Cleveland Melvin – Melvin filled up the scorer’s sheet. He finished with 33 points (including 3 for 11 from three), 8 rebounds, and 1 block in 33 minutes. His perimeter shot was always near the rim, and as has been reported, looked improve. Still, he was the most effective when attacking the rim and around the hoop. When Melvin scores around the hoops it is effortless and quiet. I was concentrating so much on his perimeter game that before I knew it he already had 30 points.
Charles McKinney – This was the first opportunity to see McKinney play an extended time besides for a few minutes in a noncompetitive Blue Madness scrimmage and some France highlights. I walked away the most impressed by McKinney on the night. It didn’t show up in the stat line, 6 points (3-3), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, and 3 turnovers in 21 minutes, but he will be an important piece this season. He uses his long arms, lateral quickness, and tenacity to dominate defensively. He also is a lot faster than I expected with good body control. After a slow start for the Demons, he had a putback dunk that got everyone’s attention.
Transition Offense – DePaul looked the best when attacking the rim. With an injection of athleticism this season, they have effective finishers around the rim. Against a division 2 team the athleticism stood out more (However, Lewis does have some nice athletes for D2, specifically Julian Lewis and Lonnie Lawrence). Regardless of the results on the court, DePaul will be an entertaining brand of basketball.
Cleveland Melvin – So how can you be both good and bad, well if you were at the game you know why. To say Melvin took too many three is an understatement. I watched the second half with Norman from East Coast Bias, and he made the comment that he wished he had missed more on some of his threes than he actually did. I have to agree, because maybe then it would encourage him to shoot less. Melvin was 11-14 from inside the arc, and that is where he should spend most of his time if DePaul is to see any resemblance of success this year. If Melvin is serious about extending to the three-point range, he’ll need to improve to around 35% and lower the number of attempts. Overall, DePaul was 9-34 (26.5%) from three point, and as a team they’ll need to improve.
Moses Morgan – I was hoping that Morgan would come out guns blazing from three and prove to be the third scorer this team needs. He did come out shooting threes, but struggled only shooting 1-5, and 2-13 overall for 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. He’ll need to improve, because DePaul can’t afford for him to be off again during the nonconference schedule. To his credit, he was often defending Lewis’ 4s and did a great job of taking charges.
Defense – It was hard to judge the defense considering DePaul didn’t press much of the entire game. The half court defense was not good. Multiple players blew assignments and the help side defense was often late. As a result, players were often in a bad position to rebound, which led to the team getting out rebounded 45 to 40 including giving up 15 offensive rebounds.
Worrel Clahar was good on man-to-man defense, but needs to attack on the offense more often. The few open shots Clahar had didn’t fall. Brandon Young ran the offense well and his shot looks improved, but he needs to look to score more frequently. Kelly was solid and ended up the second leading scorer with 14 points. Krys Faber got his first 2 fouls in 90 seconds. He lacked touch against smaller defenders and saw limited minutes due to foul trouble. Jamee Crockett only played 4 minutes after being cleared to play earlier today. Derrell Roberston showed some signs that he could be a useful piece on the back of the press.
In the Gym:
As I walked to get my ticket, Jabari Parker approached the gym next to me. His father Sonny was also in the gym. Jabari sat next to his friend and DePaul commit Billy Garret Jr. Despite the lack of success DePaul has recently had, having Jabari around the program is a great sign. 2012 6’7 combo-forward, Deontae Hawkins is also on the Lincoln Park campus on his official visit.
Overall, there is a lot too be hopeful about (mostly Melvin's production and Parker's appearance), and a lot to be concerned. In reality, I didn’t see anything tonight, good or bad, that would sway my opinion on the team’s predicted success. I'll be more interested in their game next week vs Texas Pan-American when it really counts.
Let me know if you have any questions about the play tonight, and if you were at the game be sure to share what you thought in the comments section below