It has not been a good start for the DePaul Blue Demons in conference play. They have begun Big East play with a record of 1-5, and the lone victory was a one-point win against Providence. If it wasn’t for Billy Garrett Jr.’s late three-point play, the Blue Demons would still be hunting for their first Big East victory . After dropping their last two nonconference games, DePaul put in a great effort against Villanova to open Big East play, but ultimately fell against the defending National Champions. Their play has dropped recently and there are a lot of issues they need to fix. One of them has to be scoring help for Garrett Jr. and star player Eli Cain.
Last month, the issue about the lack of a third scorer was brought up as something DePaul needs to fix. That problem still remains and it will continue to hurt the Blue Demons as they go deeper into the season. With a lot of pressure being put on the two scorers, Cain especially, DePaul needs someone to be there nightly to help out on the offense.
A third scorer would really help DePaul in crunch time. With Garrett Jr. usually being the main ball handler and Cain turning into the second option (very surprisingly), defenses begin to clamp down on both of them. A lot of the time, defenses are fine with letting the other guys make a play instead of the duo, knowing that it is more likely that it won’t happen. This especially happens with Cain, who doesn’t get as many touches late in games, as the best player on a team usually does. With Garrett Jr. having the ball in crunch time, he usually ends the possession with a tough shot or a turnover. He needs someone else other than Cain who he can distribute the ball to and make a play since the defenses will be focusing on him as well.
Cain and Garrett Jr. are the only two players on DePaul that average more than 10 points per game. That’s a scary stat for a team that struggles to score the ball in spurts, especially down the stretch of the game. But DePaul has some potential candidates that could easily take charge of the secondary scorer they desperately need.
Tre’Darius McCallum is the biggest candidate for that spot. He is nearly averaging a double double at 9.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. At 6’7, McCallum uses his length and height to jump over opponents for rebounds. He has a quick step to get to the basket. McCallum’s game has been mostly in the paint but he has recently decided to step back to the three-point line. The campaign for more three-point shooting got off to a rocky start but he has recently got better. In DePaul’s losses this week, McCallum hit two three’s against Marquette, and knocked down one in a 14-point effort against St. John’s. He is not a lights out shooter but him adding it to his game slowly and steadily will be good for DePaul overall. It will give them another dual threat option that can possibly emerge in conference play. But McCallum has to become more consistent. He has only scored double digit points twice in his last five games. That has to improve if DePaul wants to get better.
Brandon Cyrus and Devin Gage are also potential candidates for this role, but they haven’t consistently shown the ability to consistently score, as neither averages more than six points per game on the year.
DePaul needs more scoring to help out Eli Cain and Billy Garrett Jr. It’s that simple of a problem. It’s not their only problem for to solve but it should be one that Dave Leitao and his coaching staff are working to solve. DePaul is not going to magically become title contenders if they find a third scorer, but it will certainly make them a better team.