COLUMN: How landing Elijah Fisher should improve DePaul’s recruiting moving forward



Men’s basketball coach Tony Stubblefield at a press conference in November.

For the past two decades, DePaul basketball was perceived by many as an afterthought in the realm of Chicago sports. With regular low attendance figures and limited local media coverage, the team has struggled to make a lasting impression in the college basketball landscape. 

However, a new chapter is unfolding as the program seeks to break free from its underwhelming reputation, seeing a glimmer of hope with head coach Tony Stubblefield landing former Texas Tech five-star recruit Elijah Fisher from the transfer portal this offseason.

The last time DePaul was able to secure a five-star prospect was in 2017 with the commitment of point guard Tyger Campbell. Unfortunately, it did not last long as five months later, Campbell reopened his recruitment, eventually leaving DePaul for UCLA. 

Stubblefield has not had much success on the court over his first two seasons at DePaul, owning a 25-39 record finishing in the bottom half of the Big East Conference. Nevertheless, prior to joining the Blue Demons, Stubblefield’s reputation as an assistant at Oregon was his ability to recruit at a high level, which was one of the main reasons he was hired at DePaul in the first place.

Being able to recruit a player of Fisher’s caliber is rare for a school like DePaul, but doing so could be the new norm for the program moving. It is often said that a single player has the power to transform an entire program, and if Fisher lives up to expectations, it may pave the way for other high-profile recruits to consider committing to DePaul.

Fisher did not see much playing time this past season because of how deep Texas Tech roster has become over its recent NCAA Tournament success. The Red Raiders made it to the National Championship in 2019 but lost to Virginia. Since, the program has landed eight four-star recruits, which arguably played a factor in Fisher’s limited court action.

The 6-foot-6 standout guard reclassified and opted out his senior season to enroll at Texas Tech early. During his final season at Crestwood Prep as a junior, he averaged 28 points and 13 rebounds, while also coming away with three steals per game.

Fisher also made his Canadian national team debut last summer, helping Canada win bronze at the FIBA Under-19 World Cup and winning MVP honors at the BioSteel All-Canadian game in Toronto with his 28-point performance.

Stubblefield has shown success in the transfer portal since his arrival, recruiting Umoja Gibson from Oklahoma and Javan Johnson from Iowa State, who were DePaul’s biggest offensive producers from this past season combining for 30 points per game.

Not only could Fisher’s recruitment help attract other top recruits, but his presence and production alone could bring success into the win column immediately. The program has not seen a player with the potential of Fisher in some time, and having him with three seasons of eligibility is pivotal for the program.

While it remains to be seen how Fisher will perform at DePaul, his recruitment alone has already generated excitement and optimism among the fan base and Chicago community. If Fisher lives up to expectations and delivers on his potential, he could become a catalyst for the program’s resurgence, attracting more high-profile recruits and ultimately leading DePaul back to prominence in Chicago sports.