Before DePaul became a Big East bottom feeder and SIU slumped its way out of postseason play, my mother (a DePaul alum) and myself (a current Saluki) dreamed about the day where our school's battled each other on the basketball court. Mother reminisced of the days of Ray Meyer while I gloated about "Floorburn U" and the coaching prowess of Chris Lowery.
Again, that all happened before this season. But now, with the Blue Demons having an assistant coaching spot open, the family rivalry might be renewed. Cue the bold blockquote (part one):
"[T]his job as an assistant coach at DePaul all comes down to one thing: the Class of 2011. If the head coach at DePaul isn't connected, then the assistant coach has to be ultra-connected to both the Chicago Public League and the AAU scene in the city and suburbs ... With that in mind, it's obvious the new assistant coach absolutely has to have some tie to the Mac Irvin Fire AAU program."
I've said it forever, the best team in the state of Illinois will dominate the recruiting of Chicagoland prospects. With that said, last offseason, SIU brought along Lance Irvin to help build that bridge down I-57. But wait, cue part two of the bold blockquote:
The first name is obvious. Southern Illinois assistant coach Lance Irvin is already rumored to be a target. There is no assistant coach more tied into the Mac Irvin Fire AAU team than Lance Irvin, who comes straight from the family tree.
I've had the pleasure of interviewing Coach Irvin on many occasions this season, so here is some insight.
Yeah, he's been around the college coaching world having stopped at Loyola, Iowa State, Illinois State, Texas A&M, Missouri, Southern Methodist and, of course, DePaul. But in my eyes, that makes him experienced with knowledge of different recruiting areas.
As for Irvin's best recruiting grab, he told me in an interview conducted in December it was David Bailey. Yes, the pint size point guard out of Loyola-Chicago. Bailey was the offensive force that nearly led the Ramblers to a few NCAA autobids out of the Horizon League.
In my one year of covering college hoops, I've come to the conclusion a good chunk of what is considered "good recruiting" is finding diamonds in the rough. Irvin's link to one of the state's premier AAU teams is undeniable, but it's the odd men out that sometimes take you the furthest.