DePaul Tip-Off Luncheon Brings Forth Optimism

The bold hues of DePaul Demon blue encompassed nearly every inch of the room as people flooded in from various entrances. DePaul alumni mingled with faculty and staff as student athletes and coaches inched closer to the cameras and microphones. The large assortment of food caused a buzz, yet didn't stand a chance at stealing the spotlight.

McGrath-Phillips Arena suddenly transformed into a new space that no longer was solely defined by basketball, but a greater motive. The Arena embodied a new found attitude, featuring DePaul basketball at its finest, through a fortified outlet of overall pride.

DePaul's Men's basketball team and coaching staff were particularly eager to share upcoming expectations, goals and challenges that lie ahead this upcoming season at the annual DePaul Tip-off Luncheon on Tuesday.

The event began at 11 a.m. and instantly gravitated toward Coach Oliver Purnell.

"Our work ethic is something that is going to take us far," he said. "But there are two things we need to work on to be better, and that is guarding the basketball in the half court and not allowing penetration."

Ironically the immediate attention given toward improvements that have to be made proved to be inspiring and shed light on a team that truly wishes to succeed.

The team's schedule in conjunction with the newcomers sparked interest and questions concerning DePaul's presence in the Big East Conference.

"I really believe we could get in the middle of the Big East. I mean, who can get forget ten years ago UConn was in the middle of the Big East and won the National Championship," Purnell explained. "That's the level of the Big East and that's what it does to you, if you can survive it. It hardens you and you can be really great and play well," he said.

Working toward achieving major goals throughout this season is remaining a large focus, but so are the smaller components that will make achieving this goal possible. Incorporating the newcomers in with the veteran players in hopes of producing a magic mix that will be strong presents itself as a primary objective.

Purnell is confident that this strategy of building stronger bonds and enhancing team chemistry will only benefit the athletes and produce stronger outcomes this 2012-13 season.

"Our style of play is reflected in the success of the team's relationships," Purnell said. "Reception to this is getting better through practicing different principles and drills."

Becoming accustomed to this style is a task the veteran players will aid the newcomers in properly developing. Junior guard, Brandon Young was mentioned several times during the luncheon as being a standout player, who will be of great assistance.

Young was named to the 2011 Big East All-Rookie Team and is entering this season in hopes of becoming the 48th player in the program with 1,000 career points and the 15th player in school history with 300 career assists.

The accomplishments of Young were mentioned alongside junior forward Moses Morgan.

"He is also going to be one of the top players in the Big East this year," Purnell said. "Moses is a great shooter, if not the best, in the Big East. He is the kind of guy that can break open a game. He can knock down two or three threes, but he is also a leader. He is experienced."

Cohesiveness among the upperclassmen will directly influence the play of the youngsters and the overall attitude of the team when the Blue Demons take the court in these upcoming weeks.

The goals and challenges that remain ahead will be put to the test as the season creeps closer. Only time will tell if Coach Purnell's confidence and game plan will suffice or need tweaking.

As the chewing digressed, the remainder of people were still left hungry. The feelings of excitement, anticipation and a dash of daringness increased when letting the thoughts of the 2012-13 season sink in. Just how much of this eluded potential can be unleashed come game time? One thing is for certain, these Blue Demons are hungry for success.

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