Duquesne is just about ready to tip-off its regular season Friday night against Albany, in what is sure to be a pivotal year for Duquesne basketball. Many people have seen the headlines since last season: a new coach, two key players transferring, and only two returning seniors. What will Duquesne basketball look like this year?
Let’s first look at the man calling the shots. Coach Jim Ferry is regarded as an offensive guru. In 2011, while at LIU, his offense ranked second in the nation in points per game (81.4). His teams at LIU played with passion and intensity. This helped Ferry’s Blackbirds earn a 27-game home win streak-second in the nation only to Kentucky’s 52. Expect to see an up-tempo offense with a good number of shots coming from three-point range. Although Ferry’s offense isn’t designed around the outside shot, Duquesne attempted 31 three-pointers in its final exhibition game.
With this many young players, it may be hard to predict what kind of game we will see each night. Until everyone finds their niche on the team, there are bound to be some natural inconsistencies.
The Dukes retain several players from last year’s team, most notably Sean Johnson, Andre Marhold, Jerry Jones, and Kadeem Pantophlet. Johnson, a senior guard, possesses a strong ability to get to the rim and has improved his three-point shooting immensely in his time at Duquesne. Along with being second on the team in points per game (13.5) last year, he led the team with 45 three-pointers.
Marhold, who has assumed a leadership role in the preseason, played in 29 games last year as a junior. He led the team in blocks (40) and offensive rebounds (52). His versatility and ability to play outside the paint sets him apart from most traditional big men.
Jerry Jones is going to have to assume a larger role this season, most likely as a starter. As a sophomore coming off the bench last year he was the most improved player on the team. He scored in double figures three times, including Duquesne’s first round Atlantic-10 tournament loss to UMASS, and shot .515 from the field.
Kadeem Pantophlet, another versatile forward, showed much progress as a freshman last year and is also ready to step into a larger role. He displayed his ability to shoot from behind the arc in 30 games last year. Pantophlet’s most notable performance was a 14-point outing against Valparaiso in which he went 5-for-5 from the field.
This year, Ferry will be forced to rely heavily on the young talent he brought in during the offseason. Among this group are true freshman point guard Derrick Colter, sophomore Marvin Binney, and freshmen Quevyn Winters and Jeremiah Jones.
Colter is the only true freshman of the group, but he nevertheless will be a key ingredient in the team’s success this year. Due to the premature departure of TJ McConnell following last season, one of the biggest question marks lies with the point guard position. Ferry is going to have to rely on Colter and Binney to help fill this role. While Binney excels on defense and has more experience due to his stint at New Mexico Junior College (NMJC) last season, Colter possesses outstanding quickness on both ends of the court. He had a particularly impressive showing this past July at the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Summer League Pro-Am, where he was named to the 10-man all-tournament team.
“They (Colter and Binney) work extremely, extremely hard and give a great effort. When you got guys like that, they’ll get better,” Ferry said of his young point guards.
Quevyn Winters’ abilities are comparable to those of Pantophlet. Winters brings a good combination of size and scoring ability to the team and was impressive in the team’s second exhibition game, where he hit three three-pointers.
Jerimiah Jones spent last season at St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy. He averaged 19 points per game and shot 43 percent from three-point range. He was labeled a 3-star recruit in high school by rivals.com.
Duquesne opens their season with back-to-back road games for the first time since 1990. The first is a non-conference matchup against America East opponent Albany. On Sunday November 11th, the Dukes will travel to Georgetown for the first game in the Progressive Legends Classic tournament. Duquesne will then host a four-team sub-regional of the tournament from November 19th-21st at the Palumbo Center featuring North Dakota State, James Madison, and Youngstown State. On December 5th, Duquesne will take on Pittsburgh at the Palumbo Center in the famous “City Game.” Atlantic-10 play begins on January 9th for the Dukes, when they travel to Fordham. The Atlantic-10 conference tournament will be held on March 14th-17th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
So far, Duquesne has ten games set to be broadcast on national television this year. This all starts with Sunday’s game against Georgetown, which will be aired on ESPNU. The first annual Coach Ferry Show will also be held on November 15th at 7:00 PM in the Consol Energy Center. Seven shows are scheduled altogether in a time period stretching from November to early March.
Photo Credits: Duquesne