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Two major 2014 recruits set eyes on DePaul’s men basketball

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Could DePaul’s dry-spell of landing big time recruits finally be coming to an end?

Two of 2014’s top recruits – Cliff Alexander and Paul White – announced Monday they have lined up official visits to visit DePaul University in the upcoming months.

Alexander, ranked a five-star recruit on Rivals recruiting and number two on ESPN’s top 100 list of prospects for 2014, tweeted that he will take his official visit to DePaul Thursday. That tweet has since been erased, but Alexander announced in June that DePaul was in his top 10 list of schools.

White, ranked a four-star recruit and number 57 on ESPN’s top 100, tweeted that DePaul is in his top five of schools. ChicagoHoops.com reported that White will be visiting DePaul Oct. 25-27. The Blue Demons are the last school on his visit schedule.

Landing either prospect, according to Roy Schmidt of the scouting website Illinois Prep Bulls-eye, would be a game changer.

“(Alexander and White) are players that are capable of moving you towards the top of the Big East conference,” Schmidt, who has over 27 years of experience in evaluating talent, said. “They are players you can win with. And certainly, they could reach the NCAA tournament, which is undoubtedly DePaul’s ultimate goal at this point.”

Both players are local products of Chicago. Alexander attends Curie Metropolitan, while Paul White attends Whitney Young. Alexander and White both play AAU basketball as well.

Alexander, standing at 6-feet-9-inches, has been drawing interest from some of the best schools in the nation. Kansas (which landed this year’s top recruit Andrew Wiggins) and Louisville (2012’s champion) are among the many schools interested. Alexander has also listed Illinois in his top 10, making it the only other in-state school on his list.

Despite the competition, Schmidt said that Alexander lining up an official visit should be taken as a positive.

“It’s huge news for DePaul,” Schmidt said. “I do know that Cliff has a very strong relationship with (DePaul men’s head coach) Oliver Purnell and that’s something that definitely bodes well for DePaul.”

Besides DePaul, White listed Arizona, Georgetown, UConn and Minnesota in his top five. According to Schmidt, the order of White’s visits could play crucial on whether or not he chooses DePaul.

“What’s going to prove to be a very big factor in Paul White’s recruitment is whether he ends up making it through all those officially visits; there’s still a possibility he may not,” Schmidt said. “We’ll see if he makes it all the way through. I’ll say this: if he does, I think DePaul has heck of a shot at landing him.”

Right now, the Blue Demons has two recruits committed to play for the 2014 season. Myke Henry, who transferred to DePaul this summer after two years with Illinois, will have his first year of eligibility with the team next year. Rashaun Stimage committed to DePaul and is transferring from South Dakota JuCo, a two year junior college, in 2014. He will be eligible to play right away.

If DePaul lands either Alexander or White, it would be another sign that DePaul has a newfound success in recruiting local Chicago talent. Both Henry and Stimage played high school basketball in Chicago. The Blue Demons also have Chicago products Billy Garrett Jr. and Tommy Hamilton on the team as well.
So far under Purnell, DePaul has only secured one top-100 talent (Billy Garrett Jr.) in his four years at DePaul. Purnell also found success recruiting Cleveland Melvin, who won Big East Rookie of the Year in 2011.

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Two major 2014 recruits set eyes on DePaul’s men basketball