ReconU. Dayton BasketballRecon: Duquesne

A Familiar Face Takes the Wheel, Flyers Face the Dukes on Saturday

We called on an old friend of the blog, a man who chooses to remain nameless (a Duquesne alum), to write the recon for the Dukes. He is clearly excited with the way Keith Dambrot has the program headed, as he should be. Duquesne is exceeding expectations and, with just ten games remaining in the season, has established itself as a candidate for the Atlantic Ten’s “Friday Four™.” We thank this anonymous contributor for his insights and fancy flowchart.


As we approach the conference mid-term, this would be a good time for Grant to give a State of the Union address (that is, if some chick doesn’t step on his dick and rescind an earlier invitation). We’ll leave that up to another writer after this game. It is interesting, though, to consider which president Grant most resembles. It’s not U.S. Grant, nor is it Obama (stop snickering, Blackburn). His ascension really mirrors that of Gerald Ford, who was not elected to the presidency or the vice presidency. Like Ford, Grant was the default candidate who fit the suit.

Had Grant attended another comparable college not named Dayton (like Wright State or Toledo), he wouldn’t have received a sniff for the head coaching spot. Instead, he earned the same diploma as London Warren, so… viola! AG’s late game planning is about as rigorous as Ford’s Whip Inflation Now program. Basically, AG calls a timeout and says, “Okay, boys, go out and Whip George Mason Now!” Then a second timeout…. “I said Whip George Mason NOW!!!” I can picture Alan Greenspan in the Sweatre Center (neither waring red nor being lowd) thinking “This is incredibly stupid.”

This is an important conference game, with both teams coming in with 6-2 conference records. Both teams are above the Sully line, so there are seeding implications galore. Who would’ve thunk that anything important would be happening in Dayton, Ohio in February? (Ever?) With this cold spell, I am looking forward to seeing how many co-eds brave the windchill in their unintentional belly shirts in comparison to the number of season ticket holders whose IV and colostomy bags could freeze on the waddle into the Arena. Given the paucity of gratuitous photos of hot chicks on this website, I believe that we are solidly skewing towards the later.

Bring on the Dukes!

Much is being said about the transformation under Coach Keith Dambrot. And well it should. The Duquesne community should also thank Dayton for passing over Dave Harper and letting him come to Pittsburgh as Duquesne’s Athletic Director (Blackie’s Note: not enough discussion has centered around UD picking Neil Sullivan over Dave Harper as UD’s AD. Let’s just say things would probably be different if Harper was the pick.) Yes, he probably learned a lot at UD, but he is now part of a transformative team at Duquesne. Harper looks like George Clooney and Fred Savage had a baby. And I don’t mean awkward adolescent Fred Savage or ironically middle-aged Fred Savage. I mean baby Fred Savage from the “Wonder Years” before Winnie got all smart and chunky.

At present, there is not a single upperclassman on Duquesne’s roster. Four players are sophomores who sat out a year after transferring, seven are freshmen, and there is a single returning sophomore. Its like basketball’s version of the Brady Bunch, but without the hot middle daughter, the gay father, and the little brother who masturbates in the closet while the maid folds the laundry. Junior Mike Lewis (former A10 All Rookie Team and 2x team scoring leader) transferred mid-season due to shrinking minutes. In terms of game experience, KenPom ranks the Dukes at 348 out of 349.  The Dukes should be rebuilding, but after going 2-1 at home vs. St. Louis, VCU, and Rhode Island they are setting their sights higher. Both conference losses were by single digits, including at Davidson.

The style of play is also significant. The Dukes have overcome double-digit deficits to win 5 games this year. This includes Wednesday night’s game v. URI in which they came back from a 19 point halftime deficit. Perhaps Coach Dambrot should shuffle his index cards and give the halftime speech pre-game and… well… maybe he should just double up on the halftime speech. The Dukes will play exclusively man defense, and the halftime adjustments have significantly frustrated opponents. The offense features some inside, some outside, and freshman Sincere Carry penetrating like Les Moonves on Intern Appreciation Day.

Carry has become the leader of this team. Duquesne was his only D-1 offer (if you consider Duquesne D-1) after missing two years in high school due to knee problems. He just sat out the loss to VCU with swelling in his knees, though he had fluid drained and came back to post 16 points and 7 assists in the game vs. URI. There is no flash and at some point in the game you’ll scratch your head about why everyone thinks so highly of him. Then you see the steadying hand, the lane penetration, and solid defense. Plus he is a teenager with a grown man beard. Looks like he just got off the swing shift at the steel mill and is about to have a breakfast of Jack Daniels and burnt toast with butter.

Saying that Eric Williams Jr. is in a shooting slump is like saying Donald Trump once met Stormy Daniels. Williams is balls-deep in this slump. Unlike Trump, it has lasted more than two and a half minutes. His three-point shot has been off for eight games (6 for 39 = 15%), although he is still averaging 7.9 rebounds.  At 6’6”, he relies on being slippery and anticipating boards and to his credit he is maintaining his focus despite the shooting woes. By the way, Trump gets too much credit for Stormy and not enough for Karen McDougal. Now that is a fine piece of trim. Stormy has the qualities that turn people off to porn actresses: poor voice projection, no thought to character development, and an instinctive twitch when sperm gets in her eye.

The starting five is rounded out by 6’8” center Michael Hughes (transfer from Akron), 6’5” forward Marcus Weathers (transfer from THE Miami University of Ohio), and 6”4” guard Frankie Hughes (transfer from Mizzou). Add in 5’8” Tavian Dunn-Martin (transfer from Akron) who is the first man off the bench, and you can see that the bulk of this year’s team sat out last year. I would like to find the guy who measured TDM at 5’8” and have him measure my penis, as I’m quite sure it would top 13 inches. Michael Hughes has been a great defensive presence as well as a consistent scorer. Weathers is solid on D though he can disappear on the offensive end at times. Frankie Hughes is a streaky shooter (5-10 3pts at Richmond and 5-13 vs. URI), and TDM is a disrupter on both sides of the court. This team is starting to gel on the court. Just sayin’. And they’re all freshmen and redshirt sophomores. Just sayin again.

The Dukes were dealt a blow with the ACL injury to 6’10” freshman Austin Rotroff, who was the first big man off the bench. That means more minutes for Amari Kelley and a possible sighting of Gavin Bizeau. Bizeau, also at 6’10” is Luke Fabrizius pre-incarnated and has just begun to pick up minutes. The shorter bench means that the bigs have to steer clear of foul trouble.

Carry’s knees will be the big story for the next four years. Can he avoid injury? Will his minutes be limited? (He played 37 minutes in the last game vs. URI.) TDM can pick up some of the ball handling duties and freshmen Brandon Wade and Lamar Norman will also pick up minutes.

What is the prediction for this game? I have no idea. I do know that the Dukes have been strong second half performers and have pulled out some tough games in the end. Just like Day—oh— forget about that. I’d say that it will really boil down to outside shooting for both teams. It’ll be fascinating to watch inside offense vs. inside defense both ways. Unless there is a huge foul disparity, that will likely even out. The Dukes have been strong in forcing turnovers. While poor in rebounding for the season, they just came back and outrebounded a much bigger URI squad by 13. Thus will be a good benchmark for both teams. If someone could just turn on the goddamn lights at the Arena I’d feel better about the Dukes’ outside shooting, so it’s tough to make a prediction. I’ll follow the trend lines and say that Duquesne wins an entertaining game.

What have I learned writing this recap? Not much. Neither have any of you. If nothing else, this Recon keeps Donoher and the millennial contributors at bay for a few more days. I also learned that I have no idea how to format a flowchart or spell words not related to bodily functions. You guys can GoFundMe a 58cm Kona Rove LTD if you need another.

Tom Blackburn

Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o' D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.