DePaul lands Chicago-area recruit

CHICAGO -- DePaul's lack of success recruiting in Chicago was discussed and analyzed when the Blue Demons hired Oliver Purnell over the objections of several high school and AAU coaches in the city.

Purnell heard those claims and promised things would change.

On Tuesday, he began putting his words into action as DePaul received a commitment from Crete-Monee (Ill.) 6-foot-4 junior forward Jamie Crockett.

"I heard a lot of good things about the new coach," Crockett said. "He's kind of an old-school type of guy. He knew what he was talking about. I trusted him a lot. I went with that."

Crockett is best known as a high-flying forward who can score around the rim. He averaged 17 points for Crete-Monee last season.

"I bring a lot of energy, scoring," said Crockett, who plays on the AAU circuit for the Mac Irvin Fire. "I need to work on my defense, but I'll be ready."

Crockett may be the first Chicago player to give Purnell a commitment, but he doesn't plan on being the last.

"I'm working on trying to get some other player to come with me," Crockett said. "Hopefully, it all goes well."

Fire CEO Mike Irvin raved about Crockett's athletic ability.

"What DePaul is getting is the most athletic kid in the country," Irvin said. "Athletically, he's superior. The kid can run, defend and get up and down. I think he fits Oliver Purnell's system.

"I think this is a really good start for DePaul. Coach Purnell, he's trying to show he can recruit Chicago. That's a good thing.

"He's really been trying to recruit and got in there and got it done with Jamie. He's sat down with me and my father [Mac Irvin.] He's landed a Fire kid. That's a good thing."

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at preps@espnchicago.com.