DePaul forward Paul Reed declares for the NBA Draft

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DePaul forward Paul Reed goes up for a hoop in the Blue Demons’ win over Iowa on November 11th. (Courtesy: DePaul Athletics)

CHICAGO – When it comes to the 2019-2020 college basketball season, his performance ended up being one of the last great ones that fans got to see.

Late on Wednesday, March 11th, Paul Reed came through with another strong performance for DePaul in the team’s opening game of the Big East Tournament against Xavier.

The junior forward was 9-of-16 from the field with a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds as the Blue Demons pulled an upset over a Muskateers’ team on the bubble for an NCAA Tournament bid.

In fact, it was Reed that scored the final point in the game on a free throw with six seconds left to seal a 71-67 win. Little did he or the rest of the college basketball world know that would be one of the last points scored during the 2019-2020 season.

The Big East Tournament was canceled the next day at halftime of the St. John’s-Creighton game due to the concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. Gone was DePaul’s next game against Villanova, and due to their record, was the end of the Blue Demons’ season. Even if they had more wins, it wouldn’t have mattered, since the NCAA Tournament was canceled later in the day.

It’s the first time in the history of “March Madness” that it was completely abandoned.

Reed’s performance was, arguably, the last great one of the entire college basketball season. It completed a great junior year, and as it turns out, his career at DePaul.

On Saturday night, forward Paul Reed announced on Twitter that he’s declaring for the NBA Draft, forgoing his final year of eligibility with the Blue Demons.

“I want to thank the coaching staff for giving me this opportunity and being great mentors and role models for me. To the fans, thank you for always supporting us and always bringing the energy to Wintrust Arena,” said Reed in his Twitter statement. “Most importantly, I want to thank my teammates/soldiers for always keeping it real with me and teaching me every day what it means to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

Reed blossomed in his third season at DePaul, averaging 15.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest. All were strong improvements from his sophomore year as Orlando native became the go-to player for the Blue Demons.

Yet his best performance, arguably, was his last. The 23-point effort against Xavier was one of the last memories of a college basketball season that was missing its madness for the first time in history.

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