It’s been a busy last 24-48 hours for Duquesne basketball news. Unfortunately for Dukes fans most of it isn’t good news.
Let’s start with information that is concrete and not coaching speculation.
Duquesne basketball on Pittsburgh Sports Now is sponsored by The Summit Academy: setting young men on the path to a better future.
Yesterday, Duquesne freshman point guard Mike Lewis announced something that Dukes fans didn’t want to hear.
After much Prayer and thought with myself and my family I have asked Duquesne University for permission to contact other schools ????????????????
— Mike Lewis II (@MrEightball_) March 24, 2017
What’s this mean?
Lewis wants to look around and see if any larger schools would be interested in adding him to their roster. When I spoke to Lewis the day Jim Ferry was fired, he seemed to be of the mindset that he wanted to see who was hired, talk to the new coach and then make his decision.
However, with this coaching search taking longer than most expected, Lewis seems frustrated and isn’t going to wait any longer.
This doesn’t mean that Lewis is guaranteed to leave, he’s just doing his homework and keeping all of his options open.
Someone that has decided to leave Duquesne is incoming freshman John Walker.
The talented 3-star Texas forward informed Pittsburgh Sports Now last night that he’s asked the school to release him from his Letter of Intent.
Walker was widely considered the most talented player in Duquesne’s incoming recruiting class and someone who most believed could’ve had an impact next season.
Now to the million dollar question and what’s going on in the coaching search?
The latest speculation has them talking again to someone who they originally contacted after dismissing Ferry.
Duquesne's search is now again focusing on Akron's Keith Dambrot, per sources. Decision will come down to program's commitment to winning.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 24, 2017
Keith Dambrot, 58, is the long-time coach at Akron where he’s been very successful.
Dambrot has been at his alma mater since 2004 where he’s compiled a record of 305-138, won 5 MAC East regular season titles and qualified for the NCAA Tournament five times.
How consistent has Dambrot been at Akron?
Akron is one of four teams (Duke, Gonzaga and Kansas) in the country to have won at least 21 games in each of the past eleven seasons.
Dambrot has a family connection to the Duquesne program. His father, Sid, starred for the Dukes back in the 50’s (1952,1953 and 1954) and led them to the NCAA Tournament.
Other programs have attempted to lure Dambrot from Akron but haven’t been successful. In fact, before hiring Ferry, the previous Duquesne administration approached him but he wasn’t interested.
It won’t be easy to get Dambrot to leave his hometown, the place he attended college and has enjoyed so much coaching success. However, if Duquesne is able to convince and show him a true commitment to winning and competing, they’d have a chance to hire a really good coach.
Duquesne freshman forward Isiaha Mike announced that like Mike Lewis, he’s asked Duquesne for a release from his scholarship. Not good times for Duquesne right now.
After much thought, my family and I have decided it's best for my future to request my release from Duquesne.
— Isiaha Mike ♌ (@__MRMIKE__) March 25, 2017