Duquesne tabbed 9th in A-10 poll
College Football Videos
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Losing four-year standouts Damian Saunders and Bill Clark led to the Duquesne men's basketball team being picked to finish ninth in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll, announced Thursday at the conference's media day.
Xavier, which finished 15-1 in conference play last season and lost in the round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament, was dubbed the favorite. Temple, Saint Louis, St. Bonaventure and Richmond round out the top five.
Despite his team being projected to finish in the bottom half of the 14-team league, Duquesne coach Ron Everhart is keeping his goals lofty.
"My expectation, like it is every year, is that in March, whatever the (postseason) tournament is, we compete for a tournament championship," said Everhart, who has led the Dukes to three straight postseason berths.
Although Clark was the team's leading scorer last season (16.3 ppg), losing him may not hurt the Dukes nearly as much as the departure of Saunders, who anchored the frontcourt. He was the only player in Division I history to record at least 250 career points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.
"I don't know if we can (replace them)," Everhart said of Saunders and Clark. "Obviously we have to do it by committee. It's scary looking at our roster (and seeing) how young we are."
The reins will be handed to sophomore guard T.J. McConnell, who was the A-10 Rookie of the Year after averaging 10.8 points and 4.4 assists. The 6-foot-1 point guard, a Chartiers Valley product, made the preseason A-10 third team and the all-defensive squad. McConnell and B.J. Monteiro (11.4 ppg) will anchor a talented backcourt.
Andre Marhold (2.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg), a 6-foot-7 junior, is the only returning big man. Everhart expects him and freshmen Mamadou Datt and Derrick Martin to provide help down low, but all three are unproven.
"We have to have one or two of our big guys step up and play on a level beyond their years, so to speak, and become more mature than where they are in terms of their class," Everhart said. "Marhold is sort of like the guy you hope (will step up) because he's been in the program for two years and he had a really good summer."
Martins Abele is another big man that could enter the rotation. But that's a big "if" -- Abele transferred from Radford, which requires sitting out a year, but Duquesne has appealed to the NCAA for the 7-foot-1 Latvian center to be ruled immediately eligible.
Regardless, the Dukes will rely on their backcourt, which will include Sean Johnson, Mike Talley and Eric Evans, to run and gun. Everhart knows he needs McConnell to score more for the Dukes to be successful, but he wants his talented point guard to be efficient.
"When you look at our roster right now," he said, "obviously McConnell has to go from the 8- or 9-assist-a-game guy to maybe taking some of those assists away and turning them into shot attempts -- as long as they're good shot attempts."
Show commenting policy
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.
- Reversing the field: Pirates continue to raid Yankees for hidden skill
- Cleanup crews hitting Armstrong Rails to Trails in April
- New Police Interceptor hits the road in Kittanning
- Steelers’ Tomlin, Pirates’ Hurdle share similar philosophy
- Leader Times roundup: Kittanning softball wins in extra innings
- Recent early retirements in NFL could be trend — or simply a coincidence
- Fire reported at recycling facility in Braddock
- Daily Courier roundup: Falcons, Scotties win on no-hitters
- Injuries to Penguins’ Ehrhoff, Letang force defense to pick up slack
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Business roundup: DEP to hold 1st hearing on Shell permit for cracker plant; more