By: Aly Cohen

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — The boys are taking it back to the good old days, the AAU days, the days of three games in three days.  Duquesne men’s basketball team left yesterday for Indiana, as Valparaiso hosts the conclusion of the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.  They take on the University of the District of Columbia, Akron and Valparaiso on November 18th, 19th and 20th respectively.

“The best thing about it is that you have to adjust on the fly and you have to make game adjustments. I think that’s good for any team, but especially one like ours where you have a lot of youth.  They have to learn what we’re saying on the bench as a coaching staff and be able to apply that on the floor,” said head coach Ron Everhart referring to the quick turnaround.

Practice hasn’t been too different since beating Green Bay in the home opener last Sunday, but sophomore guard T.J. McConnell said there’s been more running and conditioning.

“The greatest need for improvement is interior offense and interior defense,” said Coach Everhart.

They are -14 in their rebound margin thus far.

A 7-1 addition to the lineup on Sunday will hopefully help with that production on both ends. Radford transfer, Martins Abele will be eligible for his first game on Sunday versus Valparaiso.  He’s ineligible for the first four games due to impermissible play in summer league games.

“We need to focus on DC (District of Columbia) first then Akron and then the big fella will be ready to come in,” said McConnell.

Abele is eager to be more than a spectator.

“I’m going to go twice as hard to prove to coach that I’m going to be the guy who he needs to play,” Abele said.


A little background on the teams:

District of Columbia– A Division II team out of the East Coast Conference, the Firebirds (2-0) finished 11-15 last season. Four starters returned this season, including their two leading scorers, senior guards Brandon Herbert and Nigel Munson, both Division I transfers. Herbert and Munson have averaged 17.5 ppg. and 23 ppg. respectively in two games so far this season.  Their coach, former NBA player, Jeff Ruland is in his fourth season at UDC.

Akron: Last season the Zips (2-0) out of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) finished with an overall record of 23-13, losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Notre Dame.  They are one of 20 schools with six straight 20-win seasons and return All-MAC second team selection, senior forward Nikola Cvetinovic, junior forward Zeke Marshall, a McKeesport High School grad, who ranked 19th last season in blocks per game and was named MAC Tournament MVP and sophomore guard Alex Abreu, who holds the UA record for assists in a season by a freshman with 128.  Junior forward, Quincy Diggs was named MAC east division player of the week this week, after averaging 14.5 points and 5 rebounds in two games, 19 points in their season opening win at Mississippi State.  The Dukes are 12-8 all-time against the Zips, but haven’t pulled out a win in the past six matchups.

Valparaiso: Finished last season 23-12, 13-4 at home, seeing postseason play for the 10th time in the past 16 years   The Crusaders (2-1) received votes for the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll four weeks in a row last season, however they lost nearly 61% of their scoring, including now senior guard Brandon Wood (16.7 ppg.) who transferred to Michigan State and over 40% of their assists, rebounding and steals.  They lost their season opener to Arizona by nine on November 7th, who the Dukes lost to by eight just two days later.  Both teams shot dismal from beyond the arc in the losses, with Valpo shooting just 5-20 and Duquesne going 4-25.   First year coach, Bryce Drew took over for his father, Homer, after 22 seasons. Preseason Second Team All-Horizon League selection, Junior Ryan Broekhoff leads the team with 15.3 ppg. and 9 rpg. in the three games this season.

– Music can say a lot about a person, so here’s what the Dukes are listening to on their seven hour bus ride to and from Indiana, in no particular order (actually it was the order they came out of the locker room, so I guess that could tell you a lot about a person too).

Martins Abele – An assortment of rap and hip-hop (I had to send someone on the bus for this answer, because I forgot to ask him in the first interview.  I’ll have to teach them to be little more demanding next time)

Mike Talley – Drake

T.J. McConnell – Eminem

Rodney “Rock” Crawford (Assistant Coach) – Stevie Wonder

Mamadou Datt – African music, Baaba Maal (says it’s popular in Africa and reminds him of his family)

Sam Bott– Chris Young, Brad Paisley and Justin Moore

Kadeem Pantophlet – Ryan Leslie

B.J. Monteiro – R.Kelly

Amadou “Pape” Koundoul (Assistant Coach) – says he listens to himself, as in he sings and plays guitar and only listens to his own music (I don’t know if they were busting my chops)

Sean Johnson – Wale’s new album Ambition

Steve Hall (Assistant Coach) – a little bit of everything/R&B

Jerry Jones – Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy

Danny Herrera – Kanye

Eric Evans – Drake

P.J. Torres – New Drake, Take Care

Andre Marhold – Travis Porter

Derrick Martin – Lil Boosie

Weekend Schedule for the Dukes (all games at Athletics Recreation-Center, home court to Valpo)

Friday, November 18 vs. University of District of Columbia at 6PM

Saturday, November 19 vs. Akron at 6PM

Sunday, November 20 vs. Valparaiso at 4:30PM

In case you wanted to know…

  • Sid Dambrot, father of Akron head coach Keith Dambrot, played for the Dukes from 1950-54 and helped them to a 70-15 record, three NIT tourneys and an NCAA tournament appearance during his junior and senior seasons.
  • The Dukes are +10 in turnover ratio this season
  • Akron guard Brian Walsh is a graduate of Moon High School.  He sat out last season after transferring from Xavier and is averaging 11.5 ppg  and 3.5 rpg. for the Zips in two games this season.

Aly Cohen
The Aly Way

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