New Faces in Old Places at DePaul

You can never have too many basketball minds to help a college basketball coaching staff. At least that is the belief in Lincoln Park these days as DePaul has recently added three to their administrative staff – Dave Corzine, Tom Kleinschmidt, and Barron Thelmon.

This trio is returning to their roots to enter college basketball coaching. Two of the three are familiar names to long-time DePaul basketball fans. Corzine and Kleinschmidt are former Blue Demons who were legends on the court. While Thelmon is returning to where he played high school basketball in the Chicago Public League at Curie.

Dave Corzine was a center for DePaul from 1974-78. He led the Blue Demons to a 27-3 record and an Elite Eight finish in the NCAA tournament his senior year. He is the only player in school history to snare over 1,000 rebounds.

Corzine went on to a professional career in the NBA for 13 seasons where he played for the Washington Bullets, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic and Seattle SuperSonics.

Corzine had most recently been working courtside as a color analyst for the Blue Demons radio broadcasts along with play-by-play man Zach Zaidman. He decided to get out from behind the microphone and join the Blue Demons as their Director of Operations.

"Dave coming in is a Director of Basketball Operations kind of gives us links to some of the past DePaul success," said DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright.

Corzine is one of only four players to score more points at DePaul than Tom Kleinschmidt, who scored 1,837 points at DePaul from 1991 to 1995. He was named the Great Midwest Conference's player of the year in his senior season.

Kleinschmidt went on to tryout for the Seattle Supersonics and then played for the Chicago Rockers of the CBA before heading overseas for over 10 years to play in Italy, Japan, and Venezuela.

He's now back at DePaul where he is tying up some loose ends while working with the basketball team. "Tommy is finishing his degree as an intern," Wainwright said of the guy that he once recruited while at Wake Forest University.

Kleinschmidt wasn't the only one recruited by Wainwright. Barron Thelmon left Chicago after graduating from Curie High School in the late 90's for Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa. The point guard led his team to a 75-1 record over two years while winning two NJCAA national championships. From there Thelmon ended up being recruiting by Wainwright to UNC-Wilmington. Thelmon was the starting point guard for the Seahawks in the backcourt with Brett Blizzard on Wainwright's NCAA tournament team in March of 2000.

After his playing days at Wilmington were over, Thelmon assisted current DePaul assistant coach Scott Wainwright at Cape Fear Community College in North Carolina. Thelmon also played professional basketball with the Wilmington Waverockers of the XBA and the Hunstville Flight of the D-League.

With his playing career now over, Thelmon has returned to his native Chicago to help out the Blue Demons.

"One of the things that Barron Thelmon gives us is a younger guy who is a Chicago guy who played for me. No matter how bad it gets he can relate to our players how bad it was for him to play for me at Wilmington," said Wainwright with a laugh.

Corzine, Kleinschmidt, and Thelmon each bring something to the 2008-09 DePaul team. "Obviously, all three guys want to coach," Jerry said. "They really can't do all the things that coaches do. What we've tried to do is add some things that will help the kids more off the court and mentor them a little bit more."

It seems like the DePaul staff is growing to the point where there are almost as many coaches as there are players. Don't be surprised if more are added to the staff in the future. "Anyone who's interested in coaching with a DePaul background, we'd like to help," Wainwright expressed. "Cliff Clinkscales may be coming back in the winter. He's talked about coaching. A couple of our managers want to be coaches. That's one of the great things I've been able to be a part of is I've been around a lot of guys who are now in coaching. I've had players, managers, and some assistants who are now head coaches."

"I've always said that the bigger your family, the more chance you have to have fun," Wainwright shared. "I think right now, there are a lot of positive voices around our offices and the locker room. I think that will help our kids."

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