Melvin leads DePaul to 83-73 win over Providence

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Melvin leads DePaul to 83-73 win over Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Cleveland Melvin scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead DePaul to an 83-73 win over cold-shooting Providence on Saturday night.

Brandon Young and Jamee Crockett each had 15 points for DePaul (10-5, 1-1 Big East). The Blue Demons snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 4-0 on the road, their best start away from home since winning the initial five to start the 1993-94 season.

The Blue Demons led by seven at halftime, opened it to double digits early in the second half and never had their lead fall below 11 points until the closing 2 12 minutes.

Providence's Bryce Cotton, the Big East's second-leading scorer at 21.5 points per game, had 20 points, 16 coming in the closing 3 12 minutes. He was 4 of 13 from the floor.

Kadeem Batts had 17 points and Vincent Council added 16 points and six assists for the Friars (8-6, 0-2), who shot 38 percent (24 of 63) and missed their initial 10 3-point attempts.

DePaul, which led 37-30 at the half, turned its full court press into a pair of easy baskets by Crockett in the opening minute of the second half. Melvin then nailed a turnaround bank shot, giving the Blue Demons a 43-30 lead with 17:25 to play and forcing Providence to call time-out out with boos echoing from the home crowd.

The Blue Demons continued to build their lead while the Friars kept missing shots, using a 9-0 run to pull to a 59-38 advantage on Moses Morgan's put-back with 11 12 minutes left. Providence missed 11 of its first 14 shots in the opening 8 minutes of the second half.

Donnavan Kirk's 3-point play gave DePaul a 62-40 lead with 9:52 left.

The Friars used a press of their own to get a few steals in a late charge, closing it to 70-60 on Cotton's 3-pointer with 2:37 to go. Cotton had another 3 and a free throw to make it 72-64 with just under 2 minutes left.

In the first half, neither team held more than a two-possession lead until the Blue Demons scored the final six points of the half, taking a 37-30 edge into intermission.

In the sloppily played opening 20 minutes that lacked any flow, mainly caused by the Blue Demons' half and fullcourt trapping defense that had Providence struggling to get into its offensive sets, the Friars started ice cold from the floor and missed eight of their initial 10 shots. DePaul was even worse, making just 2 of 11, forcing a handful of long jumpers against Providence's 2-3 zone defense. The Blue Demons couldn't figure out how to get the ball inside in the early minutes.

The Friars, coming off an 18-point loss at No. 4 Louisville on Wednesday, led 22-17 before Melvin scored all nine points during a 9-2 run over a 1:47 stretch that pushed DePaul ahead for the rest of the half.

Cotton didn't start and was held without a basket until he had a fast-break layup with 1:37 left in the half, cutting it to 31-30 before the Blue Demons had the final six points of the half.

The Blue Demons lost their conference opener by one point at home against Seton Hall.

High School coaches 'leave no stone unturned' in helping players explore next level

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Photo at top: Loyola Academy assistant coach Paul Pryma extends his hand toward a Steinmetz High School player during pregame introductions on Feb. 21. (Andres Waters/MEDILL)

High School coaches 'leave no stone unturned' in helping players explore next level

By Andres Waters
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

After Loyola Academy held off rival New Trier 43-40 to win the 2017 Zion-Benton regional championship, Ramblers head coach Tom Livatino had a special message for his players.

"That's the best celebration that I have ever been a part of," Livatino said. "Because everybody was completely about love. You guys love each other and we all can tell. I'm really, really proud just to be one of our coaches."

While the speech was a powerful way for Livatino to tell the players of his appreciation, he and other high school coaches engage in something much bigger to show players how proud they are: college recruiting.

In addition to time spent planning and practicing, coaches also sacrifice countless hours each week helping their players find opportunities to play at the next level.

"It's a really long part of the process, but to be honest, it's a part of the job that I absolutely love," Livatino said. "We demand so much of our players in every aspect. And, from a basketball standpoint, the least I could do is everything in my power to help them out."

Less than 48 hours after the Ramblers completed their season with a loss to Evanston Township in the Waukegan Sectional semifinal, Livatino was back in his office holding individual meetings with each player.

Starting with the 10 departing seniors, Livatino discussed the factors that go into choosing a college for high school athletes.

His conversations with the two players who already committed, senior guards Ramar Evans and Matt Lynch, focused on how they felt about their next steps. With the others, Livatino asked whether they wanted to play at the next level and, if so, which schools they wanted to attend that shared an interest in them. The conversations held with the Ramblers' juniors are very similar.

"I wasn't just looking for basketball, I was looking for a fit academically and socially," said Lynch, who committed to Division III St. Norbert College. "[Livatino] said St. Norbert would be the best fit for me. It fit everything I was looking for."

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.

From dunks to deliveries: Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin's unlikely success story

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Photo at top: La Rue Martin poses for a photo at a National Basketball Retired Players Association event. (Photo courtesy of La Rue Martin)

From dunks to deliveries: Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin's unlikely success story

By Elan Kane
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

LaRue Martin Jr. thought his future was set. The Portland Trail Blazers had drafted him No. 1 overall in the 1972 NBA draft. Money and fame awaited.

Fifteen years later, he started work as a UPS driver, struggling to find uniform pants that fit his 6-foot-11 frame.

"There is life after sports," Martin said. "Period."

It's been 45 years since the draft and Martin, a former Loyola University star, is now the UPS Illinois district public affairs and community services manager. He is labeled by many as one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history, but he is fine with that designation.

"I don't believe in saying anything negative, you have no control over that," Martin said. "I took care of my family, did what I had to do and I'm the type of person I can't dwell off the negatives. I can't. I kept my head up high and moved onto a positive mode of life and it has treated me very well."

Martin averaged 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in 14 minutes per game in just four seasons with the Trail Blazers. He blames his low numbers on his lack of playing time, but many believe he was just not good enough.

"He didn't get playing time because he [stunk]," said Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan, who has covered the NBA for decades. "[Former No. 1 overall draft pick Michael] Olowokandi didn't do much but I think he did more than that."

Martin is used to the criticism.

"As a young man, reading the papers all the time, that bothered me, I must admit that," Martin said. "But I hold my head up high now because I've been very successful in the corporate world."

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.