Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: DePaul

Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: DePaul

2015-16 results: Dave Leitao returned to the sidelines for the Blue Demons as they finished 9-22 and 3-15 in the Big East. Turning over the roster and getting new players is a key to Leitao's recruiting efforts the first two seasons and this roster featured some talented pieces for the future.

Players to watch: Senior guard Billy Garrett Jr. has been a huge part of the team the last three years and the former Morgan Park star is back for his final season. Garrett's major help came in the form of sophomore Eli Cain, as the 6-foot-6 wing put up 10.3 points and 3.0 rebounds per game last season.

[RELATED: Local college hoops 2016-17 preview - Illinois State]

Key storylines: The Blue Demons are hoping that a group of newcomers can help make them competitive this season as the Class of 2017 recruiting haul — including transfers Max Strus and Austin Grandstaff — is something to get excited about.

Newcomers to track: Freshman Brandon Cyrus enters with strong expectations to provide slashing and athleticism this season and he could be a nice future piece to compliment with Cain. Graduate transfer senior Chris Harrison-Docks and freshman Devin Gage, who won the Class 4A Illinois state title with Curie this past year, should add depth with more capable ball handling.

Season outlook: DePaul isn't going to compete in the Big East this year, but they're going to be in more games as they have some intriguing perimeter talent. If the Blue Demons can play small and withstand in rebounding and rim protection, there could be some exciting moments for DePaul fans this season as Cain and Cyrus could be fun to watch. 

NCAA is taking steps to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness


NCAA is taking steps to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness

Bulls rookie guard Coby White has talent, an infectious smile and an afro that makes him stand out on the court. It’s a fair bet he could have made some money off his likeness while he played at North Carolina if the rules allowed it.

The NCAA is taking steps towards allowing its athletes to do so, but there’s still a long way to go in the process. The organization’s Board of Governors unanimously voted to start the process. That vote moves things to the NCAA’s three divisions “to consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies,” as it was worded in the NCAA's press release.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, the chair of the board and president of Ohio State. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”

The board asked each division (Division I, Division II, Division III) to make any new rules immediately and no later than January 2021.

It’s important to note that none of the changes are final, or even imminent. It’s still relevant that the NCAA is going through the process at all, after being so strongly in favor of amateurism across the board for its student-athletes.

The potential changes would not allow for compensation based on performance or participation in a sport. Of course, the natural grey area is that higher performing athletes will be more marketable so they would be compensated on performance indirectly.

This comes after California passed legislation to allow college athletes to receive endorsement/sponsorship money and other states are pursuing similar.

This is still far from being official or finalized, but it will continue to be a major story in college sports over the next couple years.

Dave Leitao suspended 3 games, DePaul put on 3-year probation


Dave Leitao suspended 3 games, DePaul put on 3-year probation

The DePaul men's basketball team has been placed on three-year probation and head coach Dave Leitao has been suspended three games for the 2019-20 season, the NCAA announced on Tuesday.

The program was found guilty of "failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance while Leitao did not "prevent violations from occurring in his program."

A Division I Committee on Infractions panel concluded that a "former DePaul associate head coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he knowingly directed the former assistant director of basketball operations to provide impermissible recruiting benefits to a recruit."

The NCAA found that three coaches knew about the situation but failed to report the infractions. DePaul will vacate all wins earned while the ineligible player competed and suffer recruiting restrictions. They were also fined $5,000 plus 1% of the men's basketball program budget.

In 2019, DePaul had their first winning season since 2007 by going 19-17.