See, my mother is a DePaul alumna and she loves her Blue Demons. And at 8-13 overall and 0-8 in Big East play, it's safe to say that they stink.
Anyway, Ma goes back to the day's of the little arena under the 'L' tracks and Demon Dogs -- which was the best hot dog joint in the city before the Chicago Transit Authority bought them out as they rebuilt the Fullerton 'L' stop that is in the heart of DePaul's campus.
So as a child, I was a Blue Demons fan. I'll admit it. I'll take you back to the days when Pat Kennedy somehow brought in Chicago high school stars Quentin Richardson, Bobby Simmons and Lance Williams to form a formidable Conference USA squad.
That squad was among the nation's best, but, as a wise man once told me, the money ran out and Richardson and Simmons skipped town for the greener pastures of the NBA. I'm still convinced to this day that Williams is sitting at a McDonald's somewhere in the Chicagoland area asleep in a Playland ball-pit after downing a dozen double cheeseburgers.
The real fall of DePaul begins when Imari Sawyer got a scholarship over Dwyane Wade. You might have heard of him.
If not, let's run down his career, briefly.
Wade went to Marquette and took Tom Crean and the Golden Eagles to a Final Four. Then he went to the NBA's Miami Heat and won an NBA title. A few years later he would go on to become an Olympic Gold medalist.
Sawyer is either starring in a rec league somewhere or sharpening his NBA Live skills at his buddy's house.
Dave Leiato tried to save the Demons as he took them to the NCAA Tournament and brought them a few extra dollars once they moved into the Big East.
And really, that's when a slump turned into an immdediate downward spiral.
After convincing DePaul fans and administrators he was there for the long haul (or at least until mentor Jim Calhoun left UConn), Leiato headed east to coach the college hoops juggernaut known as the University of Virginia. Enter stage left Jerry Wainwright and cue the Big East blues.
DePaul's bigs can't hang with the beasts (or benchwarmers, for that matter) of the UConn's and Pitt's of the world. Their guards can't keep up with Rick Pitino's Louisville super-studs or Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone.
So how can God save the Demons.
By reclaiming its dominance in Chicagoland recruiting.
Seriously, how do you let Derrick Rose head to Memphis? I know Coach Cal of the Tigers is a charming fellow, but when you've got a talent like D-Rose in your city limits, you handcuff him to a post until he signs with your team.
Do you think DePaul could find a use for Chicago's own Osiris Eldridge or H-F's Kevin Dillard?
After Coach K, Bruce Weber, Chris Lowery and Tom Crean (once he gets settled in Indiana) finish claiming the city's top prospects, what kind of Chicago recruits are going to be left for Wainwright?
Here are my suggestions on improving DePaul hoops (only to build a family rivalry between my Dawgs and my mom's Demons):
- Use Lincoln Park trixies as a recruiting tool.
- In addition to their b-ball scholarship, free use of CTA transportation.
- Bring back Demon Dogs.
- Turn back time, never tear down Alumni Hall. Play in front of 5,300 loud and crazy fans.
- Move out of the Big East.
And before you even ask, no, you can't have C-Lo!