One of the most eventful off seasons in recent DePaul Men’s basketball history continued to roll right along over the summer with two new additions to the 2017-18 roster.
It all started in early May when DePaul announced that Shane Heirman, head coach of Indiana’s high school powerhouse La Lumiere, would join Dave Leitao’s staff as an assistant coach for the 2017-18 season. The move paid dividends almost immediately as La Lumeire’s star point guard Tyger Campbell made a surprise commitment to DePaul, picking the Blue Demons over a handful of top-25 programs.
Campbell, aside from having the best hair in basketball since Ben Wallace, is the first five-star recruit and the biggest name to grace Lincoln Park since Quintin Richardson in 1998. While he won’t be at DePaul until the 2018-19 season, grabbing someone of his talent gives the program some hope that has been hard to find over the last decade.
Campbell was, of course, the headliner, but DePaul made a couple of moves since then to bolster their roster as they head into the next few seasons.
In late June, it was announced that DePaul grabbed big-man Marin Maric as a graduate transfer from Northern Illinois (NIU). Listed at 6’11” and 250 pounds, Maric joins Levi Cook as the only two true centers on the team. For a team that started 6’7” Joe Hanel at center for much of last season, Maric is a welcome addition.
“His size and skill level speak for themselves as I think he will be at the top of the BIG EAST in terms of post players.” head coach Dave Leito said.
Maric is coming off a season in which he lead the NIU Huskies in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 14.4 and 8.4 per game, respectively. While he does not have much range in terms of shooting, the newly rostered Blue Demon uses crafty footwork and his large frame to find easy points around the rim, where his size makes him difficult to guard.
Of course, size comes with its disadvantages as well, as an overall lack of speed and athleticism will make it interesting to see how Maric will match up against players that are similar in size.
In July, the La Lumiere connection came through once more, though admittedly in less spectacular fashion. Former teammate to Tyler Campbell, Jalen Coleman-Lands transferred to DePaul after two seasons at Illinois. Due to NCAA rules, the upcoming junior will have to sit out the 2017-18 season before joining Campbell in 2018-19. Until we get to see him in action, coach Leiato says he will still be valuable.
“For the upcoming season, he’ll provide our team great competition in practice and as a player with two years of experience he’ll give us leadership on and off the court,” said Leiato.
When he does play, Lands promises to provide heaps of three pointers. In fact, they are just about all he shot during his time at Illinois. 393 of his 536 shots were from behind the arc, about 73-percent.
Coleman-Lands set the freshman school record with 87 three-pointers during his first year, on 42-percent shooting. He followed that up with 71 threes on 38-percent shooting last season. Having a great wing talent like this will be great for a point guard like Campbell, especially in a time when three-point shooting is becoming a focus of all offenses, if Lands can expand his offensive repertoire things could go to a next level.
It wasn’t all sunshine for the Demons, as rising sophomore forward (and former La Lumiere player, ironically) Al Eichelberger decided to transfer, siphoning more size from the Demons.