DePaul Season Preview

DePaul finished last season 15-16 and 6-14 in Big East play. That 6-14 record tied them for 9th place with Butler. It was the first time in the last six seasons the Blue Demons did not finish last in the Big East.

There were definitely a few glimmers of hope in head coach Tony Stubblefield’s first year. DePaul knocked off Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Marquette at Wintrust Arena last year. On the road, they beat Louisville, Xavier and took Providence to overtime.

Roster Construction

Losses: Javon Freeman-Liberty, David Jones, Brandon Johnson, Courvoisier McCauley

Additions: Umoja Gibson (Oklahoma), Caleb Murphy (South Florida), Da’sean Nelson (Kilgore), KT Raimey (Southern Idaho), Eral Penn (LIU)

Umoja Gibson comes after averaging 13.3 points per game last season at Oklahoma and he can shoot it from deep. Caleb Murphy is more of a mid-range combo-guard, but unfortunately, he needed wrist surgery recently and will be reevaluated in mid-November. That leaves Jalen Terry to open the season at point. After losing Javon Freeman-Liberty and David Jones, Terry is the only returner who had the ball in his hand a lot last season.

The freshmen Zion Cruz and Ahamad Bynum could both get some time. Cruz is a top 100 recruit (#72 on ESPN) who can score it, Bynum redshirted last year, but was a Top 100 recruit in 2021 (#75 on ESPN) out of Simeon.

Nick Ongenda returns to man the paint. Ongenda was 67th in the country in block % and Yor Anei actually had a higher block % off the bench. Those two make up a really strong rim-protecting duo, but Stubblefield is hoping to have them contribute more on the offensive end this season.

Javan Johnson leads the group of wings. The former Iowa State transfer was a late transfer who became eligible at the semester break last year right as DePaul went into a COVID pause. Johnson’s been a double figure scorer before, so I’m excited to see what he can do given the right situation. Eral Penn transfers in as a sixth-year senior who can do a bit of everything.

Philmon Gebrewhit returns after a season where he started 19 games for the Blue Demons but struggled in Big East play. Da’Sean Nelson is a big-time athlete that can help chip in on the boards.

There’s also Tyon Grant-Foster, who I don’t have included below because I’m unsure of where he stands. He was taken to the hospital in the very first game last season and hasn’t been on the floor since. But the former Kansas transfer could add another threat to this team if he’s healthy.


The Blue Demons like to run, but they’ve been notorious in past season for bad shot selection. DePaul finished 236th in the country (10th in the Big East) in effective field goal percentage (48.8%). They were 273rd in 3-point % (31.3%) and 266th in Free Throw % (69.3%). Until they fix those, there’s no chance at cracking the top half of the Big East.

Defensively, they need to create more turnovers if they are going to try to be a transition team. Without the shooters to create the proper spaces, they might need to try to push the tempo more.


Non-Conference Key Matchups

Nov 7 – Loyola (MD)

Nov 14- @ Minnesota

Nov 18/20 – Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas – Santa Clara and OCF/Oklahoma State

Nov 25 – Texas A&M

Dec 3 – @ Loyola Chicago

Dec 17 – @ Northwestern

In conference play, the Blue Demons are going to be up against it. Creighton opens the season ranked 9th in the country (DePaul will visit them on Christmas Day). Jay Wright is no longer at Villanova, but they’re still preseason #17. Thad Matta takes over at Butler, Shaheen Holloway at Seton Hall. St. John’s will be interesting with David Jones and Andre Curbelo transferring in. Providence comes off their best season in recent memory with a Sweet 16 finish. Xavier won the NIT and gets Sean Miller coming in to coach. And UConn comes off a 5-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

DePaul may have another tough year as most project them to finish last in the Big East. but they took a step forward in Tony Stubblefield’s first year, so let’s hope they can take another this year. The Blue Demons haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since the 2003-04 season, but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep rooting for it to happen.

Published by Will McClaughry

Sports fan, data enthusiast and former division 3 college basketball player

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: