ShareThis Page
Duquesne

New-look Duquesne men set for challenging opener

Jerry DiPaola
| Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, 12:51 a.m.
Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot’s team ended last season on a six-game losing streak.
Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot’s team ended last season on a six-game losing streak.

Duquesne appeared to turn a corner last season in coach Keith Dambrot’s first few months on the job, starting 12-4 and injecting energy into the Palumbo Center.

But after a 64-41 victory at Fordham on Jan. 6, fortunes reversed symmetrically, and the Dukes ended the season in a 4-12 slump, including a six-game losing streak and an 81-68 loss to Richmond in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

What followed was a complete overhaul of the roster that included players either exhausting their eligibility or transferring. Dambrot already had been making plans for the future, bringing in seven freshmen and four transfers.

Duquesne’s administration has committed a wealth of resources to the basketball program, starting with hiring Dambrot and announcing plans for a $45 million reconstruction of Palumbo.

Now, Dambrot must produce a product worthy of such trust.

“We have to do our job. We have to win games before this building is built,” he said.

It starts Saturday against William & Mary, a difficult opener. Last season, William & Mary was 19-12 and became the first team in NCAA history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field (.511), 40 percent from 3-point range (.434) and 80 percent from the foul line (.810).

“I’m not excited to see them at all,” Dambrot said. “Poor scheduling on my part.”

Three players to watch

Marcus Weathers : A 6-foot-5 sophomore forward, Weathers transferred from Miami (Ohio), where he played in 32 games (nine starts) during the 2016-17 season, averaging 9.7 points and 6 rebounds and shooting 51.3 percent from the field. Dambrot knows him all too well — Weathers scored 14 points while helping Miami rally from an 11-point deficit to defeat Dambrot’s Akron team 79-75 two years ago. Weathers gave Miami the lead with a layup with 48 seconds to play and sealed the victory with two free throws.

Michael Hughes : At 6-8, Hughes gives Duquesne an inside presence after he played 20 games for Dambrot at Akron. As he develops, Hughes could turn into a shot-blocking center. He had 10 while playing only 7.3 minutes per game at Akron.

Sincere Carry : Only a freshman, he will open the season as Duquesne’s starting point guard. At 6-1, he averaged 23.3 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists at Solon (Ohio) High School last season.

The season will be a success if … Dambrot can find a way to blend his mix of new players, who are just getting to know each other, into a well-crafted team.

The season will be a flop if … Returning starters Mike Lewis II and Eric Williams don’t provide most of the scoring and rebounding.

Predicted record: 15-16 overall, 7-11 Atlantic 10

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at jdipaola@tribweb.com.

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.

click me