To start their season DePaul knew a few things. One of them being Grambling State's inability to win games (0-28 last season) and the other, Cleveland Melvin.
Say what you want about the quality -- or lack thereof -- of DePaul's opponent in their opener, but Melvin looked phenomenal to the point that hysteria should be setting in around the Chicago area right about now.
Entering the season the knock on Melvin's game was his mid-to-long range shooting. Well, taking five three-pointers and making five three-pointers, regardless of opposition, is an impressive feat for any power forward. Also, if he were able to stay proficient at taking long range bombs, it could add an entire new dimension to DePaul's offense.
Melvin was not the lone Blue Demon to look all kinds of swell. Freshman, Tommy Hamilton IV, notched a double-double in the first half alone before finally finishing the game with 16 points and 11 manly rebounds.
That was the very good for DePaul, although, there is a teeny-weeny bit of bad. Not that we should overreact to one game or anything, but Billy Garrett Jr. looked less than average in the opener. Despite playing 25 minutes and hoisting five shots toward the bucket, the freshman's only points came from the free throw line. So yeah, he finished the game with two points and just as many turnovers -- but seriously, it might take awhile for him to adjust. Growing pains are allowed for young players.
The rest of the Blue Demons were solid, albeit not spectacular. That had more to do with Oliver Purnell not needing them to be and less with the quality of any of the players' abilities.
It is also worth noting that -- for the most part -- DePaul's offense did a great job spreading out attempts to players not named Cleveland Melvin or his productivity buddy, Brandon Young -- who finished with a mortal seven points but did add six assists. That can be highlighted with the simple stat that all 14 DePaul players who entered the game put up at least one point.
There really isn't anything else to add to the opener. DePaul played a team who didn't win a single game last season. Still, because hyperbole; breakout the champagne, get the confetti ready and kiss whoever is closest to you because your DePaul Blue Demons are undefeated or something....likely something, but whatever.