There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time. We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey. Win the Day! #FAMILY
Rockets drop season opener on the Road to Roseville after leading by 3 points at halftime after Junior Brent Wiles half court buzzer beater.
Roseville’s basketball team has a 1-2 punch that it’s counting on to deliver knockout blows to many opponents this season.
The Panthers got 28 points from Anthony Cukaj and 21 from Martell Turner to lead Roseville to a 74-44 victory against New Haven Wednesday in a battle of defending Macomb Area Conference division champions.
“Those are the two guys we were most excited about coming into the season,” said Panthers coach Hassan Nizam. “What makes us even more excited is that 1-2 combo is strong but the supporting cast is strong. We have other guys who can make shots and make plays. It’s a blessing to have as a coach.
“That 1-2 punch is unselfish, too. Anthony and Martell pick and choose their spots very well, knowing when to attack and when not to attack.”
Cukaj got Roseville off to a good start with 13 points in the first quarter when the Panthers opened up a 22-16 lead.
“Things just fell into place,” Cukaj said. “On the first bucket of the game we beat the press, Troye Williams hit me for a layup and everything else just fell into place on offense. We didn’t force anything and that’s how the whole game went.”
New Haven bounced back with a strong second quarter and took a 29-26 lead to the locker room after Brent Wiles hit a buzzer beater from just inside mid court.
The second half was all Roseville. The Panthers scored the first eight points of the third quarter and outscored the Rockets 28-6 in the period. Turner scored 13 points in the third quarter, many of them coming in transition after forcing turnovers.
“We knew we had to pick it up and play some defense,” Turner said. “We knew we had to pick up the energy and keep it going. We were playing sluggish. If we wanted to win this game we had to play some defense. Defense wins games.”
Defense and rebounding were the keys to Roseville’s co-championship in the MAC Red last season and Nazim was happy to see this team return to those basic fundamentals after a loss in the season opener.
“The plan tonight was to play 32 minutes of fiery defense,” he said. “We wanted to get back to playing Roseville basketball. We established who we were the last two years but every team is independent of itself. This year’s team had to establish its identity and what better way to do it than tonight?
“When anybody asked me what our expectations were, I said if we can defend and rebound like we did last year we’re going to be better. If these guys let me remove that ‘if’ special things are going to happen. We did that in the second half. We held a very, very well-coached team that runs an offense that is very difficult to prepare for to 15 points in the second half. That’s 100 percent credit to our guys.”
New Haven coach Tedaro France II was encouraged by the way the Rockets came back in the second quarter, but admitted there’s still a lot of work to be done before New Haven can defend its MAC White championship.
“We played a great first half,” France said .”In the second half we made some mistakes but we’re still young. We’re trying to get better day-by-day. Our second quarter shows we have a good base to build from. Now we have to continue to work hard, watch film, learn from our mistakes and come back the next day and just get better.
“Our guards are young and (Roseville) pressures the ball real well. Once they get more confidence we’ll handle the press a lot better.”
Wiles led New Haven with 17 points, including 13 in the first half. Delano Sanders added 11 points off the bench for Roseville.
New Haven (0-1): Tyree France 7, Brent Wiles 17, Ja’me McQueen 2, Brandon Lisco 7, Michael Williams Jr. 3, Trevon Jeffery 2, Dezmond Gilleylen 2, Zander Weaver 1, JaQuan Kincaid 3. Totals: 16 (4) 8-12—44.
Roseville (1-1): Martell Turner 21, Jaheim Swaizey 4, Anthony Cukaj 28, Jason Hunter 3, Tyree Anderson 3, Delano Sanders 11, Anthony Rosati 4. Totals: 31 (6) 6-11—74.
The Rockets wanted to face a challenge in the season opener, and they got just that from Division 1 Roseville.
ROSEVILLE — One of Martell Turner's three dunks saw the Roseville guard sky past the defense for a rim-shaking, one-handed throw down that ignited a 16-6 run in the fourth quarter on Wednesday night.
The Panthers' pressure defense suffocated the Rockets all game long, leading to transition bucket after transition bucket and plenty of other highlights separate from Turner's dunks.
And New Haven coach Tedaro France loved every second of it.
Roseville is almost four times the size of Class C New Haven in enrollment and features a senior class with loads of talented guards and big men.
The Panthers aren't on New Haven's schedule by accident either. The Rockets didn't just add Roseville to its schedule in desperation, to ensure a 20-game schedule.
They wanted to see a premier full-court pressure defense that can trap you from any angle on the floor, and they got just that during their 74-44 season-opening loss.
"We can practice against pressure all day long, but it's a game experience like this that'll be best for these guys," France said.
This is the next era of New Haven boys basketball.
Gone to DePaul is Romeo Weems, the talented forward who has traded in his 99-7 record and 2,151 career points with the Rockets for Big East Freshman of the Week honors.
This isn't the 2017 Class B state championship Rockets. This year's squad features four freshmen, a bunch of juniors stepping into more important roles and a handful of seniors ready to leave their mark on the program.
So it's going to take early season losses to Division 1 schools such as Roseville to prepare New Haven for a deep run in the Macomb Area Conference-White as well as the postseason.
"We've got a young group, so we've just got to continue to build on the great stuff and learn from the mistakes," France said. "As the season goes along, they're going to continue to get better."
New Haven's Brent Wiles drove to the hoop for a basket just mere seconds after the opening tip against the Panthers, but then things fell apart for the Rockets as Roseville went on an 11-0 run, grabbed a commanding lead and got a 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer by Anthony Cukaj, who scored a game-high 26 points.
The Rockets rallied in the next quarter, though. They opened on a 7-0 run of their own, with Wiles knocking down a turnaround jumper in the paint to give his squad a 23-22 lead with 4:22 left before halftime.
Guard Tyree France did his best to navigate past Roseville's pressure defense, and New Haven continued to collect buckets that sucked the excitement out of the gym for the Panthers' fans.
Roseville made just two field goals in the period, which ended with Wiles burying a half-court shot at the buzzer to ensure New Haven a 29-26 halftime lead.
"It shows that we've got a good base to build from," Coach France said. "Now we've just got to continue to work hard, watch film and go back and learn. We need to come back the next day and get better."
Momentum turned in the third when Roseville elevated its energy on defense again and smothered New Haven's ballhandlers in the backcourt.
Turner, who scored 21 points, slammed home a dunk on a breakaway to give Roseville a 13-point lead that quickly turned into a 21-point advantage before the fourth started.
"We came out in the second half, and we let their pressure get to us," Coach France said. "I expect that with young guys coming in here. That's why this is a great first test for us to come in here and play against their great guards."
The pieces are in place for New Haven to have a great season.
Wiles dominated at forward at times, scoring 13 of his team-best 17 points in the first half. But foul trouble limited the play of forwards Brandon Lisco and JaQuan Kincaid, who both should add a presence in the paint.
The Rockets just need to shore up their guard play. Tyree France, Ja'me McQueen and Michael Williams Jr. stood out, but Coach France wants to see more out of that position group.
"Our guards are young, and they (Roseville) pressure the ball really, really good," he said. "We only have one guard right now, so we're trying to get some more guys that can build up their confidence to handle the ball. Once they build that confidence, I think they'll do a lot better with more ballhandlers."
No matter what Coach France throws at his players in practice the rest of the season, the Rockets should rest easy knowing that nothing will be as challenging as what they faced in the season opener at Roseville.
Now's their chance to build off an ugly loss and grow as a team.
There is BC which means Before Jesus was born.
Then there is AD, which means After Jesus was born.
At New Haven High School, there is a new way to align the calendar.
It is AR.
Translated, After Romeo.
Romeo Weems, a perpetual presence on the high school all-state lists and the reigning Mr. Basketball, is no longer at New Haven High School. A college freshman, he is now in the starting lineup at DePaul. The Blue Demons play in the Big East and are undefeated after beating Texas Tech in overtime Wednesday night.
“Romeo was a great player. He was a generational player and you can’t replace a player like him. He left his mark here. He was a great kid and he set the bar high,” said Tedaro France, the coach at New Haven.
“It is not about making the home run plays here,” continued France, talking about the transition to this year’s team. “It is about making the small plays consistently. I want to have kids who are consistent on making the small plays, the kind of plays that win games.”
Playing sound, fundamental defense. Sticking to the blueprint on offense. Setting picks and making sharp cuts to the basket. Passing to the open man. Taking good shots.
All of the stuff that might never make the highlight compilation on ESPN, but does just fine on the high school basketball court.
There are six returning players from the 2018-2019 team. That group is led by 6-4 junior forward Brent Wiles, who started for the Rockets last year.
“Brent is a great kid,” said France. “He will play inside but he can also hit the three. He got stronger and he’s going to have a big year for us.”
Point guard Tyree France started six games last year. He’s a 5-11 point guard and is the coach’s son.
“He’s a smart player, very skilled and a good shooter. He’s my son and of course he has to know the game,” said his dad, laughing.
Four more seniors round out the returning players. Mike Williams Jr. is a 5-10 guard; JaQuan Kincaid is a 6-6 forward; Ja’me McQueen is a 5-11 guard; and Brandon Lisco is a 6-5 forward.
Necomers from the junior varsity team are Mitchell Goolsby, Devin Gilleylen and 6-5 Zander Weaver.
One of the keys for New Haven is how fast the four freshmen on the roster adjust both mentally and physically to the varsity level. They are Dezmond Gilleylen, Keyondre Gamez, Trevon Jeffery and Devin Sanford.
The whole AR (After Romeo) calendar might be overstating things. France’s program has known plenty of success before Weems and the coach expects that to continue.
In 11 seasons, France has gone 209-60, which means he is averaging 19 wins a season.
“The year before Romeo came here we went to the quarterfinals and we were 25-1,” said the coach. “Two years before that, we also made the quarterfinals. Romeo took us to the next level, but we had success before he came.”
The 2017 New Haven squad beat Ludington 45-36 to capture the Class B state championship. The Rockets fell to Grand Rapids in the semifinals in 2018.
“A lot of people in the summertime told my players that since Romeo Weems is gone that New Haven is not going to be any good or this and that or what not, so these kids already have a chip on their shoulders,” said the New Haven coach.
"As a coach one of the things I love the most about this game is the process. Getting a group of individuals to come together as one team through hard work, sacrifice, commitment and selflessness. Expectations for our basketball program is always high," said France.
The Rockets open the season Wednesday at Roseville. On Sunday, Dec. 15, they take on Detroit Loyola at 12:30 p.m. The game is part of the MAC-Catholic League Challenge that will take place at Calihan Hall on the campus of the University of Detroit Mercy
Coach Tedaro France congratulates Romeo Weems and the DePaul University basketball team on big victory over last season final four team Texas Tech University
Congrats Romeo Weems on a huge win over Texas Tech. He is a great kid, great teammate and one of the most selfless individuals to play the game. Great player that does it all, everything to help his team succeed and defends at the highest level. Kid is a flat out winner! #FAMILY
CHICAGO – For the second straight week, DePaul's Romeo Weems was named Freshman of the Week by the BIG EAST Conference. Charlie Moore was also honored with his second appearance on the league's weekly honor roll after the duo led the Blue Demons to a win at Boston College on Saturday.
Weems posted his first double-double with career highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds against the Eagles. He added three steals and two assists while knocking down a pair of three-pointers in just over 35 minutes of action.
He is the first multiple winner of the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week for DePaul since Billy Garrett Jr. earned the recognition five times during the 2013-14 season. Garrett went on to win the BIG EAST Freshman of the Year award in 2014. Weems is the fifth DePaul freshman with more than one weekly award joining Wilson Chandler (2005-06), Brandon Young (2010-11), Cleveland Melvin (2010-11) and Garrett.
Moore led DePaul with 24 points, eight assists and four rebounds in the 72-67 win at Boston College. He sealed the win for the Blue Demons with two three-pointers and two free throws in the final 1:16 of the game. Moore finished the game 7-for-7 at the free throw line and tied his career high with the eight assists.
This week's recognition is second honor roll appearance for Moore following a mention after the first week of the season. DePaul has placed a player on the BIG EAST Honor Roll in each of the first three weeks as Paul Reed was selected in the second week.
Villanova's Collin Gillespie was named Player of the Week while Moore was joined on the honor roll by Kamar Baldwin of Butler, Creighton's Marcus Zegarowski, Omer Yurtseven from Georgetown and Xavier's Paul Scruggs.
The Blue Demons host Central Michigan on Tuesday night at Wintrust Arena before traveling to Minnesota for a Friday afternoon game. Start time on Tuesday against the Chippewas is set for 7 p.m. on FS1 and WSCR (670 AM).
Early Entrant Outlook: Romeo Weems 6-7, 210, Freshman, DePaul University. www.professionalbasketballcombine.com
After dominating the Michigan prep hoops scene at New Haven High and shining on the Nike EYBL AAU circuit, Weems shocked the nation by committing to DePaul, spurning the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon, and Ohio State. Weems, a highly touted but somewhat underrated recruit (RSCI: 53), also accumulated valuable international experience, competing for USA Basketball winning gold medals in the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2018 U17 World Cup. The versatile freshman is off to a great start to his college career and has all the tools to eventually translate as an impact NBA forward, but has been omitted from many of the early mainstream 2020 NBA Draft boards and mocks. Expect that to change as the season progresses. With plus-measurables and athleticism anchoring an ever-evolving skill set, Weems is certainly a diaper dandy to key in on as a potential riser and eventual one-and-done candidate.
Tale of the Tape
Rim-Running & Transition Offense
In the modern NBA, nearly every team is seeking hybrid forwards that can create havoc defensively and turn that defense into efficient transition scoring opportunities. Weems excels in this regard. He has great straight-line speed in the open floor, paired with a nice combination of explosive vertical pop and shifty, functional footwork. Weems has already proven a lethal transition threat in multiple regards: beating his man down the court for an uncontested bucket, filling his lane as and alley-oop threat, and euro-stepping past the opposition’s last line of defense. He’s been a stock-monster in the early season: one of only 25 qualifying freshmen with a 3+STL% and 4+BLK%, which often kick-starts DePaul’s transition attack. Weems, despite his handle being somewhat of a work in progress, is also fairly comfortable going coast-to-coast as a transition handler which, in conjunction with his turnover creation and aforementioned transition versatility, makes him the top scorer amongst those 25 qualified freshmen.
In the clip below, we highlight Weems’ success through six games with DePaul at punishing teams in transition.
In 19 transition possessions to-date, Weems ranks in the 86th percentile by converting at a clip of 1.368 PPP. While this sample size is small, it aligns with his historical pre-NCAA production and skill set. Expect Weems to continue to create turnovers and thrive in transition.
The next evolution to his transition arsenal will be furthered development as a facilitator for others on the break. His effectiveness as a transition finisher and rim-runner should draw more and more defensive attention as the season progresses. Weems, an underrated passer who proved a very capable distributor in international competitions, has shown some flashes of vision and, if he can consistently read and react to opposing transition defenders shading his way by finding his teammates filling lanes, he’ll be nearly unstoppable in the open floor.
Motor & Defensive Versatility
Weems busts his ass on defense. He’s consistently locked into a defensive stance as an on-ball defender and remains engaged with his head on a swivel as an off-ball team defender. This defensive engagement, in conjunction with his length (~6’10” wingspan) and functional athleticism make Weems capable of guarding several positions, forcing tough shots / on-ball turnovers, and creating chaos as an impact defender jumping passing lanes and providing help-side rim protection.
In the clip below, we highlight Weems’ on-ball and off-ball motor and engagement on the defensive end, as well as a high-effort putback on the offensive end.
While Weems has the prerequisite length and wiry strength to guard up a position in college, he could stand to continue to add to his frame (enough to endure physicality but not lose speed/quickness) to ensure this switchability translates to guarding big fours and occasional small-ball fives the next level. Additionally, while the defensive impact plays are highly encouraging and a great indicator of Weems’ high-level defensive instincts, he could stand to ensure that maintains a healthy balance of taking risks and remaining disciplined on the defensive end.
Weems is, perhaps, one of the most underrated 2020 NBA Draft prospects at this point in the process. His Nike EYBL performance was very encouraging and is already translating to early success as a freshman at DePaul. In his first handful of games as a Blue Demon, Weems has played to his strengths by knocking down spot-up jumpers in the half-court and pushing the pace in transition. His motor, versatility, instincts, and athleticism have immediately stood out on the defensive end.
Weems' range of outcomes is particularly variable at this point. He’s flying a bit under the radar and consensus currently projects him on the fringe of draftability. We project his stock to continue to rise throughout the season and for Weems to warrant late 1st Round to early 2nd Round consideration when spring rolls around. If Weems does pick up some momentum, catches the eyes of a few NBA General Managers, and receives positive feedback as it pertains to draft position and a guaranteed contract, he very well may stay in the 2020 NBA Draft pool. If he either doesn’t declare or tests the waters and withdraws, expect him to be one of the top returning prospects in the nation as a sophomore heading into the 2021 NBA Draft scouting season.
Freshman Romeo Weems stepped up big today with a double-double effort of career high 17 points and career high 10 rebounds helping lead DePual to a victory over Boston College
Last year at Wintrust Arena, the Boston College Eagles rallied in the game’s final minute to defeat DePaul. The Blue Demons weren’t about to let that happen again.
With 54 seconds remaining, DePaul (6-0) found themselves holding on to a 65-64 lead for dear life.
That was when Kansas transfer Charlie Moore stepped up and drained two three pointers and knocked down two free throws in the final 50 seconds to preserve the 72-67 victory at Conte Forum for the Blue Demons.
“This was the first time all year that we had some adversity,” DePaul coach Dave Leitao told WSCR Radio. “I said that we’ve got to be able to buckle down and do the things that require us to do at that particular time. I thought our defense throughout the game was really good. They only shot 36 percent overall. It was good late when we needed to be.”
Moore led all scorers with 24 points and dished out eight assists while playing 39 of the game’s 40 minutes.
Freshman Romeo Weems stepped up big today with a double-double effort of career high 17 points and career high 10 rebounds.
DePaul junior big man Paul Reed played only 26 minutes due to foul trouble, but still managed to record his fifth double-double effort out of the last six games. Reed finished with 11 points on five of nine shooting along with 10 rebounds.
Junior Jaylen Butz contributed 11 points and six rebounds.
Rebounding was a key for the Blue Demons in the victory. DePaul owned the glass and outrebounded Boston College (4-2) by a 47-28 margin. The Demons especially did well on the offensive glass with a 16-6 edge there.
“You support your defense from the inside-out,” said Leitao. “I think (Butz) did a really good job today. Paul got in foul trouble today, but his length mattered and they both rebounded and didn’t give up a lot of second shots.”
The Blue Demons also helped their cause by knocking down their free throws when it mattered the most.
Leitao, a native of nearby New Bedford, Massachusetts was glad to get the victory with lots of family and friends in attendance.
“It means the world,” Leitao said of seeing the family and getting the win.
USC transfer Derryck Thornton led the way for the Eagles with 16 points.
The Blue Demons will return to Wintrust Arena on Tuesday night where they will face the Central Michigan Chippewas.
Cops vs Coaches Champions again. Big thanks to Ms Martin who has done a great job organizing this event the last 5 years and thanks to the Macomb County Sheriffs. It is always a great game. Overtime 4 out 5 years! Coach France named game MVP #Rockets
EDMOND, Okla. -- Midwestern State's D'monta Harris had a near flawless shooting night while pouring in 36 points Wednesday night at Hamilton Fieldhouse.
The senior from Pontiac, Mich. didn't miss a shot until after halftime finishing the night 13-for-15 from the field and 8-of-9 from the arc. Harris polished off the game with his second consecutive double-double with 10 rebounds.
His heroics were enough to bring MSU back to the brink of claiming its first win of the season as the Mustangs trimmed a 13-point, second-half deficit to a single bucket when Darius Thompson converted a steal into a layup to pull Midwestern to within 69-67 with 1:43 to go.
Thompson, once again, was strong in the second half scoring nine of his 15 points in the final 2:17. The Memphis, Tenn. native also distributed a team-high six assists.
But the Mustangs misfired on three free throws in the final minute allowing Central Oklahoma to secure a win in its home opener.
Dashawn McDowell scored 20 points to lead Central Oklahoma which shot 59.3 percent from the field and was 12-of-27 from 3-point range (44.4 percent).
Harris used his historic scoring night to raise his season scoring average to 18.8 points per game. The 36 points are the most since Chris Hagan scored the same number of points agianst Angelo State on Feb. 23, 2011 at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. It was the same season which Hagan set a school record with 50 points at Cameron.
Sophomore forward Jalin Brown scored eight points, grabbed eight rebounds and swatted three shots, while sophomore Trae Jones connected on two 3-pointers to finish with six points and four assists.
Midwestern State dropped to 0-5 for the first itme since the 1988-89 season, while Central Oklahoma improved to 2-4.
The Mustangs compete in the MIAA Thanksgiving Challenge against Central Missouri Tuesday night at Municipal Arena in Kansas City. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
RED HOT! Midwestern State Senior and New Haven alum D'monta Harris is a perfect 8-for-8 from the field firing in five triples to score 21 points in the opening half.
CHICAGO – DePaul's Romeo Weems was named Freshman of the Week and Paul Reed was picked for the league's weekly honor roll following a 2-0 week for the Blue Demons. It is the first weekly honor this season for both players.
Weems nearly posted a pair of double-doubles in games against Iowa and Cornell while averaging 9.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.5 blocked shots. The Detroit native shot .467 (7-15) from the field and went 2-of-4 from three-point range.
In Monday's game at Iowa, he scored nine points with six rebounds, five assists, three blocked shots and a steal while going 4-for-7 from the field and 1-for-2 from behind the arc. On Saturday against Cornell, Weems totaled nine points, eight rebounds, four assists and a steal while posting a team-high plus-minus of 32 in just over 28 minutes against the Big Red.
Reed continued his torrid start to the season with his third and fourth double-doubles. The junior forward averaged 21.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocked shots, 3.0 steals and 2.0 assists per game during the week while shooting .731 (19-26) from the field.
Reed scored 25 points with 12 rebounds at Iowa and added four steals, two blocked shots and an assist. He went 10-for-14 from the field, 3-for-4 from three-point range and connected on his two free throw attempts. The Orlando native followed the Iowa game with 18 points, 12 rebounds, four blocked shots, three assists and two steals against Cornell that included a 9-of-12 effort from the field.
Weems is the first Freshman of the Week for DePaul since Eli Cain claimed the honor during the 2015-16 season. He is the ninth player to pick up the award for first-year players since Wilson Chandler was named twice during the 2005-06 season.
This week's recognition is third Honor Roll appearance for Reed. He was named twice last season during conference play. DePaul has placed a player on the BIG EAST Honor Roll in each of the first two weeks as Charlie Moore was recognized on the first honor roll of the season.
Seton Hall's Myles Powell was named Player of the Week while Reed was joined on the honor roll by Kamar Baldwin of Butler, Creighton's Ty-Shon Alexander, Omer Yurtseven from Georgetown and Xavier's Paul Scruggs.
The Blue Demons go on the road later this week for a Saturday afternoon game at Boston College. Start time at Conte Forum is Noon ET on ACC Network Extra and WSCR 670 The Score. DePaul returns to Wintrust Arena next Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game against Central Michigan.
Rocket alum 6-7 forward Ashton Sherrell had a great start to his sophomore season at Lake Superior State University
It’s been awhile since the DePaul Blue Demons have had an impact freshman like Romeo Weems.
The New Haven, Michigan native comes in as a heralded recruit. The 6-7 forward was ranked as a four star prospect, the 62nd best player in the class of 2019 on the 247Sports.com Composite rankings, the number one player in the state of Michigan, and the 11th best power forward in the nation.
Weems was recognized on the international stage as well, having played on the USA national team for his age group the last two years and brought home gold medals each time.
Romeo chose DePaul over offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Oregon.
Weems has a reputation as a stat. stuffer.
As a senior at New Haven High School, he averaged 27.9 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.2 steals, 3.5 assists and 2.6 blocks per game. He led the Rockets to the Michigan Class B state quarterfinals.
He’s a guy who will make an immediate impact as a starter for the Blue Demons.
“He was a Mr. Basketball in the state of Michigan,” said Blue Demons coach Dave Leitao. “I think he’s going to have a tremendous year for us. He’s a guy who can fill a lot of categories. He can score, he can rebound, he’s athletic, he can run, in the early part of his career he looks like he can be a really good defender, and he’s a great teammate.”
Since arriving on campus in June, Weems has been adjusting to college life.
“It’s been great,” said Weems. “Every day I’m getting better. I’m getting more and more used to the school and the basketball part of it. It’s been tough, but it’s been good tough. The team has been coming together well. The coaches and everybody are getting used to each other.”
It is never easy for freshmen to get accustomed to life at the next level, as Leitao will attest.
“They (freshman) have moments where they feel really comfortable and a lot of other moments where they feel lost, because that’s typical for somebody that’s new,” Leitao said.
To ease into that life, Weems got to travel with his new teammates to France and Italy in August, where the Demons went 3-0 on their tour against European teams. Romeo averaged 10 points and five rebounds per game while playing 22.7 minutes per game on the European tour. He shot 54.2 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from beyond the arc.
“It was a good experience,” Romeo said of the trip. “We were getting a feel for each other. There are a lot of new guys so we have to get that chemistry. I think we did well. We learned some things. It was a learning trip as well as coming together and getting to know each other. We had fun. It was a fun trip.”
Weems is expected to step right in and contribute immediately for the Blue Demons when they open up their season on November 5th at Wintrust Arena. He brings some needed qualities to the team.
“I bring length, defensive rebounding, offensive rebounding, closing out on the shooters, taking away shots, helping in the gaps, especially with length,” Weems said.
With the addition of Weems, the Blue Demons will be a better defensive team this season. It’s an area where the team needs to improve after finishing eighth in the Big East in Defensive Field Goal percentage (45.1%) last season.
“Overall we now have the ability to be more athletic and get to spots quicker,” said Leitao. “I think that was part of what ailed us last year. We were splintered and gave up a lot of threes. Our position may have been OK, but we weren’t as quick to the ball very often. I think Romeo’s athleticism and especially his intent will allow us to, especially for a freshman, quickly be more effective on defense individually and collectively.”
One challenge for this year’s DePaul squad has been blending in newcomers like Weems with the returning veterans on the team.
“It’s been tough of course, but every day I feel like we get better and get more used to it,” said Romeo. “We have our bad days, but every day we get better and step forward and are coming together. All of the younger guys, including me, make mistakes, but that comes with the process.”
It’s a team that looks to improve upon last year’s record.
So what does Weems think the Demons need to do to be successful this season?
“Just play our game, play hard, play smart, attack, rebound, no turnovers, and just play for each other.”
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