For the second time since being named Duquesne’s basketball coach, Keith Dambrot has gotten a transfer from his old school. Today, Akron freshman center Mike Hughes announced his intentions to come play for his former coach.
Hughes (6-foot-9, 260 pounds) will have to sit out the 2017-18 season but will have 3 seasons of eligibility remaining for the Dukes.
Pittsburgh Sports Now talked to the newest Duke who told us more than basketball went into his final decision.
“First off, Duquesne has great academics especially my major (sports marketing). My family is really big on academics and always tell me to make sure you have a Plan B for when the ball stops bouncing,” said Hughes.
“On the basketball side, I really believe that Duquesne as a university is making moves to allow the basketball program to succeed. I also believe that with the returning players like Mike Lewis and the seniors plus with hopefully with more transfers and incoming recruits we can turn Duquesne into a powerhouse in the Atlantic Ten.”
Another factor in Hughes decision is his familiarity with the coach that originally recruited him out of high school.
“That was a big factor. Coach D doesn’t sugar coat things. He’s always going to give you a 100% truthful answer. I have a lot of loyalty to Coach D. He took a chance on me in high school and also recruited me pretty hard. I believe he has faith in me in what I can do at Duquesne as well,” said Hughes.
Although he played center at Akron, Hughes tells me his position at Duquesne hasn’t yet been determined by the coaching staff.
As was mentioned, Hughes will have to sit out next season but feels that will benefit him and could make him a better player in the future.
“Many people will say you don’t want to sit out a whole year because you’ll lose the feel of the game but I feel that this will be a great year for me. Not only will it allow me to grow with the team and I’ll be able to get closer with the coaching staff,” said Hughes.
“Not many people are able to do what I’m going to do and that’s take a year off and go into that grind mode. I feel this year will allow me to make leaps in my game. I can take my weight room, my nutrition and fitness to a whole different level.”