A Change We Can Believe In

Perhaps the unusually cold temperatures of the latest Chicago winter have numbed more then just our hands and feet. The mighty wind gusts as well as the inches upon inches of snow have successfully frozen our love for DePaul basketball. We the fans have found ourselves lying dormant like roses ever so patiently waiting for the spring.

Ah, but in all seriousness, when is softball season?

This winter could not get any worse for DePaul and head coach Jerry Wainwright. With Saturday's loss at Rutgers, it's becoming more and more evident that DePaul will not win a Big East contest this season. After trailing from start to finish against a Rutgers squad that previously sat alongside the Demons in the cellar of the Big East standings, one can only wonder how much worse things can get.

Ironically enough, the leading scorer for the Scarlet Knights Saturday night was a freshman by the name of Mike Rosario. Rosario, a product of St. Anthony's High School in Jersey City was a high school All-American and one of the most sought after guards in the country. With that being said, why would one of the nation's top prospects choose Rutgers and head Coach Fred Hill over high majors such as Georgetown and Virginia Tech? Well the answer is simple; Rosario is on a mission that most high school hoop stars wouldn't dare embark on – putting the hopes of a city on his shoulders. "I think of it like I can be the prince of New Jersey," Rosario said in an interview last year with Sports Illustrated. Rosario could be more then a just a prince if he successfully leads Rutgers to new heights in the next coming years, the young point guard could be the king of Jersey.

So the question remains, why can't DePaul begin to go after some quality in-state kids? Although sophomore Mac Koshwal and freshman Jeremiah Kelly hail from Boys to Men Academy in Chicago, Boys to Men was a prep school designed solely for basketball and later shut down. Additionally, Kelly went to American Christian Prep School in Aston, Pennsylvania shortly after Loren Jackson's institution was closed. Koshwal, on the other hand, comes from Chicago by way of Canada, via Sudan. Will Walker the 3rd "Chicago Resident", a Bolingbrook grad is finally starting to show why he was a highly regarded as a high school prospect.

Do the names, Derrick Rose (Memphis), Evan Turner (Ohio State), Demetri McCamey (Illinois), Mike Dunigan (Oregon), Iman Shumpert (Georgia Tech), Matt Humphrey (Oregon), Lewis Jackson (Purdue), and Dion Dixon (Cincinnati) ring a bell? I could go on; however, I'll stop there and focus on 2009. Let's see… Brandon Paul will be heading South to Champaign for his college career, Diamond Taylor will be heading North to Madison and Chris Colvin will travel West to Ames, Iowa. Jack Cooley will sleep next to the Golden Dome and play for Mike Brey at Notre Dame while sharp shooter Matt Vogrich will head to Ann Arbor. Oh yeah, Cully Payne… he's going to Alabama if you haven't heard. Do I dare mention the top two uncommitted seniors, Darius Smith of Chicago Marshall and Marcus Jordan of Chicago Young? Don't bank on Smith or Jordan donning the blue and scarlet anytime soon.

Maybe none of those guys have the intestinal fortitude of Mike Rosario, or maybe none of those guys care that DePaul was once the epicenter of college basketball and that the Allstate Arena (formerly known as the Rosemont Horizon) was once one of the toughest venues in college basketball. Please excuse them though, these days most kids' prerogatives lie in the present and the future, not the past. But is it their fault, or has Wainwright and his staff not reminded the up and coming talented prospects that they too could become princes and kings, of one of the largest markets in the world, Chicago, Illinois? Did we forget our history is marked with Chicago talents such as Steven Hunter (Proviso East), Bobby Simmons (Simeon), Andre Brown (Leo), Quintin Richardson (Young), Mark Aguirre (Westinghouse), Dave Corzine (Hersey), and George Mikan (Joilet Catholic) to new a few. Is DePaul that tough of a sell, or is it because the market is just so bad that no one has the money or time to invest in property that just might not hold its value.

Our nation elected a president based on his idea that Change is possible, even after eight years of turmoil. Perhaps Wainwright should steal a page from President Obama and begin to preach that yes, change in DePaul basketball can happen, and that yes we can rise from the ashes of college basketball. And this message must start now and it must start within the city limits of Chicago, not Michigan, California, or New York. Those guys don't understand the school that Ray Meyer built and they'll never understand what it means to have the swagger or the attitude of a kid born and raised in Chicago.

So the solution is simple, let's go back to our roots and start harvesting the fruitful fields in our own backyard rather than traveling halfway across the United States, and halfway across the world in some instances. Constantly discovering what we need lies within a 30 mile radius of Lincoln Park. After all, not all Roses die during the harsh winter months, just ask the Chicago Bulls.

So DePaul fans, let's not fold up shop just yet - after all our history guides our future and our history lies within Chicago.

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