PITTSBURGH — Duquesne will get a lift on Wednesday in time for the Dukes’ final major-conference test of 2018 when Penn State comes to PPG Paints Arena.
Center Mike Hughes, who has missed the Dukes’ wins over Longwood, Maryland-Eastern Shore and Maine, is set to return.
Hughes is not expected to be at 100 percent, but his presence should still be a boost. Averaging 13.7 points per game, Hughes is the Dukes’ leading scorer and is also the third-leading rebounder and second-leading shot blocker.
“When we get Hughes back, we’ll get a little more settled in our rotations,” head coach Keith Dambrot said after practice on Tuesday.
FINDING A FIT
Dambrot added that he’s considering shortening Duquesne’s overall rotation. The Dukes have played 12 scholarship players plus Kellon Taylor has returned from the football team. That’s a lot of mouths to feed on a game-in and game-out basis.
“Kellon is going to play,” Dambrot said. “Is he going to beat Marcus [Weathers] out? Probably not. But that’s adding one more guy.”
Dambrot said that who comes and goes might change on a game-to-game basis, but he’s looking for some of those borderline guys to step up and grab a role.
It seems the biggest logjam
WILLIAMS BACK IN TOP FIVE
Sophomore wing Eric Williams, Jr. is expected to return to the starting lineup, Dambrot announced. Williams started the Dukes’ first six games, bur came off the bench for the last four and played just four minutes against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 13.
To hear Dambrot tell it, the issues have been mental ones and not related to the way Williams has played when he’s been on the floor. He’s averaging 12.8 points per game, second on the team and leads the Dukes with 6.6 rebounds per game.
“He’s our best player if he decides he wants to play,” Dambrot said. “Unless something happens in the next 24 hours, he should be back in the starting lineup for the next game. He was supposed to be in there two games ago, so …”
Considering that he’s the lone scholarship player yet to see the floor this season, it was an easy projection to make, but Dambrot finally confirmed that freshman center Dylan Swingle will redshirt this season. That’s one way to whittle down the list of available players that are trying to get into games.