Renard Phillips Brings Energy to DePaul

DePaul coach Oliver Purnell reached out to the east coast for a recent addition to his coaching staff. In the short time he has been at DePaul, Renard Phillips has brought a lot of energy to the basketball program. We talk with the new assistant in this report.

On June 17th, Oliver Purnell officially announced that Renard Phillips will replace Brian Ellerbe as an assistant coach on his staff.

Like Ellerbe, Phillips comes to DePaul from the Washington D.C. area.

"I like it a lot," Phillips said of his short time at DePaul. "It's very new for me coming from D.C. Everybody is treating me real good. The food here in Chicago is unbelievable. I'm excited to try to get started and get things going."

Phillips also wasted no time in getting in touch with east coast recruits.

"I'm just trying to get settled in and make calls to recruits at the same time," Renard said. "That's what I've been focusing on, getting some players in here."

What Phillips brings to the table at DePaul is his experience coaching at the high school and AAU levels of basketball and his energy. Renard has made a number of stops coaching prep basketball up and down the east coast including Friendship Collegiate Academy, Arlington Country Day, Progressive Christian Academy, Georgetown Prep. and his alma mater - DeMatha High School. He has also coached at the AAU level with the DC Assault program.

"He brings energy and the experience of recruiting very good prospects when they are very young at the high school and the AAU level," said Purnell. "He has an infectious personality. I've got to know him quite a lot over the last year. I really felt like he'd be a good salesman for our program."

Phillips hopes to put that experience and energy to work at DePaul immediately.

"I bring energy," said Renard. "I bring contacts from the east coast and some of the other areas that I'm connected with. Hopefully those things will really come together and try to make a major impact sooner rather than later. I've got some good leads on some players and have had some good conversations."

Phillips is now the youngest of the DePaul assistant coaches and feels that his age and experience at the high school level helps him in recruiting the youth of today.

"We have to be able to communicate with high school coaches and understand where they are coming from," Phillips said. "Coming from a high school, I kind of have an idea what they are looking for. They like the fact that I'm a young coach. Kids really look at that when they are on campus or if they have an issue, they want to talk to someone who is just a little older that they can relate to. I think my age is a benefit for them, because I'm not that much older than they are and that they will open up to me more so than someone else. It's important for kids to know that they have someone that they can talk to and have that relationship with."

Purnell values Phillips' ability to relate to youngsters and feels that quality will help him as he makes the transition to the next level.

"Renard is the kind of young coach that will develop relationships here in Chicago as well," said Purnell. "He has the same value system that we have. That is, it's about the kids, it's about them getting an education and having a great opportunity, and making them the very best players they can be and winning."

Coaching at the AAU level, also has given Renard an understanding of grass roots basketball.

"I intertwine both high school and AAU, because I've coached both," said Phillips. "I never really separate the two, because at the end of the day you're talking to the same people."

DePaul will be Phillips' second stop as a college assistant. Phillips left Texas Tech after just three months in 2011. Tech head coach Billy Clyde Gillispie was fired the following year amidst allegations of player mistreatment.

"It was really rough," said Phillips. "Most people are familiar with what happened there from reading the articles. It was something that I had to go through to see the good and bad in the sport. I know for a fact, being around here this week at DePaul, this is the good. Everyone does things different, and I'm glad that I am here for sure."

Renard is adjusting to coaching at the collegiate level and finds the one difference to be the limitations placed on coaches by the NCAA.

"The biggest challenge is the accessibility in college," said Phillips. "In high school, you can be with those guys every day and I can reach out and contact them every day. In college, there are certain time periods where you can contact and have that interaction with them. To me that's the major difference."

Phillips will be hitting the recruiting trail for the first time as a Blue Demon coach on July 10th. For now, Renard is looking forward to the July evaluation period and what will follow in August and September.

"The month of August should be interesting in terms of guys coming in for unofficial and official visits," said Phillips.

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