Center of attention: Kirk is fifth Demon to transfer

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There’s a major shift at the big man position for the upcoming men’s basketball season.

Starting center Donnavan Kirk was granted his release from DePaul after two seasons with the team. This is his second transfer in his collegiate career – Kirk left Miami after the 2010-2011 season.

With Kirk set to leave, the men’s basketball team landed a quality transfer with Purdue forward Sandi Marcius committing to DePaul for his senior season.

The moves come as a surprise. As a junior, Kirk saw major improvement throughout the course of last season. He averaged 6.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game in 25.3 minutes per game last season. It was a development over his previous season, where he averaged 3.5 points per game in 18 minutes a game.

WeAreDePaul.com first reported the news as did Jorge Milan of the Palm Beach Post. No reason was given as to why Kirk wanted to transfer in those reports and the DePaul Athletic Department declined to comment. Kirk himself retweeted the reports on his Twitter account. He has been granted permission to contact other universities about transfer options.

The 6-foot-9-inch Marcius played in a limited role during his three seasons at Purdue, but improved his quality of play down the stretch of last season. In his last 11 games, Marcius shot 56 percent from the field and averaged 6.1 points per game.

Marcius’ transfer comes after a month-long battle with Purdue and head coach Matt Painter. To be eligible to play, Marcius would have needed to be a graduate school senior and enroll in summer classes. However, according to reports, Purdue would not pay for those classes, which could cost as much as $7,000.

“We have invested four years and significant resources into helping Sandi develop from both an educational and athletic standpoint,” said Painter in an April statement. “Certainly, having Sandi here for a fifth year was in our plans and we anticipated him having a great final year in our program.”

While it’s not clear on what happened with Marcius’ summer classes, what’s clear now is that he is a Blue Demon. Evan Daniels of Scout.com first reported the story and also reported that he’ll be eligible immediately. 

The moves with Kirk and Marcius are not the only moves the Blue Demons have made this offseason to improve the quality of bigs. DePaul has added other big men through recruiting. Players such as Tommy Hamilton Jr., Greg Sequele and Forrest Robinson were added to provide size and fit in head coach Oliver Purnell’s up-tempo system.

Hamilton is the son of former NBA player Tommy Hamilton Sr. and is from the Chicago area. He played his senior year of high school at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Hamilton is 6 feet 10 inches tall and also played three seasons at Chicago’s Whitney Young High School.

Robinson is also 6 feet 10 inches tall, transferring from South Plains Junior College. Robinson averaged 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds per game in his freshman season. Sequele is a 6-foot-9 junior college transfer, coming from Citrus Junior College where he averaged 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds a game.