Last week, I asked this question of the Flyer Faithful:
Which one of these teams is not like the others:
- Rhode Island
- Saint Bonaventure
So, how does this shake out seven days later? The Bonnies lead this motley pack with a 2-3 conference record. Dayton and Rhode Island (along with Fordham and St. Joes (!)) are all tied at 1-3, and Duquesne sits at the bottom of the conference at 0-5. The Dukes record is particularly disheartening since they have already lost to Fordham.
A month ago, I volunteered to write this recon. Duquesne had just beat West Virginia and Dayton had just lost at home to Weber State. This would be another fun exploration of how many dick jokes I could fit into a recon. Instead, I end up being the dick and have to struggle through this assignment. It’s like writing a term paper on Beowulf.
Instead of thinking too much about this game, I’ll rifle through the Blackburn Review mailbag and answer a few questions for our inquisitive, if limited, audience. And by limited, I mean both the number of readers and their IQs.
“Why is Tman asking to be reinstated to UDPride?”
Great question. A reasonable person would have created a new Hotmail or Gmail account and started fresh over there. However, doing so would mean turning one’s back on the Tman brand. Would a diatribe about Kissel and Wabler hold the same weight if it didn’t come from the same raving lunatic who brings it up after every loss? Would the call for experienced coaches (not bums like Coach Archie, Shaka, or St. Brad) hold the same irrelevance? I think not. A rant by another other name would not smell as foul as one perpetrated by Tman. Besides, every nice neighborhood needs a crusty curmudgeon to tell us how great things used to be back in the day.
“Who is this King Poop?”
Terrible question. Are we really going to acknowledge this guy? Smart money is that it is former site schizophrenic John, who is facing his own exile in Elba.
I should be the last one addressing this question, since I never have and never will set foot in the Lesser Dayton region. However, it’s time to stop being a Negative Nellie about this. Let’s look on the bright side? Does Xavier have Indoor Atriums in their student housing? I think not. So suck on that, X! By overbuilding your student housing units and using beams strong enough to support your female heifer population, you’ve missed out on a great college bonding experience.
“First-time, long-time. Love the pictures, hate the writing. Are you ever going to say anything positive about the University of Dayton and the Flyers?”
Interesting question that probably deserves a more interesting answer than the one I’m about to give. Dayton students, alums, and locals have much to be proud about. There is …. well… you’ve got the…. You’ve totally got the First Four, right? And history. There’s a lot of history in UD basketball. Just as the modern-day Greeks should feel that they are above the rest of the world economically and militarily because of the earlier world domination, so should the Flyer Faithful feel positive about their basketball program. All those great NIT runs of yore have translated into a run of NITs over the past few years. Plus, let’s not forget the Indoor Atriums. You’ve got that too! I should say that the BR tries to be realistic, balancing hope with inevitable doom. Just like Rhianna must feel re-igniting her relationship with Chris Brown.
“Why isn’t there a female perspective on the Blackburn Review”
I’m not the person to answer that one. Go ask Blackburn. After watching Dayton on TV a few times this year, I can only surmise that it’s because the female population is too busy gorging on empty carbs to spare the extra time it might take to read a blog. Certainly, the physical expenditure of typing is unthinkable.
Calling the Duquesne basketball program “perfectly mediocre” over the past five years would be a bit of an overstatement. Duquesne has been the mid-major of mediocrity, while Dayton had been the very definition. Former coach Ron Everheart took an abysmal program from the dregs of the college basketball world (men’s or women’s) and turned it around into a consistent middle of the pack program. He ended his tenure with four straight post season invites (One NIT, Three CBI’s – the last invite declined), and a .500 record against Dayton. After being down for so long, there is a lot to be said for mediocrity.
However, the University and specifically AD Greg Amodio was not satisfied with that return on investment. They wanted more, and Amodio wanted someone to cow-tow to his way of seeing things (like hiring his godson as an assistant coach). So they blew it up. Goodbye Ron, hello Jim Ferry.
There may have been some reasonable explanations for the firing. Former A-10 rookie of the year T.J. McConnell had just announced he was transferring, as had starting guard Mike Talley. This completed a long string of players who did not finish four years at Duquesne. The other former rookie of the year, Robert Mitchell, transferred to Seton Hall and while there was arrested for breaking and entering and kidnapping. Former first team all-rookie selection Melquan Bolding left after 2 years. Stuard Baldonado was kicked out of the University for two marijuana arrests in a month, and all-star shot-blocker Shawn James left early to pursue a pro career in the Republic of Sierra Leone. That’s a lot of attrition. As well, the last three recruiting classes left little in the way of talent or recruits.
After getting twice cock-blocked by Keith Dambrot (record scratches – What!?!?! … Akron over Pittsburgh?!?!?), Duquesne settled on (for) Jim Ferry. He had taken Long Island University to consecutive NCAA tournaments after building his own program from scratch. Seems like a great guy, a straight shooter, like he has some coaching chops, and a philosophy about the game that is built on basketball, not a watered down version of the UFC.
The Dukes have now lost 7 in a row and 8 of their last 9. They’ve played some teams tight, like St. Joe’s and St. Louis, but have wilted down the stretch. What they need to break this streak is a team with little interior defense, streaky shooting from the outside, prone to turnovers, and a coach with a smoking hot wife.
Meet and Greet
Duquesne should be led by senior guard Sean Johnson. He was the team’s second leading scorer last year and is just leading the team this year with 13.6 ppg. Johnson has been quiet in the first half of his games, and then comes on strong in the second half. He can split the defense and drive to the hoop, or he can hoist off-balance three pointers to the tune of 34%. Once he starts to drive, he is going all the way in. His 1.3 assists per game are mistakes, nothing but casual mistakes. Johnson also leads the team in FT shooting at 78%, although he seems to lose his nerve when the game tightens in the second half. Did I just write “when?” I meant to write “if.”
The Dukes are really led by freshman point guard Derek Coulter. Ferry picked him up late in the recruiting season, and he has brought energy and freshman leadership to this team. (Freshman leadership? My God, this team stinks!) No one expected to score as he has been, and he is just trailing Johnson at 13.4ppg. Coulter probably takes too much on his shoulders in the scoring department, shooting only 31% from three. However, he is averaging 5 assists per game (3.5 TO) which is not bad considering the lack of other scoring options. Coulter apparently committed to Duquesne because he knows that his poor FT shooting would not be an issue here. He is shooting 57% from the line, which is not terrible given that the team shoots at 63%.
Duquesne relies heavily on another pair of freshmen, Jeremiah Jones and Quevyn Winters. Jones is the 6-3 defensive specialist who could see time on everyone from Vee Sanford to Daddy D’s boy. He has great speed, sharp elbows, and a surly attitude. Winters has more of an offensive game and specializes in mid-range jump shots in a zone. He can also step out and hit about a third of his long-range shots. Both players can disappear on the offensive end, especially when Coulter and Johnson play one on five.
Jerry Jones plays fourth guard in some line ups. He can get hot from long-range, though until recently he has not been well –integrated into the offensive sets.
Coach Ferry’s philosophy relies on good defense, not fouling, and grabbing rebounds. Already, the Dukes have moved from the worst rebounding team in all of division one into the top third. However, he must have been shaking his head when he looked at the incoming personnel. Andre Marhold will start at center and will bring all the presence a 6’6” guy can muster. Martins Abele may (or may not) spell him and will bring all the speed and soft hands one would expect from a 7’1” second stringer on a 7-12 team. Momadou Datt is a rangy 6’9” center from Senegal who has only played in the last 5 games due to academic and knee issues. His game consists of being 6’9” and running like he is stalking a gazelle.
“I disliked numbers, and they didn’t think much of me either.”
This game will tell us more about Dayton than it will Duquesne. Duquesne is not a very good basketball team this year, though they are learning. Dayton should be a better basketball team, especially at home. Expect a shitload of three to be launched from both sides. Don’t expect a shitload to be made. This is the kind of game Daddy D’s kid dreamed about when he left the humid bayou for the scrotum-tightening chill of winter in Dayton. Should be Dayton by 11.