July 2, 2011
CHICAGO - DePaul men's basketball coach Oliver Purnell will be featured Sunday night on WGN's "Instant Replay." Purnell sat down with WGN's Dan Roan earlier this week to talk about the transition into his second year of leading the program and the team's upcoming trip to France.
"Instant Replay" follow WGN's Sunday night news and starts at 9:40 p.m. Roan, WGN's sports anchor, hosts the weekly show that takes an expanded look at weekend sports.
The Blue Demons travel to France on Aug. 11 for a 10-day excursion titled "In the Footsteps of St. Vincent." While in France, the team and fans will visit Paris, Toulouse and Nice and play four games during the tour that runs Aug. 11-21.
Unlike other college basketball overseas experiences, the DePaul men's program will be immersed in the history of St. Vincent de Paul - the namesake of DePaul University - and also use the opportunity to integrate the team's newcomers on and off the court. The student-athletes will take a course titled "The Life and Times of Vincent de Paul" to prepare for the trip and after crossing the Atlantic Ocean they will walk in the footsteps of St. Vincent de Paul.
NCAA regulations allow DePaul to conduct 10 days of practice prior to leaving for France and the overseas trips are allowed once every four years. Purnell and his staff used four of the practice days over the last two weeks and the team returns to the court in early August for the final six days of practice.
The early practice sessions were a chance to integrate a six-player freshmen class that includes Macari Brooks (Matteson, Ill.), Montray Clemons (Baltimore, Md.), Jamee Crockett (Chicago, Ill.), Shane Larkin (Cincinnati, Ohio), Charles McKinney (Evanston, Ill.) and Derrell Robertson Jr. (Pinola, Miss.). In addition to the six rookies, transfer Donnavan Kirk will be allowed to practice in August prior to the trip but will not be able to travel under NCAA transfer guidelines. Kirk joined the Blue Demons in January at the start of the Winter Quarter and will be eligible to play following the conclusion of 2011 Autumn Quarter exams just before the Thanksgiving holiday. The Pontiac, Mich. native was a redshirt freshman at Miami (Fla.) at the start of the 2010-11 season.
DePaul's seven newcomers join a core of returners led by BIG EAST Rookie of the Year Cleveland Melvin. Melvin led DePaul with 14.3 points per game last season and broke Mark Aguirre's freshman field percentage record by shooting .522 from the field. Aguirre held the previous freshman mark of .520 in 1978-79. Overall, the Blue Demons return their top five scorers from last season including BIG EAST All-Rookie Team member Brandon Young who averaged 12.6 points per game and led all BIG EAST rookies with 3.71 assists per game.