The Cleveland (Melvin) Show
Published: Sunday, November 6, 2011
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Some secrets are just too good to be kept. For DePaul's 2010-11 Big East Rookie of the Year, Cleveland Melvin, the word is out and the bulls-eye has been firmly affixed.
There will be no sneaking up on anyone this year and Melvin, a 6'8" 205-pound forward, has spent the offseason improving his game in anticipation of opposing teams' heightened attention. His injured thumb is "one hundred percent" and he's been working on his outside game.
Melvin concedes that DePaul's team is young and that presents its challenges. He's been asked to step into a leadership role and he relishes that opportunity. "Coach Purnell has been a great leader and has asked me to keep the younger guys together and focused and to play harder this season, because it's going to be tougher than last year.
"I know a lot of teams are going to come at me with different looks and stuff and that I just have to adjust my game accordingly." Melvin said. "I know I'm going to play a lot more minutes and I've been trying to stay in great shape for my sophomore season."
When asked about whether certain Big East Teams bring out the best in him, he says that great defensive teams like Georgetown certainly pique his interest. He dropped 29 points on them last New Year's Day. "They're big and physical and you definitely get up for them," Melvin said.
Melvin set the DePaul freshman record with a .522 field goal percentage, eclipsing Mark Aguirre's .520 mark set in 1978-79. Basketball is a numbers game and Melvin will certainly be scrutinized on this year's stats.
When asked about the NBA lockout and its effect on his future, Melvin demurred, "I hope it drives more fans into seeing DePaul basketball games and for right now I'm focusing on winning more Big East games."
DePaul was ranked 59th in attendance in the NCAA last year with an average of 8,451 fans per game. The Blue Demons were 1-17 in the Big East last year, so this year will be an opportunity for the Blue Demons to improve in all regards. Again, all eyes will be on Melvin to see if he can rise to the occasion and help DePaul accomplish this goal.
The Baltimore native says that Chicago has shown him "great love" and that the Big East is the toughest conference there is, and is certainly more physical than the ACC. Melvin is now a marked man. It's up to him to decide whether that mark is an exclamation or a question.