Last year was another struggle for the DePaul Blue Demons, who only won nine games and finished in the cellar of the Big East. There are a lot of spots that need fixing before the new season begins. The one that needs to be addressed most urgently, has to be the depth of the front court. With Al Eichelberger transferring, the Blue Demons are fairly shorthanded when it comes to big men.
Luckily for the Blue Demons, they seemed to have landed a graduate transfer that can immediately be inserted in the rotation and hopefully give them that type of offensive production.
Back in May, DePaul was able to nab transfer Marin Maric from Northern Illinois. The Croatian big man played well in his final season at NIU, averaging 14.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while shooting a 57.5 eFG%. He was a very efficient player for the Huskies and led them in scoring and rebounding in the 2016-17 season. While he’s decent defensively, registering a defensive box plus/minus of 0.5 last year, his real impact will come on the offensive end.
Maric is a jack of all trades when it comes to his offensive game. From post-ups to stepping out of the paint and shooting mid-range shots, he can do a lot. Maric has also shown that he can also run the floor pretty well for a big man at 6’10.
(:11-:22) This is a complete effort by Maric on both ends of the court. He rotates over and forces the turnover then takes off to the other side. Maric does well to find a lane and stick to it and makes himself an option as he gets into the paint. When he grabs the pass he does a good job of taking the contact and makes a difficult layup. At DePaul, Maric could be an option when it comes to transition offense and could use his skills around the rim in many situations, from cutting baseline towards the basket to pick and roll.
Speaking of pick and roll, Maric is not just a rolling to the rim threat off that type of action. He can also step out a little bit and knock down some jumpers. He isn’t much of a three-point threat (0.8 3PA per game) but he can certainly knock down some jumpers from mid range. There are two examples in the video above (3:45-3:51, 3:54-4:07). In both plays Maric sets a slip screen. By doing this, he gives himself time to pop out in the mid-range area slightly near the baseline. Both times Maric does this to perfection and forces the defenses to rotate over and try to contest. But since they were doubling off the pick and roll, it left Maric wide open and he made the defense pay.
Maric could be effective in the PNR part of DePaul’s offense considering many teams will focused on Cain that they may forget about Maric either rolling to the rim or on occasion, popping out for a mid-range jumper. It will certainly force defenses to play DePaul a bit differently and give them a much needed third option on this team.
There are still questions to be answered about where Maric sits on the depth chart. It would be best to think that he would be an impact big man off the bench with Hanel still starting at center. Either way, getting a player like Maric is a good step for DePaul. The Blue Demons don’t want to spend another year in the cellar of the Big East and with it now being Eli Cain’s team, they want to do the best they can to give him some offensive help. Marin Maric will certainly help with that.