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Oliver Purnell Leaves Clemson for More Money, the Big East

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 19:  Head coach Oliver Purnell of the Clemson Tigers looks on from the bench against the Missouri Tigers during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at HSBC Arena on March 19, 2010 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Chris BurrowsCorrespondent IJune 12, 2016

Oliver Purnell, we hardly knew ye.

At best, going to DePaul is a lateral move. More likely, Purnell will have a much harder time trying to restore a team outside of the Big East mainstream than he had resurrecting the Clemson Tigers.

When was the last time the Blue Demons were competitive, anyway? Clemson made runs to the Sweet Sixteen in 1998 under Rick Barnes and in 1990 under Cliff Ellis.

DePaul last won two games in the big dance in 1987.

At this point, Tiger Nation is feeling a bit jilted. There were no warning signs that Purnell might bolt. DePaul had been searching for a head coach since they fired Jerry Wainwright in mid-January. At no point was Purnell mentioned as a candidate.

Either the deal came together very quickly or with some sealed lips. Is "Kiffin-esque" a viable term?

On the other hand, DePaul is an open book. They play in a huge arena, in a massive market. They have few fans, but a winning season in the Big East might fill a few seats.

Actually, winning more than a single game in two years of conference play might help that considerably.

If Purnell’s theory on the game doesn’t change, the Blue Demons will certainly play a different style of ball than is seen in the best of the Big East. Teams there don’t tend to press. Instead they play zone on defense and shoot over the top when they have the ball.

Recruiting won’t be a problem either. There’s plenty of talent in the area, and Purnell will certainly be able to mine gems in the Midwest.

Here’s what will probably happen.

In five years, DePaul will start a trend of going to the NCAA tournament as a No. 6, 7, 8, or 9 seed. They’ll promptly be sent home as their full-court pressure tendencies will be studied beforehand. In the meantime, Purnell’s bank account will swell.

Has anyone called Rick Barnes to see if he wants his old job back yet?

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