August 30, 2011

Marrero's Family Values

The first member of DePaul's 2012 recruiting class, three-star forward DeJuan Marrero, believes in the importance of playing tough on the floor all the time. Off the floor, he embraces the importance of academics and family.

Academics and family played significant roles in the 6-foot-5, 200-pound forward's decision to give DePaul and head coach Oliver Purnell a verbal commitment today on his unofficial visit to the campus.

"First, it was the academics," Marrero said. "It (DePaul) was close to my mom. It is 20-30 minutes away."

The native of Gary, Ind. had to make certain that his college destination was close enough to his mother and family so that they could see him play. Marrero already felt as if he was a part of another family on his visit.

"They (DePaul coaches) treated me like family," Marrero said. "[I] felt it was time [to commit]."

Marrero, a senior at The Bowman Leadership Academy in Gary, Ind., referenced the close relationship he had developed with assistant coach Billy Garrett as a big factor in his decision. Starting when Marrero was in seventh grade, Garrett became an active member in Marrero's life.

Throughout the recruiting process with DePaul, the relationship continued on.

"Coach Billy Garrett was on me hard," Marrero said. "Ever since I was little he was around. He was loyal to me. I gave him my loyalty back."

Last season at Bowman, Marrero put together an all-around strong season that attracted the interest of plenty of high major schools. Marrero averaged 22.1 points, 15.3 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, 2.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game.

Marrero received offers from a host of Big Ten schools including Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue and Ohio State. Memphis and Xavier also offered.

When reading any scouting report on Marrero, the words physical, tough and relentless always seem to appear. Marrero makes a point every game to embrace that energetic style of play.

"I like to play hard every game," Marrero said. "Play every game like it's my last and represent my city."

His playing style has led him to be prone to playing inside more heavily than outside on offense. The style has given him commonly heard "tweener" word that is thrown out there when a player is between positions.

Purnell made it clear to Marrero what position he sees Marrero playing in the 2012-2013 season.

"Coach Purnell told me that I would play at the three," Marrero said. "I can guard all the positions."

"Now it is my turn to put in the work."

The work begins now and will continue on when Bowman begins their regular season in November. Marrero has already begun thinking about what he needs to improve upon to make an immediate impact at DePaul.

"My shooting-I want to get that consistent and get my repetitions up," Marrero said.

Continuous improvement is always on the mind of the determined Marrero, but extra motivation may have come from last week's updated Class of 2012 rankings. Marrero went from the 129th spot to being unranked.

"It does (extra motivation to prove doubters wrong), but that's their opinion," Marrero said. "I know that I am better than most of those players (on the list)."

Marrero's commitment leaves DePaul with 11 committed scholarships and two available scholarships for the 2012 class.

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