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Eric Williams, Jr. Earns Pre-Season All-Conference Nod; Dukes Picked 11th in A10

Eric Williams, Jr. Earns Pre-Season All-Conference Nod; Dukes Picked 11th in A10

NEW YORK – The Duquesne men’s basketball team has been predicted to finish 11th out of 14 teams for the 2018-19 season in the Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll conducted by coaches, administrators and select media as revealed Thursday morning.

Saint Louis was predicted to place first and grabbed 15 of a possible 26 first-place votes and was followed by Saint Joseph’s, defending champion Davidson and George Mason.

Additionally, Duquesne sophomore guard Eric Williams, Jr. (14.3 ppg/8.8 rpg) was selected to the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Second Team, the only Dukes player to earn a nod on any preseason team.

This past summer, Williams opted to stay in Pittsburgh, and has grown both his voice and strengths both part of efforts to take on a leadership role for head coach Keith Dambrot.

“Last year it was kind of hard, because of our offense,” he said. “Teams could key in and that’s why Coach Dambrot keyed in on defense last year, because it was hard to score on offense and I didn’t realize that. It was hard to see that there has to be more counters and we really didn’t have that.”

Last season, Duquesne placed 10th in regular-season play, avoiding first-round Atlantic 10 Tournament play before falling to Richmond in the second round.

“The mindset then was to get to the game, but I think now it is more about taking things day by day,” Williams said. “We’re going to do everything the right way now. There are no more shortcuts.”

There are 10 new faces on this season’s Duquesne team with more of a post presence expected, though it will take some time during non-conference to get in sync.

“We are kind of in the same position that we were last year with teaching them day by day,” Dambrot said. “We have five experienced guys that have played college basketball; seven when you count Mike Lewis and Eric Williams Jr. The rest of them we have to teach what it takes to win in college. Even the transfers we have to teach.”

Duquesne opens its season Nov. 10 with a 5 p.m. home game against William & Mary as part of the Gotham Classic.

Below are the preseason standings and all-conference selections

Saint Louis (15) 348 pts
Saint Joseph’s (4) 324 pts
Davidson (6) 314 pts
George Mason (1) 287 pts
Rhode Island 221 pts
Dayton 206 pts
VCU 195 pts
Massachusetts 175 pts
St. Bonaventure 167 pts
Richmond 156 pts
Duquesne 146 pts
La Salle 85 pts
George Washington 73 pts
Fordham 33 pts

Preseason All-Conference First Team

Kellan Grady So. G (Davidson)
Josh Cunningham Sr. F (Dayton)
Otis Livingston II Sr. G (George Mason)
Luwane Pipkins Jr. G (UMass)
Grant Golden So. F (Richmond)

Preseason All-Conference Second Team

Eric Williams Jr. So. G (Duquesne)
Pookie Powell Sr. C (La Salle)
Jeff Dowtin Jr. G (Rhode Island)
Courtney Stockard Sr. G/F (St. Bonaventure)
Javon Bess Sr. G/F (Saint Louis)
Jordan Goodwin So. G/F (Saint Louis)

Preseason All-Conference Third Team

Jon Axel Gudmundsson Jr. G (Davidson)
Lamarr Kimble Jr. G (Saint Joseph’s)
Charlie Brown Jr So. F (Saint Joseph’s)
Hasahn French So. F (Saint Louis)
De’Riante Jenkins Jr. F (VCU)

Preseason All-Defensive Team

Jon Axel Gudmundsson Jr. G (Davidson)
Terry Nolan Jr. So. G (George Washington)
Cyril Langevine Jr. F (Rhode Island)
Jacob Gilyard So. G (Richmond)
Javon Bess So. F (Saint Louis)

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker

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