Duquesne's Ferry molding program in his style
With his family still in Long Island while the kids finish the school year, Duquesne basketball coach Jim Ferry said he works from 7 a.m. until midnight, lives in a campus dormitory and wastes no time reading the newspaper or watching TV.
Still, he insists: “There aren't enough hours in the day.”
So goes the life of a coach trying to build a program in his image.
Sure, Ferry misses his family, but if his wife Kelly and the four children had moved to Pittsburgh, there still would have been an empty seat at the dinner table most nights. In the 17 days after he was hired April 12, Ferry was on the road for 12 of them.
Finding players is Ferry's most important job while trying to revive a program that hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament since 1977.
Before Ferry arrived from Long Island University in New York, where he had been head coach for 10 years, four of Duquesne's top five scorers transferred or exhausted their eligibility.
“When you are coming in and you have to implement your system, it takes a little while,” he said. “You have to build it brick by brick. There are a lot of kids out there. You just have to find the right ones.”Ferry started the process by successfully recruiting Largo (Md.) senior point guard Derrick Colter, who averaged 22 points and 7 assists per game. Colter led his team to a 22-5 record and a berth in the championship game of the state's second-smallest classification.
The 5-foot-10 Colter signed a letter of intent May 4 after attracting interest from DePaul, Massachusetts, High Point (N.C.), Western Kentucky, Quinnipiac, George Mason and Long Island. Ferry had been recruiting Colter for Long Island.
“(Colter) would have been able to dominate in the Northeast Conference,” Largo coach Lew Howard said of the league where Long Island resides. “This way (going to Duquesne), he will be able to maximize his talent.”
Colter seems to fit the mold Ferry is seeking for his up-tempo style.
“I like extremely quick point guards that put pressure on a defense and have the ability to do all three — pass, dribble and shoot,” Ferry said. “I like versatile wings with the ability to shoot and break people down, and versatile forwards, not plodders, per se.”
Ferry insists he won't recruit players who don't fit his or Duquesne's desired profile.
“It's not about building a team for next year,” he said. “It's about building a program. It's finding a guy that fits my style and my personality and fits the university as well.
“It's about making the right decision. It's not about making any decision.”
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7997.