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Duquesne men's basketball signs 3 recruits

| Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 5:36 p.m.

With his second recruiting class, Duquesne coach Jim Ferry has addressed two of last season's weaknesses: ball-handling and frontcourt play.

Two skilled guards and a 6-foot-8 forward fulfilled verbal commitments and signed Wednesday with the Dukes when the four-week spring signing period began. Freshman forward Jordan Robinson of Toronto, freshman guard Desmond Ridenour of Cleveland and junior college guard Tra'Vaughn White of Kansas City, Kan., join a recruiting class that already had 6-8 forward Isaiah Watkins, who signed in November.

Duquesne also confirmed that Highlands graduate Micah Mason, a transfer from Drake, will join the program.

“We were able to address a lot of needs as well as strengthen the weaknesses that were obvious last season,” said Ferry, who has several scholarships still available. “This group will help get us much closer to playing the way we want to play.”

The signing period ends May 15.

Duquesne (8-22, 1-15) finished last in the Atlantic 10 in Ferry's first season as coach. The program held an abundance of free scholarships when two players graduated, five transferred and another changed sports.

Ridenour, a 6-2 guard at Mack Prep in Charlotte, N.C., averaged 17 points and set the school's single-game scoring record with 40 against Mont Clare Prep.

“Desmond is an outstanding athlete who can comfortably play multiple guard positions,” Ferry said. “He's an outstanding ball-handler, shooter and scorer. His versatility makes him difficult to defend.”

Robinson, a 6-8 forward at Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem, N.C., averaged 18 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.

“It's tough to find a guy like Jordan,” Ferry said. “He's a big, physical presence who finishes around the basket and is an intense rebounder.”

White, a 5-10 guard at Independence Community College in Independence, Kan., led the nation's junior college players with a 25.9-point scoring average.

“(White) has the ability to break people down off the dribble and has a real knack for getting to the foul line,” Ferry said. “He is equally effective in both the open court as well as in a half court offense. He, like all of our incoming players, has a chance to make a real impact on our program.”

Mason, a 6-2 guard who holds the WPIAL's career 3-point record, played in 30 of 32 games for Drake last season as a freshman, including 11 starts.

“Having a local kid who is really excited to be here at Duquesne is a real plus,” Ferry said. “He is going to absolutely help us fill a need. It's important to note that Micah is not only a great shooter. We like the fact that he can also handle the basketball.”

Watkins, a Toronto native, averaged eight points and eight rebounds as a junior at nationally ranked St. Benedict's Prep. He played only a partial senior season at the New Jersey prep school before withdrawing in January with enough academic credits to meet NCAA requirements.

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlanTrib.

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