juniors Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin are setting the example for the newcomers to the Blue Demons.

"Right now we're in a defensive mini-camp," said Young. "We're going to keep on using the word "defense" and stressing to the young guys and letting them know for us to win games, it's going to take defense. "

"We're totally focused on defense right now," Melvin said. "Everybody on the team is starting to understand that defense is the most important thing in basketball. If you play defense, you'll win a lot more games in the Big East."

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