PITTSBURGH — Duquesne men’s basketball coach Keith Dambrot spent the first part of the 2018-19 season trying to figure out how he was going to deal with a regular rotation of 13 players.
He spent most of practice this week wondering if he was going to have enough to continue.
Duquesne guard Lamar Norman is out with a concussion, guard Tavian Dunn-Martin has not practiced and is doubtful to play Wednesday with a sprained left ankle and small forward Marcus Weathers is “about 70 percent” with a pulled groin. Additionally, Dambrot has given off days to rest point guard Sincere Carry’s sore knee.
After an earlier season-ending knee injury for forward Austin Rotroff, the transfer of Mike Lewis II and Kellon Taylor’s decision to focus on basketball, Dambrot’s 13-man rotation is suddenly very, very thin.
At practice on Monday, he was limited to six scholarship players at full strength: Gavin Bizeau, Frankie Hughes, Mike Hughes, Amari Kelly, Brandon Wade and Eric Williams, Jr.
“We’re going to have to live with just an intellectual practice sometimes, more than a physical practice, until we get all of our guys back,” Dambrot said. “We can still get better without doing it how we used to do it. That’s kind of what I’m doing right now, just trying to get better in a different way.”
Dambrot said that he expects Carry, who did practice on Tuesday, to play Wednesday night against St. Bonaventure, but cautioned that he will continue to be day-to-day with his knee throughout the season.
Dunn-Martin, who has been the team’s secondary ball handler, left Saturday’s game against Dayton in the second minute with his ankle injury and has not resumed practicing.
“It’s a big loss,” Dambrot said. “I think the biggest thing we lose with Tavian, it’s very evident. Sin can break down defense, and then when we kick to Tavian, he can shoot, drive, pass or score. So he’s a secondary break-down guy, especially when he gets and angle when doesn’t have to do it all on his own all the time. … Frank and E (Williams) are catch-and-shoot guys. They’re not going to create for other people.”
Norman, another backcourt option for the Dukes, suffered a concussion in practice when the crashed into the far wall of Duquesne’s practice gym at A.J. Palumbo Center.
Wade will be the only viable backup to Carry, and could be thrust into a significant role until Dunn-Martin and Norman return.
“I mean, there’s nobody else,” Dambrot said. “He’s capable. It’s a good opportunity for him.”
The Dukes are in better shape in the frontcourt, where Dambrot expects Weathers to play, even if he isn’t 100 percent. He also said that Taylor could return to game action if the Dukes get low on bodies.