Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blue Madness - Freeland & Brooks out for the season, and Sonny Parker (pictures and video)

I wanted to share a few quick notes about Blue Madness, but before I must discuss the news that broke beforehand.

Madness truly broke upon the news release before the event that junior forward Tony Freeland would miss the entire 2011-12 basketball season due to a shoulder injury and freshman guard Macari Brooks was ruled academically ineligible for the 2011-12 season.

The loss of Freeland hurts a frontcourt that is already full of uncertainty. Freeland, despite being undersized, proved to be an effective rebounder and scorer in the Big East. For DePaul to compete with some of the bigger frontlines in the conference, sophomore Donnavan Kirk, and freshman Montray Clemons (assuming he’s health—more on that later) and Derrell Robertson must contribute. The loss of Freeland also causes reason to believe that he may not finish his career at DePaul. Purely speculation at this point, but the release states Freeland “will have two seasons of eligibility after sitting out the 2011-12 campaign”. With Coach Purnell making strides on the recruiting trail and Freeland’s time off the court, he might find more playing time at another University.

Brooks loss was more anticipated as it has been long rumored he’d had academic eligibility issues. News first broke of his academic troubles when he was denied permission to travel on the team’s summer trip to France. Brooks ruling by the NCAA Clearinghouse determined “partial relief through the waiver process”. “This ruling allows Brooks to attend DePaul with full financial aid, but not compete during the 2011-12 season. He will be able to participate in competition starting with the 2012-13 campaign.” I was a big fan of Brooks coming out of Rich South because he was just scratching the surface on his talent level. Like Freeland, time off the court might persuade him to pursue playing time somewhere else. Editor's Note: It was originally reported that Brooks was not at Midnight Madness, but some have indicated that he was there, just dressed in street clothes. I, however, did not see him.

Now onto Blue Madness:

Former Demon Bobby Simmons

  • Attendance was improved this year. At the beginning the arena was about 4/5 full, but after the dunk contest only few remained. The Athletic Department did a noticeably better job organizing this year’s event.
  • Former DePaul Blue Demon Bobby Simmons was in the building. He judged the dunk contest and was by far the hardest judge on the contestant. Great to see a former Demon supporting the program.
  • Going into Blue Madness national recruiting analyst highlighted the outrageous number of recruits scheduled to be on campus this weekend. What they didn’t point out is that most will be stopping by on Sunday. There were a few notable recruits in attendance including verbal commits Billy Garrett Jr. and DeJuan Marrero. Marrero is in Chicago on his official visit. There was, however, one recruit not in attendance that made the most news
    Jabari Parker's father Sonny chats
    with Assistant Coach Billy Garret and
    DePaul President Fr. Holtschneider
  • After first reported, word quickly spread that Sonny Parker and his wife Lola, parents on No. 1 recruit Jabari Parker, were in attendance. Since Jabari is training in Colorado with Team USA, his parent’s attendance was the next best thing. Sonny seemed to know everyone and sat at the scorer’s booth most of the time. His relationship with Assistant Coach Billy Garrett Sr. plays a key role in allowing DePaul to give the Parkers their pitch
  • During warm-ups freshman forward Montray Clemons was going for a dunk, slipped, and fell, landing awkwardly. He immediately went to the bench and sat down, seemingly favoring his right leg. The team went into the locker room between the women and men’s scrimmages and Clemons returned on crutches. It would be major blow to the team if the injury is extended, and hopefully more information will be available following the open practice tomorrow.
  • The highlight of the night was junior 5’10 (maybe) point guard Worrel Clahar winning the dunk contest. The first round produced perfect scores by each contestant and in final death Clahar won with the dunk below:

I’m going to avoid giving much analysis from the scrimmage, because after all, it is Blue Madness. The event is more of a pep rally than practice. One thing I will say is that the team is noticeable more athletic. Seriously, it is night and day from last year. Will that athleticism lead to wins? Will have to wait to find out.

  -- Up Next: Analysis from DePaul’s open practice --

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