MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — To say it has been a journey for Amari Kelly in his return from his ACL injury suffered at Saint Louis last season would be an understatement, but putting on the Dukes’ new uniform will have to wait longer.
Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot stated in Sunday’s postgame press conference that Kelly will, redshirt as he he suffered another injury while rehabbing that will prevent him from playing.
Kelly did not appear in any games this season and will have three seasons of eligibly remaining when he returns to the floor in 2020. As a freshman in 2018-19, he averaged 2.1 points and 2.1 rebounds per game for the Dukes.
“We were probably going to redshirt him anyway it just doesn’t make much sense after all of these games,” Dambrot said. “He’s too good a player. We’re pretty set on our rotations right now with those big kids so it doesn’t make any sense for the good of the program or for him.”
Recently, Dambrot mentioned that Duquesne would have a decision to make, though he had hoped that Kelly would make that determination on his own. It was going to be tough to find playing time for Kelly. Austin Rotroff suffered the same injury last season, and though he is already back on the court, when he does play it has been rather sparingly of late, with Marcus Weathers coming into his own at small forward and Mike Hughes and Baylee Steele locking down the “five” spot.
Speaking of playing time, freshman guard Ashton Miller saw the court for 6:16 of game, the third time he has had a single-digit minutes count in the last four contests. Miller has battled injuries and Dambrot stated he also has been battling shot-making issues.
“I’m not helping Ashton much,” said Dambrot. “I’m out there trying to win games. He’s not getting extended minutes which does not help a young player. I thought defensively he did a good job and played very hard. It’s my job in practice to keep picking him up. The facts of the matter is those other guys are going to play more than him, there’s no use sugar coating it. He’s going to play at the end of the game defensively. He has to make free throws late and be a good ballhandler. He’s got a good role, probably not what he wants, nor what I want. I try to make it all business which is hard, especially when you like people.”