Duquesne may have finished the season (12-19, 6-12) on a 73-55 loss to George Washington in the second round of the Atlantic 10 Championship, but the Dukes’ head coach Jim Ferry looks to build on a young team to create an identity. In one word: resilient.
Duquesne, despite failing to break even, achieved a 9-7 record at home. Two of three home conference losses were decided in the final possession.
On the road, the Dukes wrote a different story.
Duquesne was 2-10 on the road despite finishing the season with wins in six of its last 12 contests, including a 61-55 win over Saint Louis in the first round of the A-10 Championship.
“I give these guys a lot of credit,” Ferry said. “They have been resilient all year. We struggled to play on the road this year. At home, we were dynamic at times. I thought we came in here in this tournament—we really fought.”
The Dukes ended with a 4.1 points per game win margin at home and a 10.7 point margin loss away. Duquesne was led offensively by starting backcourt junior guards Derrick Colter (13.2 ppg) and Micah Mason (12.8 ppg).
Ferry referred to Mason as the leader of next year’s team. Duquesne graduates lone senior center Dominique McKoy.
“We have to get better. Everybody has to get better,” Ferry said of his team. “Our better players have to get better. Our younger players have to get mature. We have a really young front-court this year. [McKoy] was the only senior in our group. We had nine players in our program that were either freshmen, sophomores or new to the program, and that’s a lot.”
Ferry continued discussing the direction of his team.
“It took us awhile to really figure out our identity of what we are and who we are. Now we have a lot of these guys back and I think we know what our identity is going to be going forward. Hopefully we can take the proper steps and improve.”
Departing from the program are sophomore guard Desmond Ridenour and junior guard Jordan Stevens. Ridenour contributed an average of 2 ppg and 0.7 rebounds in just under eight minutes per game, playing in 21 of 31 games off the bench. Stevens added 8.9 ppg in 18.8 minutes per game. Suspended for the season opener, Stevens also missed the final 10 games of the season due to a suspension after playing in 20-straight games for the Dukes.
Ferry believes his team will improve as recruiting continues and experience is gained.
“We are absolutely heading in the right direction,” Ferry said. “Our players are getting better. We are getting better as a team. Obviously like we talked about, we need to continue to get better, but it’s a process.”
Ferry defines this as building a program without the dependence on junior college transfers.
“It takes time. When you’re in a monster league like the Atlantic 10 and you see the type of players other people have and the facilities what you’re up against and coaches and great players, it takes time. Recruiting classes—we have had two legit recruiting classes—and we are going to need two more to really solidify the program and what we are going to be.”
(Photo credit/Rachel Konieczny)