Both Old and New for DePaul Hoops Teams

The DePaul men's and women's basketball teams feature some old and some new as they prepare to tip-off the 2007-08 season. The challenge this season for men's coach Jerry Wainwright and women's coach Doug Bruno will be the fusion of old and new.

With the addition of six newcomers at DePaul – forwards Matija Poscic and Mac Koshwal, center Kene Obi, and guards Michael Bizoukas, Mario Stula and Darquavis Tucker, Wainwright has his work cut out for him.

"The thing that I worry most about is we have six new players," said Wainwright. "We've got the new guys coming in with the established guys. That can be a valley, a detriment, it can really affect our chemistry. The key is how do those groups come together? I didn't want it brought together by scar tissue. It can't be scar tissue that holds it together. I have been so impressed and so happy with how our older guys have acted. For the first time we've had real mentoring for the younger players. Even though the older guys try to beat them up everyday in practice, they pick them up and share their experiences. I think everybody knows what to expect and there is a comfort level in our program that hasn't been there before."

Even the team captains are a microcosm of blending old and new. Wainwright has chosen the mix of seniors Draelon Burns and Cliff Clinkscales to go along with Koshwal, the first freshman captain in DePaul basketball history.

Burns has gone from the "microwave" role of being the energy guy off the bench for the Demons to being the main scoring threat. "To me this is a different team, we're going to surprise a lot of people," said Draelon. "I'm ready for it."

Burns is one of the captains mentoring the newcomers. Draelon's leadership style is a less vocal one. "I try to lead by example a lot of times, instead of yelling at them I go over and whisper in their ear ‘instead of doing this, you should be doing that'."

Wainwright knows that Burns is the guy that will be called upon often. "The thing about Draelon is he's already done it," said Wainwright . "Now he did it as the third option. He's got to be careful, because he's the bullseye this year for everybody we're playing against. Can he maintain the torrid pace that he did over the last third of the season? I truly think he can. I think he's one of those kind of guys that just has a natural gift for scoring. He's been tremendous leadership for our team. He's worked really hard. He's six or seven pounds lighter. I think he's a guy that will be helped most of all by our young inside players."

The young inside players are forwards Koshwal and Poscic who will team with senior center Wesley Green in the frontcourt. "There is an old saying that good coaching is a patient wife, a loyal dog, and good post play," quipped Wainwright. "Not necessarily in that order. I'd like to think that post play is ahead of the other two right now. I'm excited about coaching (Koshwal and Poscic). Yet, I've said over and over again, we'll be as good as Wesley Green is this season."

Jabari Currie is an upperclassman who is also mentoring the new kids on the block. "I've got to be more of a vocal leader, I'm a junior now," said Jabari. "It's time for me to step up and show my leadership. I tell them to pay attention and keep working hard."

With the loss of Wilson Chandler and Sammy Mejia, Currie hopes to help pick up the scoring load. "I'm trying to do both scoring and to get my teammates involved more," Currie remarked.

Senior Karron Clarke also tries to impart his wisdom onto the younger players. "I tell them to just to get used to the traveling and everything," said Clarke. "All of that is going to take a toll on them. I tell them to come to be ready to play early. We got four seniors and six newcomers. I tell them to watch tape. I tell them everything to help make them feel comfortable."

Clarke feels that the team chemistry is starting to come together. "We still have a lot of work to do," observed Karron. "We're getting there, we're not quite there yet. We're almost there. We've got a lot of talented guys. I'm tired of practicing, I'm ready to play.

Koshwal is one of the freshman benefiting from the leadership of the upperclassmen. "People like Karron, Jabari, and Wesley, they are veterans, they try to use their knowledge to help us," said Mac. "They also tell us what to do. They tell us to be at the right spot, learn all the plays, be respectful, be on-time, and do all the stuff that we need to do to win games."

Another freshman Mario Stula has benefited from the help of the veterans. "The older guys have been really supportive," Mario said . "They tell us to play hard. That's all you have to do. Just stay focused and concentrate to please Coach Wainwright."

What mark does Stula and his classmates want to leave on the DePaul program? "To be the best class that DePaul has ever had."

Likewise, Bruno is looking to integrate some newcomers with returnees from a team that went to the NCAA tournament last season. Three transfers are now onboard – Deirdre Naughton (from Wake Forest), Natasha Williams (Minnesota), and Elise Morrison (Dartmouth) along with freshman Taylor Pikes. "With the transfers it's pretty easy because they were with us all last year," said Doug. "So it's not really that difficult. Taylor is an excellent talent, but still has to learn about the collegiate game. She's more of a work in progress. We have another transfer in Elise who graduated from Dartmouth. They are really finding their way and feeling their way from a chemistry point of view."

The preseason prognosticators have predicted a seventh place finish for the Blue Demons despite losing only Jenna Rubino from last year's squad. "That's a statement more about the Big East than a negative statement about our program," said Bruno. "UConn has everybody back and they won the regular season Big East championship. Rutgers has everybody back and they ran through to the NCAA tournament championship game. West Virginia has everybody back plus Meg Bulger who's been out for two years. Pittsburgh has everybody back plus Mallorie Winn who was out. The top four teams are really pretty logical choices. When you get to five, six, seven, and eight it becomes more of roll of the dice. At that point, you've got to throw the ball up and play ball."

Video

Listen to DePaul Athletic Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto, women's coach Doug Bruno and men's coach Jerry Wainwright from today's luncheon.







Audio

Listen to DePaul Athletic Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto, women's coach Doug Bruno and men's coach Jerry Wainwright from today's luncheon.

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Men's Opener to be Televised

The men's basketball opening game at Creighton will be televised on CLTV – Chicagoland Television on November 9th at 7 p.m. Central Standard time.

Downtown Demon Lunches

To reach out to DePaul alumni and friends working in downtown Chicago, DePaul head coaches Jerry Wainwright and Doug Bruno will join Athetic Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto to host Downtown Blue Demon Lunches this season.

The lunches will be designed to keep fans up-to-date on the current happenings in Blue Demon Basketball, as well as DePaul athletics. The events will be held in the beautiful Cliff Dwellers, featuring a stunning view of the city and Lake Michigan. Doors will open at 11:30 for lunch with a noon program. Admission will be $20.

Dates are November 13th, December 3rd, January 23rd, and February 26th.

Space is limited – RSVP to the DePaul Athletic Development staff at 773-325-7540 or to mmazik@depaul.edu

DePaul to Launch New Athletics Website

DePaul has teamed with JumpTV Sports to launch a new interactive Web site for its department of athletics at www.depaulbluedemons.com.

"We are very pleased with the look and fell of our new Athletics Web site," said Director of Athletics Jean Lenti Ponsetto. "While seamless to most users, our new site will provide greater flexibility and enhanced capability in the delivery of information such as rosters and statistics as well as new content, including video streaming of live games and interviews with coaches and student-athletes. Our new site gives us the opportunity to utilize new technology as it developes and provide greater interactions for our fan base."

Blue Demon fans worldwide will now have unprecedented access to information and programming about their favorite sports teams. DePaul will stream live video of a number of games for various sports, including women's basketball, volleyball, men's and women's soccer and softball.

The site will contain complete news, rosters, schedules, scores, statistics, records and bios for all 15 Blue Demon varsity programs. In addition, fans can sign up to receive an e-newsletter pertaining to each individual program to stay on top of DePaul Athletics.

About JumpTV Sports

JumpTV Sports connects fans to their favorite teams, athletes and leagues - offering live pay per view and video-on-demand streaming of sports matches. As well, JumpTV Sports designs and builds custom-branded sites, provides Web hosting, e-commerce solutions, online ticketing, mobile distribution capabilities and social networking technologies. The JumpTV Sports division encompasses all of JumpTV's sports properties of over 175 university and professional team and league sites as well as international professional leagues and tournaments such as the Euro2008 qualifying matches, FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, the Israeli Football League and the Bolivian Football League.


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