On Monday it was revealed that DePaul Blue Demons forward Cleveland Melvin was no longer enrolled at the university. Melvin had been suspended since January 25th for an unspecified violation of team rules. He has missed the last four games and in that time, the Demons (10-14, 2-9 Big East) have gone 0-4. Neither the school nor Melvin has revealed the circumstances surrounding his suspension or departure.
We may never find out why the Baltimore native was suspended, but it can be assumed that his punishment played a part in his leaving the program. Regardless, coach Oliver Purnell and his team must find a way to move on without him. That however will be easier said than done. Melvin is the teams leading scorer (16.7 points per game), rebounder (6.4 rebounds per game), best three point shooter (471-percent), and leading shot blocker (31).
His ability to do it all, and endure the hard times that his program has gone through, has given DePaul fans a reason to believe that better days are ahead. Replacing his production is almost impossible. Purnell will probably have to recruit another player like him (if there’s even one to be found). But here is what DePaul can do in the meantime…..
Sophomore forward DeJuan Marrero has been starting in Melvin’s spot and will probably continue to do so. Currently he is only averaging 1.6 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Perhaps becoming a permanent starter will allow him to be more productive. DePaul could also switch things up by starting a third guard next to Billy Garrett Jr. and Brandon Young-most likely Charles McKinney-and having freshman Tommy Hamilton IV and fifth-year senior Sandi Marcius as the only men up front.
The loss of Melvin will also mean more playing time for sophomore forward Peter Ryckbosch who is currently averaging six minutes per game. This may also be a good time to reinstate junior forward Jamee Crockett. Last year he was one of the most consistent shooters for the Blue Demons. If he can get back in game shape, he could provide a sense of consistency that could help the Demons get by for the remainder of the season.
DePaul plays host to Villanova (21-2, 9-1 Big East) at the Allstate Arena on Wednesday night. Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82