“Ever since we took the job in April, my staff and I understood how important this initial recruiting class would be in helping us lay the foundation of our program moving forward,” said Leitao. “As we went about constructing this class, a primary focus of ours was to identify talented players at positions of need, who wanted to represent DePaul and the city of Chicago at the highest of levels. We recruited young men that embodied our core values of being tough, selfless competitors with an insatiable desire to improve.”
Cyrus is a 6-5 guard from Encinitas, Calif., who is in his second season at La Lumiere School in La Porte, Ind. He averaged 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game during his junior season at La Lumiere and is the only returning starter for this season for head coach Shane Heirman on the sixth-ranked Lakers in USA Today’s high school top 25. Prior to La Lumiere, Cyrus played at Torrey Pines High School in California where he averaged 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists as a sophomore and 10.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists as a freshmen. Among the national recruiting rankings, Cyrus is the 24th-best shooting guard in the country according to Scout.com and slotted at No. 34 by 247Sports.com.
“Brandon is a guard with great size, length and athletic ability for his position. He can score at all three levels but he’s not just looking to score,” said Leitao. “He’s a very good all-around player that can rebound from the wing, gets his teammates involved and can defend at a high level. He’s an explosive finisher in transition who will fit well in our up-tempo system. Brandon is entering his second year at La Lumiere which is one of the top prep programs in the country, playing for a great coach in Shane Heirman. One thing that really jumped out to our staff when we watched Brandon was the passion and toughness he brings to the floor. He’s a fierce competitor and we think he is a guy who has great leadership qualities. He is just starting to scratch the surface as a player and we think he has a chance to really develop into a special player for us.”
Eichelberger is a 6-7 forward playing his senior season at La Lumiere with Cyrus. The Saginaw, Mich. native averaged 10.8 points and 7.1 rebounds as a junior at Prolific Prep in California and is ranked at No. 50 among the nation’s power forwards by ESPN.com and No. 65 by 247Sports.com. During his sophomore season at Saginaw High School, Eichelberger averaged 13.0 points and 12.8 rebounds per game.
“Al is a physical and versatile forward. We really like the fact that he can play facing up or with his back to the basket. He can pick-n-pop but he’s also got the frame and footwork to operate on the low block,” said Leitao. “Guys like him are very difficult to defend. We love the toughness and physicality he brings to the floor. That was a need we really felt we needed to address in this class. He also has extremely long arms, with a 7-2 wing span, so he’s able to play much bigger than his listed 6-7. Al is another guy that has played against some of the top competition throughout his high school career and been a winner at every stop. We are looking forward to helping him grow as a player and a person and believe his future is bright here at DePaul.”
Gage is a 6-2 from Chicago’s Curie High School and is one of the city’s top guards. He averaged 17.6 points, 5.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds during his junior season with the Condors while earning third team All-Public League honors. Ranked as the state’s sixth-best prospect in the class of 2016, Gage is recognized as a three-star recruit by both Scout.com and Rivals.com.
“One of the top players in the highly competitive Chicago Public League, Devin is a strong and explosive point guard who can both score and distribute. He can break down the defense and create scoring opportunities for himself or his teammates and he’s got a great knack for finishing around the basket,” said Leitao. “He’s got very good speed and burst in the open court and is another guy that will be well suited in our up-tempo system. He has really worked hard to improve as a jump shooter and I think that is a part of his game that will continue to grow. Anyone who plays four years at Curie High School for Coach Oliver is going to bring toughness and competitiveness to your program and Devin is no exception. He’s kid that really valued the opportunity to stay at home and play at DePaul and we couldn’t be happier with his decision.”
“In Brandon, Algevon and Devin we are adding three outstanding players who will be great student-athletes here at DePaul and fit the culture we are working hard to build. We are thrilled to welcome all three of them to the DePaul basketball family,” continued Leitao.
“On paper we are adding a point guard, a wing and a power forward, but to confine any of them to one position isn’t really an accurate portrayal of who they are. All three are what I like to call ‘basketball players.’ Each of them possesses the skill, athleticism and versatility to play different positions on the floor. They have the ability to impact the game in many different ways. In addition, each of them will come to us extremely well coached and having played against a high-level of competition in high school. We are very excited about what these three will add to our team next season and in the future years of DePaul basketball.”
The Blue Demons open the 2015-16 season this weekend when DePaul hosts Western Michigan. Start time at McGrath-Phillips Arena is 8 p.m. and the game can be seen on FOX Sports Networks nationally and on The U Too locally in Chicago. The season-opener will also be on the radio at WSCR 670 The Score.
* Article was reproduced with permission from DePaul Athletics