Tyger watch ends, questions remain


Tyger Campbell is officially off to UCLA. (Photo Courtesy of NBC Sports)

When Tyger Campbell left DePaul basketball fans hanging on the edge of their seats by going silent on Feb. 1, the day he was supposed to announce his final college choice, everyone seemed to be thinking the same thing: cold feet — and the UCLA campus would be a very practical place to warm them up.

You can’t blame him. It’s hard for any elite student-athlete to make a deeply personal and life-changing decision in public, but Campbell had the weight of a university on his shoulders. For DePaul, it was ‘Tyger or bust’ and he knew that too. But he also knew, like everyone else outside Chicago, that UCLA is the best place for him and his future.

“The selling point on DePaul for (Campbell) was the city,” Rick Carter, a former associate head coach who helped recruit Campbell, said. “You get national exposure from being (in Chicago). At UCLA you get the same thing.”

Campbell is among a finite group of individuals vying for a spot in an even more finite group — the NBA.  He could be a king at DePaul, or opt for the highest percentage route to the NBA. He was simply too good for us.

Now that DePaul’s biggest recruit in two decades has officially turned his back on Lincoln Park, it’s time to examine what DePaul has to offer the country’s top high school talent — and it’s not a lot.

Our glory days are now useless for recruiting, so far gone that no high schoolers were alive the last time DePaul was in the NCAA Tournament.

Campbell was a rare opportunity.  A recruit at the top of his class with a genuine connection to the school, but even that couldn’t keep him in Lincoln Park.

So why are we supposed to believe that Wintrust is going to bring in the recruits as promised?  If we couldn’t land a best-case-scenario recruit with Wintrust at our disposal, why would it work with somebody else?

If there is a silver lining in Campbell’s final walk away from Lincoln Park,  it’s that there’s now proof that the recruits just aren’t sticking to Wintrust and President A. Gabriel Esteban has reason to start making real changes.