Tyger Campbell Denies DePaul, Chooses UCLA4 min read
The former DePaul commit and top-100 recruit, Tyger Campbell, chose UCLA over the Blue Demons this week. Another big blow to Dave Leitao and company in his second stint with the Blue Demons. This post will not be a look at Tyger Campbell and what he will bring to UCLA next season, it will be about DePaul and how irrelevant they have been over the past 15 or so seasons.
Since joining the Big East in 2005, the Blue Demons basketball program has frequented the cellar of the conference. Only one time have they finished with a winning record and that was in 2006-07 with fan-favorite Jerry Wainwright at the helm. That year was also DePaul’s last winning season. The program is 41-171 (not including this season) in their Big East tenure and has finished in last place in the conference 6 times. My point is that the Tyger Campbell de-commitment and commitment to UCLA is barely scratching the surface in terms of issues for this program.
People forget DePaul was a great program in the 80s and a bit of the early 90s. The school produced players like Quentin Richardson, Bobby Simmons, (more recently) Wilson Chandler, and most notably former #1 pick Mark Aguirre, among many others. This program has history and is located in one of the greatest cities in the world. Time and time again we find ourselves saying that there is no reason for DePaul (and to throw another program under the bus, the University of Illinois) to be bad athletically, but especially in basketball.
The State of Illinois and the City of Chicago are hotbeds for basketball talent and the Demons haven’t been anywhere near close to landing any of the big names. Since 2010, there have been 37 4-star recruits and 6 5-star recruits hail from the great state of Illinois and a total of 1 (one) has gone to DePaul, and that was Billy Garrett Jr., his dad was on the staff at DePaul. Yes, the inability to recruit causes issues because you’re not landing “top quality” talent. College Basketball 101. The problem is the guys they hire to recruit these players are not “leader of men” types. For lack of a better word, they’re bums.
Jerry Wainwright, Oliver Purnell, and Dave Leitao (round 2) have been the heads of the program since they joined the Big East. Let’s start with Jerry. Wainwright started his head coaching career at North Carolina-Greensboro finishing with a 136-109 record, getting him a new job at Richmond where he slightly over .500. Somehow, that was good enough to land the DePaul gig. Wainwright had made it to the NCAA Tournament three times in 11 seasons.
Obviously, that did not work at DePaul, so let’s go to Oliver Purnell. Purnell is an interesting case, he was good at Dayton and very good at Clemson winning 20+ games in four consecutive seasons. This should have been a good hire for the Blue Demons, but Purnell ran out of his rebuilding magic.
Now, DePaul is on to Dave Leitao, who has already coached and left DePaul previously after just three seasons. Leitao struggled at Virginia and resigned in 2009, two years later he was named the head coach of everyone’s favorite G-League team, the Maine Red Claws. And here we are again, Leitao back in charge, it is his 3rd season in Lincoln Park and he has matched his win total from the first two seasons with 9.
All of this leads back to just one person, Jean Lenti Ponsetto. The DePaul AD has been around for 16 years and has overseen the rebuilding of many DePaul athletic programs, highlighted by the national powerhouse that is the women’s basketball team. In the past academic year, the Blue Demons led all Big East programs with 6 conference championships. But while winning championships is great, we all know that men’s hoops is where the money lies. And during her tenure, Blue Demons’ basketball has been a joke. We have gone through the players, missing on recruits, coaching hires, etc.
It all starts with leadership. If you can’t bring in the right person for the job, the blame falls squarely on your shoulders. That is where Lenti Ponsetto has failed.
The frustration level among alumni has reached a boiling point. Within the last few weeks, an ad has been created with a GoFundMe started to put the ad in the DePaul student newspaper, The DePaulia, asking for Lenti Ponsetto’s job.
Have the ad ready to go. If someone can set up a gofundme to raise the $600 to run it, please post a link pic.twitter.com/yly8vJr6UR
— Saint Vinny DeHoops (@SaintVinny1) February 6, 2018
There is even a website that has been created! This is just an all-around bad situation. DePaul has a passionate fan base, whatever size it may be after years of mediocrity, that deserves competent leadership. There hasn’t been excitement around the program in quite some time and with a new University President (shoutout Esteban) who has shown the ability to rebuild from the ground up at Seton Hall, some change could be in the cards for the athletic department.