#92 DePaul Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

DePaul Blue Demons
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #92
Conference Rank: #11 Big East
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Last season began full of promise for DePaul as they opened the year 12-1 with wins over Iowa, Texas Tech and Minnesota. However, once conference play began the bottom fell out for the Blue Demons as they finished just 3-15 against Big East competition. DePaul was competitive in many of those losses; they just failed to consistently pull out tough wins. This year, two of their top three scorers have departed, but three starters return and a group of grad transfers join to help boost the Demons’ experience. The Big East is always a deep and competitive league, and DePaul will have their hands full again keeping up in 2020-21.
2019-20 Record: 16-16, 3-15
Coach: Dave Leitao
Coach Record: 123-132 at DePaul, 208-227 overall
Key Departed Players:
Paul Reed, Forward, 15.1 ppg
Jalen Coleman-Lands, Guard, 11.1 ppg
Devin Gage, Guard, 4.5 ppg
Flynn Cameron, Guard, 2.3 ppg

Key Returning Players:
Charlie Moore, Senior, Guard, 15.5 ppg
Jaylen Butz, Senior, Forward, 10.1 ppg
Romeo Weems, Sophomore, Forward, 8.0 ppg
Darious Hall, Junior, Forward, 4.5 ppg
Markese Jacobs, Sophomore, Guard, 3.2 ppg
Nick Ongenda, Sophomore, Forward, 2.7 ppg
DJ Williams, Senior, Forward, 1.6 ppg
Oscar Lopez, Sophomore, Guard, 0.9 ppg
Key New Players:
Kobe Elvis, Freshman, Guard

Javon Freeman-Liberty, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Valparaiso, Pending Waiver
Pauly Paulicap, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from Manhattan
Brian Patrick, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Fort Wayne
Ray Salnave, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Monmouth
Losing Paul Reed and Jalen Coleman-Lands will be tough, but DePaul will return a solid core trio of Charlie Moore, Jaylen Butz and Romeo Weems. Moore had a strong debut season at DePaul, averaging 15.5 points, 6.1 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals. Moore led the Big East in assists and was the only player in the conference to finish top ten in scoring, assists and steals. Jaylen Butz averaged 10.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals as a junior. Butz was one of the most efficient scorers in the conference, ranking third in the Big East in field goal percentage at 59.3%. Romeo Weems was one of the top ranked recruits in DePaul history, and though his freshman campaign was slightly underwhelming he did make the Big East All-Freshman Team. Weems averaged 8.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals, and he is poised for a breakout sophomore season. Arkansas transfer Darious Hall was a solid role player in his first year at DePaul and should see an expanded role this season. Markese Jacobs, Nick Ongenda and Oscar Lopez all also return to add bench depth. DJ Williams became eligible midway through last season and only played in 11 games. Williams led George Washington in scoring two seasons ago, so DePaul will be expecting more production out of him this season. Three grad transfers will be joining the Blue Demons for their final collegiate season. Ray Salnave is coming off an All-MAAC season as a junior at Monmouth where he averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals. Pauly Paulicap joined Salnave as an All-MAAC member last season at Manhattan behind 10.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. Brian Patrick spent two seasons at Kansas State before spending last year at Fort Wayne where he averaged 11.1 points and 3.4 rebounds. However, the biggest potential addition for DePaul is Javon Freeman-Liberty who is awaiting a decision on a waiver to play this season. Freeman-Liberty spent the last two seasons as Valparaiso and averaged 19.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.2 steals as a sophomore. If Freeman-Liberty is eligible, DePaul’s ceiling will be notably higher. In any event, the Big East has been a beast that DePaul hasn’t been able to conquer since joining in 2005. The returning trio, the grad transfers and the potential arrival of Freeman-Liberty all help DePaul’s chances of breaking the streak, but expectations should still remain tempered.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.7 (190th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.1 (224, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.7 (180, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.5 (86, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.7 (306, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.3 (282, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.8 (317, 9)
Rebound Margin: 0.4 (175, 8)
Assists Per Game: 13.6 (134, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.7 (305, 10)
Madness 2021 NBA Draft Rankings:
#30 Romeo Weems