ShareThis Page

New-look Duquesne seeks winning mentality under Dambrot

Rob Biertempfel
| Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, 10:21 p.m.
Duquesne's Mike Lewis II drives against St. Louis' defenders in the first round of A-10 Men’s basketball tournament at PPG Paint Arena, Wednesday, March 8, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Duquesne's Mike Lewis II drives against St. Louis' defenders in the first round of A-10 Men’s basketball tournament at PPG Paint Arena, Wednesday, March 8, 2017.
Duquesne's new Men's Basketball coach Keith Dambrot Thursday, March 30, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Duquesne's new Men's Basketball coach Keith Dambrot Thursday, March 30, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.

First-year Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot likes his offense to run from the inside out.

Dambrot worked the previous 13 seasons at Akron, where he racked up 305 victories and guided the Zips to 10 postseason appearances. He coached his teams to be relentless and bruising under the basket, which eventually created open shots from the perimeter.

“We won at Akron because from Day 1 I had better big people than anybody in the league,” Dambrot said. “That makes your margin for error much bigger because you're not shooting jump shot after jump shot. That's going to be the key to our season. Can we get it in there? Can we take care of the ball? And can we play every possession defensively like it matters?”

For the first several weeks of the season, much of the workload will be shouldered by 6-foot-8 center Jordan Robinson. A graduate student, Robinson has made three starts in 63 games.

Dambrot had hoped two transfers, 6-8 center Chas Brown and 6-9 forward Marko Krivacevic, would provide some instant inside muscle. However, Brown (broken foot) and Krivacevic (broken wrist) are wearing casts and will be out until at least early December.

“Where we're a little bit light in the shorts right now,” Dambrot said. “That's why Jordan becomes so important.”

Being short-handed will put more pressure on guards Mike Lewis and Tarin Smith to produce points and takeaways. It might take a while for things to jell, as the players adjust to Dambrot's complex offensive system.

“It's a lot of plays,” Lewis said. “There are a lot of different cuts out of them, a lot of options out of every play. A lot of plays look the same but have different endings. That's the most difficult part of it.”

Last season, Duquesne too often faded down the stretch and turned late-game leads into narrow losses.

“I'm trying to make them understand how to win,” Dambrot said. “When it's 70-68 with three minutes to play, are they going to believe they can win or not? That's going to be the key to the whole thing, because in the past they haven't. We're going to be in a million close games. We don't have enough pop yet to just blow people out of here.”

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.