Editor's Note: The BIG EAST will be previewing both the men's and women's team from each BIG EAST member each weekday from October 22 to November 9 in advance of the 2012-13 season. Use hashtag #BECountdown to join the conversation on Twitter.
DePaul Blue Demons Men's Basketball
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The Big Picture:
The Blue Demons showed significant improvement last year in coach Oliver Purnell's second season. The cornerstones have been forward Cleveland Melvin and guard Brandon Young. Both will be juniors this season. Now, the Blue Demons want their continued improvement to translate into a move up the in the standings. The team returns six of its top seven scorers from last year.
Melvin, a 6-foot-8 forward, is the BIG EAST's top returning scorer after averaging 17.5 points last season. He also averaged 7.4 rebounds while earning All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention recognition. Two seasons ago, he was the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. Young, a 6-foot-4 guard, averaged 14.5 points and 4.7 assists. Melvin and Young were ranked among the top scoring sophomore duos in the country. Forward Jamee Crockett started 16 games as a freshman last year and averaged 8.6 points. Forward Moses Morgan was enjoying a fine sophomore season until he was slowed by a head injury in early February. He averaged 9.0 points in 26 games and made a team-high 54 3-pointers. Junior college transfer Worrel Clahar was an able reserve in the backcourt, averaging 6.0 points in 16.8 minutes of playing time. Guard Charles McKinney started 15 times as a freshman and averaged 4.2 points. Forward Donnavan Kirk helped in the frontcourt, averaging 3.5 points and 4.0 rebounds.
Krys Faber was a rugged center who averaged 4.0 points and 4.7 boards. Guard Jeremiah Kelly averaged 8.6 points and 3.9 assists while serving as a perimeter shooting threat with Crockett.
Purnell wants to continue his running style and has more depth this season to execute that plan. The team returns 84 percent of its scoring, 79 percent of its rebounding and just over 77 percent of its minutes played from last season. Melvin and Young are veterans of the BIG EAST wars and now have more experienced comrades to help the Blue Demon cause. The newcomers, including 6-foot-8 freshman Montray Clemons who missed last season due to a knee injury, could help immediately close to the basket.