Sense of urgency.
You've heard the mantra before in sports. It's a statement made by one committed to change, understanding the need for change when something just doesn't seem to be going right.
For the DePaul Blue Demons men's basketball program, it is a mindset that appears to be resonating from within. The time is now. No excuses.
After the Blue Demons lackluster season last year, which saw the squad finish 11-19 and fail to qualify for the Big East conference tournament, it is evident that DePaul is looking to change their fortunes as quickly as possible. However, it will have to do so with a young team that projects to start only two upperclassmen, senior point guard Jabari Currie and the lone junior on the team, shooting guard Will Walker.
During the off-season, Walker has made a priority to continue to improve as a player given the added responsibilities he will have on the team this year. Walker commented that he's worked hard on both his speed and strength. He hopes that it will allow him to get to the basket more as a result.
Walker also feels confident that DePaul's incoming freshman class, which includes center Krys Faber, point guard Jeremiah Kelly, and power forward Devin Hill, will be able to make a positive influence on the roster this upcoming season.
"I think they're going to make a big impact," said Walker. "The players that have been around are getting them ready for the season. We're working them real good."
Of the three freshman, many expect Krys Faber to step in and contribute immediately in an attempt to bolster a frontcourt that currently features sophomore standouts Dar Tucker and Mac Koshwal.
Walker cautions that not only Faber but Kelly and Hill's adjustment to college basketball, especially Big East basketball, "will take some time."
"The in-game experience will help them," said Walker.
Although inexperience could be cause for concern, Walker feels that the team will be prepared when the season tips-off on November 17th at McGrath Arena versus Albany.
"We're ready for everybody this year," said Walker. "We're not going to take anyone lightly."
Last season DePaul made that mistake and it cost them, losing to opponents such as North Carolina A&T and Illinois-Chicago at home. However, the team showed flashes of promise notching a victory over Villanova at home, a squad that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in last year's NCAA Tournament.
This season, the Blue Demons have a lighter non-conference schedule compared to the last few seasons, facing opponents such as Albany, Detroit, Indiana State, and Morgan State, among others. However, the team will be tested against the likes of California, Northwestern, and UCLA, along with its Big East conference schedule. It'll be interesting to see if DePaul can consistently maintain its preparedness throughout the year.
Regardless, the Blue Demons are ready to go.
Walker, Blue Demons Ready To Start Season
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