By Charlie Roumeliotis
The DePaul Blue Demons are four weeks into basketball practice and will participate in their first exhibition game of the season in less than a week.
And head coach Oliver Purnell is getting a feel for what he has to work with this year.
"We're starting to find some things out about our team, our personnel, particularly the new guys, and putting the pieces together," he said. "I think it's coming together pretty well ... [There are] just so many things pointing towards exciting times to come."
DePaul averaged 34.2 rebounds per game in 2012-13, which ranked 10th in the Big East. So adding several big men over the summer was a focal point in the teams recruiting.
"That does make us bigger and stronger, but it's up to us to implement that strength into our offenses and defenses," Purnell said. "One of the major problems that we've had over the last couple of years is rebounding the basketball. Certainly, size and strength helps with that, so we're looking forward to see what our big guys can do."
The Blue Demons essentially overhauled their roster from a year ago after finishing a 11-21 record. With seven new members, the team will naturally experience growing pains.
"Any time you've got a lot of new guys, it makes the learning curve a little steeper and makes the process a little bit longer, but the end product [should be] better," Purnell said. "We needed size and strength. We've got some perimeter players, young ones that we're very high on from a talent standpoint, so we'd rather have new, bigger, and talented players then figure out how to use them in the best way."
DePaul's first exhibition game will be Tuesday, Oct. 29 against Lewis University. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the McGrath-Phillips Arena.