Coach Dave Leitao and last season’s Big East most improved player of the year, Paul Reed, have the Blue Demons looking at a 5-0 record for the first time in over a decade. DePaul has the perfect blend of size and finesse. Newcomers have been able to adapt with ease; specifically the number one player from Michigan last year Romeo Weemsm, the highest rated commit during Leitao’s tenure with DePaul.
Romeo Weems surprised the state of Michigan when he committed to an out of state rival. Weems was blunt when elaborating on why he became a member of the D-men.
“I went to DePaul on my visit and I knew that was where I wanted to be. Coach (Leitao) didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear; he told me what I needed to do to get better. Other coaches were telling me how good I was. They told me the truth at DePaul. Coach was the real deal.”
Weems has an above average basketball IQ and has been able to show an innate ability to make the right pass on the court, specifically inside of the three point line when the defense is collapsing. He’s also got a soft touch, giving him the option to float up an alley-oop or a smooth touch pass. Weems has become one of the lead defenders on a deep DePaul team with his size and lateral quickness. He will continue to come on as the season progresses, but must continue to initiate contact and continue to make it to the free throw line. He has shown he can become reliable at the line with correct repetition.
The Illinois transfer Jalen Coleman-Lands might’ve arguably had his best game of his short career for the Blue Demons against Iowa. Coleman-Lands had 17 points, five assists, and also added two steals. You can see the progression defensively he has made which was one of the biggest problems he struggled with coming out of high school. Charlie Moore has added to an already talented group of guards, transferring from Kansas.
Guard play will be key to the D-men’s chances of having a deep run in March because Paul Reed is always on the scouting report. Reed has the opportunity to become one of the best two-way players by the end of the season. He is an extremely explosive forward that has great instincts to find the ball, complimented by a floater that he has been able to insert into his repertoire against other forwards this season. Reed was dominant against Iowa, finishing the game with 25 points, 12 rebounds, four steals, and two blocks.
Reed’s potential defensively is the most intriguing attribute he possesses. He has the length to be a menace around the rim, as he has shown. Offensively, he continues to improve with his decision making every day on the court. Reed has a chance to take home player of the year honors in the Big East this season. Paul has to become a better ball handler and three point shooter to progress to the next level though. He has a consistent mid-range jump shot from about 18 feet and if his three point shot can become anywhere near as consistent as his mid-range J, the country will be in trouble.
The Blue Demons will head on the road to take on Boston College this Saturday, a game that, if they win, could see the Blue Demons off to one of their best starts in this millennium.