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DePaul Player Interview Summer Check-in

Tyler Freeland sat down with DePaul guards Charles McKinney and R.J. Curington for an inside look on their progress this summer. Both look to fine tune their games as they step into leadership roles this year amongst the Blue Demons.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

College basketball seasons can often be defined in the trenches. The early mornings and late nights of hard work can show the true colors of a team's mentality. The DePaul Blue Demons look to focus up on what is ahead for the 2014-15 season.

How is summer ball going so far?

Charles McKinney: I’ve been taking care of my body after adding size my junior year. Going into my senior year, I'm focusing on handling and shooting a lot to take that next step in my game.

R.J. Curington: My game has improved with the conditioning practices and weightlifting. It has added not only more to my physical game, but also has improved my confidence as well.

What are the biggest challenges the Blue Demons face this year?

CM: Rebounding. It is going to take everyone to get to the rim and grab loose balls this year, as this is something we have struggled with.

RJ: Team chemistry. We must come together as a team. We have a lot of young talent this year returning to the team, but we must work together in order to achieve success in the Big East Conference.

What is your biggest thing you want to build off of last year heading into this year to generate success?

CM: Don’t overthink so much. I don't want anyone to point fingers. We have talent on this team that we can utilize. Coming together as a team and bonding will lead to success.

RJ: I want to build off of my rookie of the week game last year against Providence and the Georgetown win in the Big East Tournament. I also want to strive to the best I can be on and off the court. I can bring the confidence this year that I learned I am capable of last year. With the hard work we have put in this summer, I believe our team as a whole can make an immediate impact.

What goals do you have this year on an individual and team level?

CM: Individually, being Defensive Player of the Year. We want to win the Big East Tournament and gain momentum into the NCAA Tournament.

RJ: Individually making big contributions to the team. For our team, going far in the Big East Tournament and making the NCAA Tournament is something we should strive for game in and game out. I believe with the talent level we have, we are ready to take this next big step.

Define success for the Blue Demons in 2014-15. Where would you like to be at the end of the year?

CM: Success would be to win the Big East regular season championship. It is going to take work, but I believe in this team.

RJ: Success would be top 3 in the conference. We must obtain big wins in conference play and in the post season. Building our resume early and carrying that success over into the Big East tournament is top on the priority list.

Focus on winning and dedication to this year's team has never been stronger heading into the fall for DePaul.