Brandon Young (above) said he has reached out to Cleveland Melvin during Melvin's suspension. “I’ve played with Cleve since we came here together as freshmen. He’s like a brother,” Young said. | Laurence Kesterson/AP
DePaul co-captain Brandon Young, benched in the second half of the team’s 84-74 loss Monday to Xavier, will be on the floor again Saturday at Seton Hall.
``I talked to him [Tuesday] for a long time, and we’re definitely on the same page,’’ said coach Oliver Purnell, who benched the senior guard for what he called a lack of leadership. ``I expect more of him, and he expects more of himself.’’
Purnell said he benched Young ``to send a message’’ after the Blue Demons (10-10, 2-5 Big East) trailed 50-32 at halftime. The team rallied to within seven in the second half, with walk-ons and reserves playing the last 20 minutes with senior Cleveland Melvin and freshman starter Billy Garrett Jr.
Young scored seven points in the first half, with two assists and three steals.
Melvin finished leading the team in scoring with 25 points.
``I didn’t like the way the team reacted when we hit a wall, so I decided to change things up,’’ Purnell said Wednesday. ``I liked the energy of our team the second half, and I hope that will carry over.
``I sent [Young] a strong message that he and Cleve really need to step up. This is `go’ time and we need Brandon and Cleve in particular to lead. They have to play better.’’
Melvin leads the team in scoring, averaging 16.7 points and 6.4 rebounds. Young is second averaging 14.1 points.
Melvin ranks third all-time in made field goals (719). Young is the only player in program history with at least 1,200 points, 400 assists and 100 three-point baskets
But Purnell said they have played inconsistently of late, with Melvin held to 10 points in the team’s 88-62 loss to then No. 6 Villanova last week.
Young scored 13 points against Villanova shooting 4-of-14 from the field.
This season Purnell also has suspended junior guard Charles McKinney for one game for an unspecified team violation. Junior guard Jamee Crockett remains on an indefinite suspension for an unspecified violation.
McKinney returned to a starting role with the team.
Purnell said his meeting with Young ``was a very positive step. Hopefully that will carry over to our Saturday game, and I expect it to.’’