When Develle Phillips committed to DePaul last September, it was met with skepticism towards the Maryland native. After all, it was only September of his senior year, he had only gone on one official visit, and he had interest from no fewer than six other schools around the country.
Why did Phillips decide to go to DePaul over some of those other schools? Academics played a large role. Phillips told Washington Post's Brandon Parker the following after he committed,
"I was looking for a place where I fit in well, and I really like the environment at DePaul," Phillips said in a Sunday phone interview. "The city [of Chicago] is nice and I can’t even count the number of academic opportunities they offer, and with the NBA not promised, I want to have something to fall back on with my degree." - DePaul freshman Develle Phillips to the Washington Post following his Sept. 2014 commitment
Phillips is certainly correct about saying he fits well at DePaul, which may be part of the reason why he chose to stay committed to the school even after Oliver Purnell resigned and Dave Leitao was hired. DePaul is very thin at power forward going into the season, with only seniors Rashaun Stimage and (walk-on, recovering from a torn ACL) Peter Ryckbosch listed at the position going into the year. Phillips and fellow freshmen Oumar Berry and Fred Scott should have a chance to crack the starting lineup, or at the very least, see some big time minutes off the bench for the Demons.
Phillips, as it stands right now, has a lot of talent. He can score and rebound very well, but his game is very raw and unrefined. If DePaul coach Dave Leitao and his staff can manage to tap into that potential and turn it into results, Phillips could very well play a vital role in the resurgence of DePaul basketball.
Phillips also has a ton of athletic ability. Below he can be seen dunking over top prospect Thon Maker.