As we discussed last week on the inaugural Big East Coast Bias podcast, DePaul has no shortage of problems. Attendance, recruiting, coaching... the list goes on and on. Coming off a(nother) miserable season in which they remained firmly in the cellar of the Big East (a spot they've held exclusively since 2008-2009), it's not east to have any hope for this program.
I'm not going to come out here and say the best case scenario for the Blue Demons is winning the Big East. That's ridiculous. I will, however, say that DePaul's best-case scenario for 2014-2015 is doubling their number of conference wins from last year, going from three to six.
Winning six conference games may not seem like a big deal for most programs, but for a team with only eight conference wins in the past three seasons, it is a giant leap in the right direction. This is also a down year in the Big East, with only Villanova looking to be an upper echelon team. The other nine teams range from "pretty good" to "DePaul". Tommy Hamilton and Billy Garrett both have a year of experience under their belt and now know what to expect from Big East play. If DePaul could have one more player step up (say, Durrell McDonald), six conference wins is absolutely possible for them.
Of course, the whole point of this article is to provide a worst-case scenario also. It is not exactly easy to do with DePaul though. If they finish in the cellar again and fire Oliver Purnell, I don't think fans would call that "worst-cast" at all. I think that means the worst-case scenario would have to be something happens to cause Tommy Hamilton and/or Billy Garrett to transfer from the school.
It is literally impossible to understate what Garrett and Hamilton mean to the team. Garrett is DePaul's leading returning scorer (12.2 PPG last year) and Hamilton is their second leading returning scorer and leading returning rebounder (7.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG). These two both put up these numbers as freshmen. As they continue to grow and mature, it has to be expected these numbers get even better. If DePaul is ever going to compete again, these two have to be cornerstones, so losing one of them would effectively terminate any glimmer of optimism Blue Demon fans could ever have.
What are your best and worst case scenarios for DePaul? Let us know in the comments!