Senior guard’s recent production rejuvenates struggling offense


Donald Crocker

Courvoisier McCauley going up for a shot against three Creighton players on Thursday night.

With 4:04 remaining in the first half of the men’s basketball game against Butler on Tuesday, DePaul sophomore guard Jalen Terry stood on the right baseline, waiting for senior guard Courvoisier McCauley to run off a pair of screens into the right corner.

It’s not uncommon to run off of a dead ball; getting a man free on an inbounds can set up the rest of the possession or, when done well, it can spring a shooter for a shot — albeit with a trailing defender bearing down on them.

Well, defender be damned, he made it.

“He is good at just making tough shots,” graduate forward Brandon Johnson said. “Just shots that you don’t think have a chance. He could be losing the ball, falling out of bounds, and somehow he just manages to make the toughest shots.”

McCauley took advantage of his increased playing time and an expanded role last week, scoring 21 points against Xavier, 14 against Georgetown and 10 against Providence en route to being named to the Big East Honor Roll.

“Voss has been very consistent with his effort and ability to score the basketball,” head coach Tony Stubblefield said. “It’s a long year obviously, and starting the year Voss probably wasn’t playing as much as he’d like, but he’s earned himself more minutes and taken advantage of the opportunity.”

Seizing control of a role that has grown recently with injuries to teammates like senior guard Javon Freedom-Liberty, McCauley hasn’t shied away from the increased responsibilities that comes from being a rotational staple — something he wasn’t always at the start of the season.

“The thing that just kept me going is my approach to the game,” McCauley said. “Just trusting the process. I had a couple early DNPs this season where I didn’t play or played five minutes, I just stuck with it and never changed my approach, kept my head up and it obviously showed.”

Having a smaller bench role heading into the season isn’t unfamiliar to McCauley, who was in a similar situation last year. It is, however, a significant departure from the 20 points per game he was averaging for the 32-1 Division II Lincoln Memorial University Railsplitters during the 2019-2020 campaign. Similarly, McCauley starred in high school, averaging 26.8 points per game at Manual High School in Indianapolis.

“[While at Lincoln Memorial] I was at my peak in college basketball,” McCauley said. “We were winning basketball games, then the pandemic hit and that’s how I ended up here. I had the opportunity to play higher in Division I basketball, I had been getting a lot of interest from big schools, so I made the jump.”

McCauley is one of many college basketball players to make use of the transfer portal during the pandemic and going forward, with NCAA lightening its rules on transfer eligibility in April 2021. Climbing to the top rung of collegiate competition is appetizing for any athlete, and DePaul stuck out the most as a destination.

“DePaul specifically, there’s a lot that went into it,” McCauley said. “I live about two and a half hours from here, I’m from Indianapolis so I wanted to be closer to home. Also, I wanted to play for a Black-lead coach. My first year I was under [head coach] Josh Schertz at Lincoln Memorial and I just wanted to play with somebody that could relate to me more, and the timing played into it, too.”

As McCauley’s last two seasons have proven however, transferring doesn’t guarantee playing time, you’ve got to work for it.

“He’s earned this opportunity,” Stubblefield said. “And his role is only going to continue to increase as long as he keeps doing what he’s supposed to do.”

In the face of a lack of playing time, hard work can get a player into the rotation, but bringing the right mindset can keep you there — something McCauley has proven by accepting his role with the Blue Demons.

“The biggest difference is just sacrificing and being a star in your role,” McCauley said. “I went from being ‘the guy’ at my old school to coming here and just being a shooter and perfecting that shot. That’s really been the biggest difference here and the adjustment that I’ve had to make, and now I’m becoming more comfortable playing around a lot of other good players.”

McCauley’s commitment towards that role and what’s best for the team hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“As of late, he’s really been talking,” Johnson said. “Been really focused on us being better as a whole. As time went on, even though he didn’t get minutes in certain games, he would stay positive. He stuck with it, that’s why he’s getting the recognition he’s getting now.”

With just a handful of games remaining in the season, the Blue Demons look to head into the Big East tournament with momentum, with McCauley undoubtedly doing everything in his power — in his role — to make that happen.

And what’s next for DePaul’s dynamic scoring guard?

“I obviously have a year left to come back thanks to Covid, but I’m looking to go pro after this year,” McCauley said. “Test the waters, wherever I go overseas, the draft, I’m really just looking to get to the next level at this point.”

Regardless of what the rest of this season holds, how much time he gets, or what’s to come after DePaul there’s one thing you can guarantee ‘Voss’ McCauley will be — a star in his role.

“It wasn’t that I couldn’t ever do it, I just didn’t have the opportunity,” McCauley said. “Now I do, and it feels good.”