DePaul Blue Demons (7-23, 1-17 Big East): Young DePaul Tries To Build For Next Season

DePaul Blue Demons (7-23, 1-17 Big East)

Big East Tournament Seed:  No. 16; play No. 9 Connecticut Huskies on Tuesday (noon on ESPN2).

Head Coach: It has been a rough first year for first-year Oliver Purnell, who formerly coached the Clemson Tigers for seven seasons. Purnell also coached at Dayton, Old Dominion and Radford. In 2003, Purnell led Dayton to the Atlantic 10 Tournament title.

Team MVP: Though, freshman forward Cleveland Melvin will not be available for the remainder of the season because of a thumb injury he suffered in a loss to St. John's, Feb. 23. The 6-foot-8 forward, who averaged 17.4 points per game during league play, was by far DePaul's best player this season. The unanimous All-Big East Rookie Team selection and SB Nation New York Rookie Of The Year honoree will end the year as the team's best scorer (14.3 points per game) and second-best rebounder (5.9 rebounds per game).

Playing For: Considering that DePaul had a terrible regular season, it's only hope of making a postseason appearance is winning the Big East Tournament and earning the automatic bid that goes with it. Of course, Lindsay Lohan's odds of earning a movie role in 2011 are better than the Blue Demons winning five straight Big East games.

Breakdown: Freshman Brandon Young is now DePaul's first option. In the Blue Demon's first game without Melvin, a Feb. 26 loss at the South Florida Bulls, the 6-foot-2 guard netted 23 points. That performance helped Young, DePaul's second-best scorer (12.4 ppg) and best passer (3.7 assists per game), earn Big East Rookie Of The Week honors on Monday, Feb 28.

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