One of the few good things about last year’s DePaul men’s hoops team was it’s clutch sharpshooting. Players like guard Worrell Clahar, forwards Moses Morgan and Jamee Crockett, and occasionally Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young all provided the Blue Demons biggest offensive strength last season. This year the situation is a little different…. Clahar graduated over the summer, Morgan transferred, and the roles of Melvin and Young are a little different heading into this season.
That leaves Crockett as the only solid jump shooter available, or so it would seem……. During the offseason DePaul head coach Oliver Purnell made some strides in recruiting and rebuilding his roster to help with the perimeter game. They brought in Illinois transfer Myke Henry who has a good shot of being the Demons’ sixth-man this season. They also added freshmen Billy Garrett Jr. (son of assistant coach Billy Sr.) and R.J. Curington from Virginia’s legendary Oak Hill Academy.
There is also one more player who can pitch in with the outside shooting, enter returning sophomore guard/forward DeJuan Marrero. The Gary, Indiana native spent all of his freshman year on the injured list. During the final week of preseason practice in October of 2012, the 6-5 Marrero tore the ACL in his right knee.
He spent the rest of the season on the bench and watched helplessly as his team struggled to a dismal 11-21 record. Coming out of Bowman Academy, Marrero was averaging 20 points and 14 rebounds per game. He was also a highly ranked recruit and was a McDonald’s All-American nominee. His credentials would have been a great asset for last year’s Blue Demon team.
Now that he’s healthy, the communications major will finally get his chance to perform in a DePaul jersey. Perhaps it is fate as his opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time. The Demons are in the midst of a rebuilding process that includes added depth across the board, new talent, a new conference and a renewed sense of hope.
With DePaul looking to make their first postseason appearance in seven years, Coach Purnell will be looking for production from all of his players including Marrero.
“We’re glad to have him back” Purnell said, “He provides a lot of energy and plays extremely hard. He gave us that last year before he had the knee injury.”
When DePaul takes the court against Lewis University on Tuesday night (an exhibition game), we may finally get to see the energy that Marrero is capable of providing. Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82