Chicago’s Finest: DePaul’s Mac Koshwal
With the DePaul Blue Demons having lost two NBA Draft picks for the first time in six years, a return to 20-14 in 2007-’08 seems like a pipe dream.
Wilson Chandler (No. 23 to the New York Knicks) and Sammy Mejia (No. 57 to the Detroit Pistons) were more than numbers to DePaul. They were heart and toughness.
If coach Jerry Wainwright has a chance of taking his DePaul team to a .500 conference record, as he has done in 12 of his 13 years as a Division 1 head coach (eight with UNC-Wilmington in the CAA, three with Richmond in the A10, and two with DePaul in the Big East), the newcomers will have to jump off the page and impress right from the start. One freshman in particular fills a distinct need for DePaul. Mac Koshwal appears to be the first traditional low-post scorer at DePaul since Andre Brown.
Against an undersized Northwestern team last Wednesday, Koshwal yanked down nine firsthalf rebounds, five of the offensive variety. Throughout the night he showed several flashes of brilliance to suggest that Mac will be special, and sooner rather than later. Running away from the play, he astutely swatted away a 40-foot fastbreak pass midair. Later, collecting an ambitious pass from Cliff Clinkscales, Mac caught an alley-oop right by the rim and dropped it in while wearing a Northwestern Wildcat player as a cape.
Koshwal could stand to become more selfish, but he certainly has the footwork and strength to become a serious threat.
The Blue Demon guards are still adjusting to feeding the post. During the last few years Chandler slashed to the post on his own. Lorenzo Thompson, Wesley Green, and Marcus Heard all stepped away from the bucket to do the little damage that they did.
Koshwal has the strong base and soft hands to post up old-school style, but he needs his teammates to feed him. Ideally Big Mac will evolve into the team’s number one scoring option, but right now he is still just a complimentary player. Think Horace Grant from the Bulls’ dynasty. Grant was extremely active on the boards and dumped in some nice floaters and lay-ups from time to time. Much like that of Grant, the current strength of Koshwal’s game is defense.
Mac has more foot dexterity than Grant did and should become a better player down the line. Though his ceiling is higher, the comparison is very similar right now. Koshwal would love to follow the career arc of an Emeka Okafor or Alonzo Mourning. These guys came to college as respected defenders and left with solid post games.
Where Big Mac’s game differs from these two bangers is in the passing dimension. Kosh has outstanding vision and makes passes that other big men would not even dream of. The tall freshman keeps his head up very well, enabling him to see weaknesses in the defense. He is simply a creative passer sometimes utilizing the risky but effective interior bounce pass.
In a perfect world Mac Koshwal would be allowed a year to develop naturally. Unfortunately, DePaul needs him to start scoring right now. The Demon’s projected leading scorer, Draelon Burns, has a minor injury and is reacting poorly to the added stress of being the number one option.
Endlessly devoted to the cause, Burns keeps losses with him longer than most college-aged men. Koshwal needs a scorer to balance the attack and allow his offense to gradually improve.
Naturally or un-naturally, Big Mac’s game will get there soon. It’s only a matter of time before he attains the title of Chicago’s Finest.