August 6, 2011

A Renewed Point of Emphasis for 2012

The backcourt picture for the DePaul Blue Demons future just became a little less crowded. The DePaul coaching staff must be on point with the 2012 recruiting class.

Thursday's announcement of incoming freshman Shane Larkin's departure from the program due to an undisclosed medical condition leaves DePaul in a precarious position. Larkin was expected to challenge incumbent starters, sophomore Brandon Young and senior Jeremiah Kelly, for playing time and at least be the third guard in the backcourt rotation. Larkin's point guard abilities were expected to come in handy to spell either Young or Kelly at appropriate times during games.

Young and Kelly have shown the ability to be able to be a point guard in head coach Oliver Purnell's offense, but there is a noticeable drop-off when looking at what is behind them in terms of leading an offense. While not an ideal fit with DePaul, senior guard Mike Bizoukas, now at Missouri State, had experience leading this offense and could have given DePaul some minutes. Freshman Macari Brooks will potentially now see more time on the floor, but his skill-set is more suited for the shooting guard position.

DePaul's upcoming 10-day trip to France does give them opportunity to experiment with different lineups on the floor. During the four scheduled exhibition games, DePaul could give Brooks a chance to play the point guard spot and see how he does.

DePaul faces a void at point guard during the 2012-2013 season with Kelly running out of eligibility and Young being the only lead guard on the team. Young will likely continue to command a bulk of the playing time at the spot in his junior season, but developing a future replacement behind him will be important.

While the team does have a scholarship available for the upcoming season, it may not be ideal to rush and add someone for the sake of getting a player this late in the recruiting game. With three scholarships available for the 2012 recruiting class, it would not be surprising to see the coaching staff step up their efforts to land a point guard in the next class.

Here is a look at potential point guard options for the 2012 class.

5-foot-7, 150-pound Derrick Randolph High School: Hyde Park AAU: Mac Irvin Fire

DePaul has expressed interest in Randolph in the past for good reason. Besides DePaul's strong connection to the Fire program, Randolph possesses the quickness on offense and defense that would fit DePaul's up-tempo style of play so well.

The Whitney Young transfer is a capable scorer and shooter, but has also shown the promise to be an effective point guard. The obvious question about Randolph is his size. If he were a few inches taller with the skills he has, his ranking would likely be much higher.

His small stature has not deterred many high-profile teams from taking a look at him, though. Arizona, California, Michigan State and Villanova have expressed interest in him.

In an interview with Blue Demon Bulletin last August, Randolph made it known that he would like the chance to play in front of his family and friends in Chicago.

6-foot, 170-pound Aaron Simpson High School: North Chicago AAU: Team NLP

Just like Randolph, Simpson features the athleticism and quickness that is essential to play guard at DePaul.

The three-star prospect has the ability to play either guard position. He is a strong shooter from the outside, and has good vision in the open floor. He has shown the ability to get to the basket using his top-notch speed.

Simpson has heard from a variety of schools, including DePaul, Marquette, Purdue, Xavier and Illinois State.

6-foot-3, 190-pound Adonis Filer High School: Brewster Academy AAU: SYF

The three-star prospect played at Mount Carmel up until his senior year and raised his recruiting stock this summer. He originally was a 2011 recruit, but will go to Brewster Academy this season.

While DePaul has not been linked much with him, Filer's size, physical style, poise and vision could prove to be a valuable addition to the 2012 class. He is also regarded a strong defender that can create turnovers.

Filer has heard from Oregon State and Baylor, both of which have offered.

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