DePaul alumni making early impact on NBA Playoffs


Matt Slocum | AP

Strus (31) and Reed (4) played together for two seasons under head coach Dave Leitao from 2017-2019.

Two former Blue Demons basketball stars in guard Max Strus (2017-2019) and forward Paul Reed (2017-2020) have each made significant contributions in the early stages of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. 

Strus’ Miami Heat are currently in a tightly-contested series against the Milwaukee Bucks where he has seen significant playing time, while Reed’s Philadelphia 76ers have dominated the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, sweeping them 4-0. 

Strus, the Hickory Hills, IL native,  made an instant impact for Miami in the team’s matchup against the Chicago Bulls during the NBA play-in tournament. He made his presence known early, connecting on four 3-pointers in the first quarter. The former DePaul star ended the game with 31 points, six rebounds and one steal, while shooting 7-of-12 from three.

Strus’ performance helped lead his team to securing the eight seed in the Eastern Conference.

Miami then moved on to a series with a Bucks team that is now two years removed from an NBA Championship. Strus has struggled thus far in the series, averaging eight points, three rebounds and one steal per game, while shooting 52% from the field and 41.7% from beyond the arc.

Strus’ performance was reminiscent of his time at DePaul, where he spent two seasons, averaging 18.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. 

Reed’s contributions off the bench for Philadelphia helped his team eliminate the Nets in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Reed started in his first playoff game in place of the injured Joel Embiid in the series’  conclusion, scoring 10 points while recording 15 rebounds and two assists. Reed, when called upon, has provided size and speed in place of the six time NBA All-Star, and proved his ability in Saturday’s game.

Reed provided a solid defensive presence during his time at DePaul, as he totaled the third-most blocks in school history, while averaging 2.6 blocks per game during his final season. 

Although both players have seen a drop in minutes in the playoffs, there’s excitement for two former Blue Demons  who have gotten opportunities to contribute on the biggest stage. 

The fact that two former DePaul players are making such impacts in the playoffs could be seen as a benefit for the program. It shows that there is NBA-level talent being developed at DePaul, and might show potential recruits that the program can develop college players into legitimate NBA-caliber players.