DePaul's Comegys Seeks to Improve Image by Concentrating More

United Press International

Dallas Comegys is going to get a headache sometime this season and it will come from all that concentration.

Comegys is the star junior forward of the DePaul Blue Demons.

A 6-foot-9, 205-pounder, Comegys is concentrating on changing not only his image but his team's image as well.

The team image is well-known. DePaul is the vastly talented team that is always in the top 20, always one of the major independents invited to the NCAA tournament and always soundly upset by an unknown squad in the early rounds.

DePaul games are exciting, especially when they should be sleepers.

"We tend to get in those situations where we lose concentration on where we are going," said Comegys.

It started in 1981 when the top-rated Blue Demons lost to St. Joseph's, 49-48, in the first round of the NCAA tournament. They were ranked second in 1982 when they lost the opener to Boston College, 82-75.

In 1984 it was a fourth-ranked DePaul team playing for lame duck coach Ray Meyer that lost in the second round to Wake Forest, 73-71, in overtime. That was Comegys' freshman year, when Tyrone Corbin and Kenny Patterson were in charge.

But Comegys made his mark on that 27-3 team. He was the third-highest scoring freshman in DePaul history behind Mark Aguirre and Terry Cummings, and established a club record for freshmen with 79 blocked shots.

He became a starter at the end of his sophomore season but statistically there was little improvement. His scoring and rebounding totals remained the same and he had only 51 blocked shots as the Blue Demons fell to 19-10.

"My freshman year, I was fairly new and I didn't know what I wanted to accomplish, but I had a good year," Comegys said. "Then I went into my sophomore year and things didn't go well and I lost concentration."

With Corbin and Patterson gone, team leadership is turned over to the new team star and Comegys, in both scoring and rebounding, is that star.

"I have to show leadership and I think the rest of the guys on the team have to understand," said Comegys, scoring just under 20 points a game with 9.7 rebounds per game. "Hopefully, I can guide these guys."

Comegys came out of Philadelphia as the most highly recruited player from the City of Brotherly Love since Gene Banks went to Duke in the mid-70s. He was the first player not from Illinois to be scouted by Ray Meyer, DePaul's "Coach" for 42 years.

Comegys was named to the NBC-TV All-Freshman team of 1984 despite the usually unpopular knock that he was not a good practice player.

Comegys doesn't understand the bad rap and Ray Meyer's son, Joey, who is now in his second year as head coach of the Blue Demons, admits his star forward is improving in practice.

"Even though he is still not going to be a great practice player I think he is practicing harder than he has ever before," Joey Meyer said. "I think he's concentrating more on what he has to get done."

"I got labeled," Comegys said. "I think I'm going out there and showing signs of being a more consistent player and I think I'm playing well in games. As time goes on I can get better and be able to eliminate being tagged as not a good practice player."

Comegys is a commanding presence on the court. Although he can smile, when he is playing he has a scowl on his face, especially when talking to his teammates.

"He has a sense of purpose about him," Joey Meyer said. "I think he knows what he wants to get done. He's got a lot of enthusiasm. He's picking other people up."

"Our downfall last year was we didn't really enjoy it the way we wanted to," Comegys said. "This year is a totally different team. We go out there and have fun, and we are concentrating more."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World