Chicago mayor expected to announce plans for $300 million DePaul arena

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Sometimes, it’s amazing that DePaul has struggled as mightily as it has recently. It’s far and away has the greatest college basketball tradition of any school in the state of Illinois, short of the Illini themselves and rivals Northwestern in terms of dominating the Chicago-land collegiate landscape, athletically.

But nonetheless, the last decade has been cruel for the Blue Demons, but the Mayor of Chicago has a plan to help end the hurt, with Rahm Emanuel expected to announce plans to build a $300 million arena for DePaul, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The plans will include $100 million coming from taxpayer dollars in the Chicago area, with the university committing $100 million to the project as well.

“The plans will pimp Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s attempt to lure the Blue Demons to the United Center and the new training facility he is building near the United Center,” one source told the Chicago Sun-Times. “This really ups the competition.”

The arena will be located at McCormick Place. Earlier this year, DePaul declined an offer for a 10-year, rent-free offer from Reinsdorf to move their games to the United Center in downtown Chicago to pursue Emanuel’s offer. The plan also features hotels in the area as well as ideas for tourism trade.

The Blue Demons have played their home games in Rosemont, Ill. since 1980.

“DePaul for years has been talking about a stadium in Chicago that’s better for their basketball team, better for their fans and better to be closer to home,” Emanuel said then.

DePaul has too much tradition to be as bad as it is. Bringing in coach Oliver Purnell was suppose to help things, and he’s recruited at an average level, but there has to be more to it than that. A new arena would help things, especially if you put said arena in an area that could be a social epicenter. But then, it’ll take a strong product inside that arena to keep people filling the seats.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

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Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.