One of Keith Dambrot’s top priorities has been get in early with local talent in order to sell them on the future of Duquesne basketball.
The Duquesne staff has been among the first to reach out to future Division-I players like Ethan Morton, Brandon Stone, Maceo Austin, Isiah Warfield and Donovan Johnson.
Dambrot and his staff hosted a local sophomore Monday morning that could be the next name that we add to this list.
Johnny Crise is a forward from Highlands High School who today made an unofficial visit to The Bluff.
Pittsburgh Sports Now caught up with Crise to learn more about him and get his reaction to his visit to Duquesne.
“I’ve been trying to get down there for a while now and because of our season, I never got to it. Now that our season is over with, I finally had a chance to go visit with them,” Crise said.
“When we first go there, they were doing their lifting so everyone was in the weight room. The atmosphere was pretty cool because everyone was hyping each other up and you could tell everyone was trying to get better. Then we went down to look at the court and the locker room and met the entire coaching staff. After that, we watched them practice and that was very intense. I loved that personally, it was a good atmosphere to be around.”
The intense tone of practice and atmosphere is a trademark of teams coached by Keith Dambrot. I asked Crise his opinion of the Dukes head coach.
“My first impression of him is that he’s a good guy. He’s someone that will tell you straight up what you need to do to get better and things you need to work on,” Crise said. “He’s definitely a straight up coach. He told me that no matter what you do you have to stick with it and never give up. It was sort of a perspective on life, I guess.”
Crise’s description of his game is a little different than what you’d hear from most players.
“Over the next two years, I definitely have to improve on the offensive part of my game. Right now, I’d rather have 20 rebounds and 10 assists than have 20 points. I’m not much of a scoring guy right now, I’m more of a defensive and high energy guy. When our team needs a stop, I’m that type of defensive player,” Crise said.
“My offense is something that I can definitely work on. I’m trying to work on my entire game but offense is something I can definitely polish up. I’m down at Micah Mason’s place a lot working on my shooting and my ball handling. He tells me that has to be a big part of my game.”
Today was the sophomore’s first visit to a school and it was an eye opener for him and he said it will motivate him in the future.
“Today was my first one and it gave me an idea of what it’s like it kind of got my blood in the water,” he said. “It definitely got me hungrier to go work harder to stay in the gym so that I can get more.”