Commentary

Prodigal son

Originally Published: June 15, 2009
By Scott Powers | For ESPNChicago.com

Mac will be back.

Coming off an 0-18 Big East season, DePaul has already received some good news for next year as star forward Mac Koshwal has withdrawn from the upcoming NBA draft and will return to the Blue Demons for his junior season.

Koshwal, a 6-foot-10, 255-pound forward, averaged 12.2 points and a team-best 9.6 rebounds last season. He and team-leading scorer Dar Tucker entered their names in the draft following their sophomore seasons. Tucker immediately signed with an agent and was unable to return to DePaul. Koshwal did not and had until Monday to pull out. He officially withdrew on Friday.

"Really it just came down to next year might be better," said Koshwal of the 2010 draft. "We just have to get more wins, and I can get a better look and opportunity. It is about exposure. I'm just coming back to have a better season."

ESPN.com's Chad Ford, DraftExpress.com and NBADraft.net hadn't projected Koshwal to be drafted. He is considered a second-round pick next year by DraftExpress.com.

Koshwal said he wasn't sure if he would have been taken if he had remained in the draft, but he is glad he tested the waters. He worked out with the Bulls, Bucks and Timberwolves over the past few weeks.

"I learned a lot," said Koshwal, who played prep ball at Julian High School and Boys to Men Academy in Chicago. "By going into the workouts, it showed me what I need to work on and what it takes to play in the NBA. … I need to work on a lot of things. I need to work on my midrange game. That's the main thing right now.

"I feel like I'm close to [reaching the NBA]. I just got to stay focused and keep working. If you work hard, good things will come. Hopefully my dream will come true."

Koshwal also worked out at Tim Grover's ATTACK Athletics while deciding what to do. Mike Procopio, ATTACK Athletics' director of basketball operations and a former Boston Celtics scout, believes Koshwal made the correct decision in returning to school. Procopio liked Koshwal's rebounding game, but thought his offensive skills needed to get better.

"I just think he needs to play more," Procopio said. "He needs another year to play, another year to carry a team. With Dar gone, he's the mainstay. They need to run the offense through him.

"It's like a quarterback getting ready for the NFL draft. You can do all the drills. You can practice as much as you want, but he needs to play. He needs to play 35 minutes a night if he can, get 25 touches a game. He wasn't a focal point offensively last year. He shouldn't have been. They had better players. There's no excuse now not to go to him."

Koshwal hasn't spoken with his former teammate Tucker since they both entered the draft, but Koshwal did wish him luck on June 25. Neither DraftExpress.com nor NBADraft.net has Tucker being taken. Ford has him either going late in the second round or not at all.

The Blue Demons will miss Tucker's versatile offensive game next season, but Koshwal is optimistic DePaul can improve on its horrific 2008-2009 season.

"Most definitely, that's a motivation," Koshwal said. "We got to change some things. We got to work hard. It's got to be a good season. We definitely can't have the same season we had last year. It was definitely tough. It made us stronger. It made us come closer. Even though times were rough, we came together."

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.