Wainwright Out at DePaul: What's Next?

Major KelchnerCorrespondent IJanuary 11, 2010

NEW YORK - MARCH 11:  Head coach Jerry Wainwright of the DePaul Blue Demons gestures from the sidelines against the Providence Friars during the second round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

DePaul has parted ways with head coach Jerry Wainwright part way through his fifth season. Wainwright compiled a 20-51 record with the Blue Demons.

Wainwright came to the Chicago-based university after seven years as head coach at UNC-Wilmington (84-44, two NCAA Tournament appearances) and three at Richmond (27-21 with one NCAA berth).

DePaul must move forward in a difficult situation and solve a plethora of problems to be able to complete in the rough-and-tumble Big East.  

The biggest challenge that the new Blue Demon's head coach will face is winning recruits on their home turf. 

Chicago is a hoop's hotbed, routinely producing top 100 talent but rarely seeing them land at DePaul.

According to scout.com , in 2008 and 2009 there were four top 100 recruits. They not only left Chicago but also left the state of Illinois. Their chosen destinations were Iowa State, Memphis, Oregon and Connecticut.

In 2007, it was one of the best recruiting years in recent memory for Chicago with five of the top 100 playing in the city; however, Evan Turner (Ohio State), Brandon McGee (Indiana), E'Twaun Moore (Purdue) and Derrick Rose (Memphis) all escaped DePaul's grasp. Wainwright was able to land current DePaul superstar Mac Koshwal from this class, who was one of the biggest recruits ever landed by the Blue Demons.

All but Moore are listed as having interest in DePaul but Koshwal is the only commit.  

In 2006, Kansas point guard Sherron Collins played his high school ball in Chicago, apparently not even giving DePaul a look.

DePaul has missed a lot of big scorers that have gone to other programs.  

During the '98-'99 season, DePaul had the Chicago-born trio of Quentin Richardson, Lance Williams and Bobby Simmons leading the way.  During their tenure, it was the last time Depaul was a relevant factor in college basketball.  With all of the talent that comes out of the city, a coach with either Chicago ties or with the ability to recruit Chicago has to be a priority.  

If the Blue Demons expect to compete in the Big East then the first step is to re-establish their recruiting grounds in Chicago and then branch out to the rest of the state of Illinois and into Indiana.  Other problems are present as well, but recruiting Chicago must become priority number one.

If DePaul can't win some Big East games and offer some competition to prove they belong, it may be time for the Big East to look at replacing the Blue Demons and bringing in a competitor.