Clemons Participates in First Practice

Coach Oliver Purnell's eyes squinted in pure concentration when preparing to address the status of redshirt freshman Montray Clemons's injury. Prior to any words being spoken, Purnell's attitude shift became instantly noticeable.

Excuses were not made, the challenges that lie ahead were pushed aside and an attitude composed of determination and hard work replaced any type of typical response.

"There are two things that are going to determine how far we go," Purnell explained. "Our work ethic and developing strong team bonds."

The Annual DePaul Tip-off Luncheon revolved around overall anticipation, yet embodied a type of realism that pinpointed the specific areas that need improvement and more significantly the action that is being taken to produce desired results this 2012-2013 season.

In order to put forth the best possible team heading into this year's Big East non-conference schedule, the health of Clemons proves to be a crucial aspect. Clemons was out for the 2011-2012 season due to a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee.

Since suffering the injury at DePaul's Midnight Madness, the 6-foot-7, 225 pound forward has underwent nearly eight months of rehabilitation.

"We are hoping to get a bonus with Montray Clemons. If you guys remember Montray tore his patellar tendon, last year at Midnight Madness," he said. "You're probably wondering why we are not having Midnight Madness this year, that is the reason."

Purnell then addressed what can be expected in terms of Clemon's play this season.

He furthered explained, "He tore it at warm-up and it's been a year now since he tore that thing," he said. "(Monday) was the first time we put him in some limited stuff at practice, some contact stuff. So we are hoping we can get him back in three to four weeks. That would really be a bonus to our team."

Despite Clemon's status still being a bit cloudy, Purnell refuses to let it disturb the clarity of his DePaul game plan for this season as he pushes forward with a fortified group of young men. Shaping them into a team that is expected to be a top competitor this season in the Big East Conference.

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