Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 10/19/11

Any chance that Oliver Purnell‘s re-building project at DePaul would take effect this season has been severely hampered due to the loss of two players to injury and one freshman being ruled ineligible.  As a result, the Blue Demons will enter the 2011-2012 season with just nine scholarship players available for the first semester.

It had to be considered a little victory for DePaul that in the media preseason poll, they were picked to finish 15th in the 16-team Big East.  For a team that has won just two conference games in the past three seasons, any glimmer of hope can be encouraging.  However, in the past few days the Blue Demons have found out that they will be extremely short-handed.

Tony Freeland was the team’s third leading scorer and second leading rebounder a year ago and was expected to start alongside Cleveland Melvin in the frontcourt this season.  The 6-7 junior will instead be sidelined for the season due to shoulder surgery.

The frontcourt took another hit when freshman Montray Clemons slipped during warm-ups at the team’s Blue Madness event Friday night and suffered a ruptured patella tendon in his right knee.  Fellow freshman Macari Brooks failed to meet NCAA eligibility requirements and will not be allowed to play for the Blue Demons this season.  The 6-2 shooting guard will still attend DePaul and become eligible for the 2012-2013 season.  Add in the decision of point guard Shane Larkin to withdraw from school and transfer closer to home and it has already been a rough stretch for DePaul who still doesn’t tip-off the season for another few weeks.

With Miami transfer Donnovan Kirk not becoming eligible until after the first semester, it also leaves the Blue Demons with a thin roster consisting of just nine scholarship players.   Their depth chart figures to look something like this for the first ten games of the season when you include junior college transfer Worel Clahar who just committed to the program last month:

C: Krys Faber (Sr)/Darrell Robertson (Fr)
PF: Cleveland Melvin (So)
SF: Moses Morgan (So)/Jamee Crockett (Fr)
G: Jeremiah Kelly (Sr)/Charles McKinney (Fr)
PG: Brandon Young (So)/Worel Clahar (Jr)

With the loss of three players in the past week, the uphill climb just got a bit steeper for Purnell and company.  This program just can’t catch a break.

CLICK HERE FOR MY DEPAUL SEASON PREVIEW PRIOR TO THESE LOSSES

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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