Four weeks from Wednesday, the 2020-21 college basketball season will get underway.
Duquesne’s Keith Dambrot and many other coaches in the country are still dealing with the uncertainty of their schedule for the opening month but none the less are preparing for whomever those opponents will be.
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Once thing that has been scheduled is that the Dukes will be one of eight teams competing at the KFC Yum! Center in the Louisville, Kentucky Bubble. While exact matchups haven’t been announced, Duquesne will be joined in Louisville by Western Kentucky, UNC Greensboro, Winthrop, Arkansas-Little Rock, Southern Illinois, Prairie View A&M and Louisville.
Plenty of optimism surrounds Dambrot’s squad considering they’ll be returning all five starters from last year’s team that went 21-9. Along with these talented veteran’s that have experienced success, the staff is bringing in what many consider to be Duquesne’s most talented recruiting class in years.
Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with Dambrot and wanted to get his early feeling and expectations on a few of his returning veterans and also to find out what he’s seen so far from this group of freshman.
SINCERE CARRY, JUNIOR POINT GUARD:
“I think he’s really just scratched the surface. For him, it’s all about consistency and mindset on a daily basis. I think if he can do it and have the same work ethic every single day, he has a chance to get a lot better.”
Carry’s First 2 Seasons:
2018-19: 33.5 minutes per game, 43.4 FG%, 31.5 3PT%, 3.6 REB, 5.8 AST, 2.4 STL, 12.1 PTS
2019-20: 35.6 minutes per game, 41.1 FG%, 33.6 3PT%, 3.9 REB, 5.3 AST, 0.9 STL, 12.2 PTS
MACEO AUSTIN, SOPHOMORE GUARD:
“I think like anyone else, the first year of college basketball for anyone is difficult. Just the changing of the role from being the best player on your high school team almost every year, obviously he played with Oscar so that’s different as well. Just getting him to continue to work on his motor, which will need to be his biggest improvement, along with strength and conditioning. Obviously, he knows what it takes to win and that’s a key for him.
“I think he’s one of these guys that should be a jack of all trades and not worry about scoring and just worry about being good at everything, that’s what I believe his role should be. A lot of people judge how good a player is by how many points a game he scores. I’ve had guys like the Thomas twins and Charles Thomas played in the NBA and never scored more than 11 points in college. I think value is kind of misleading sometimes. In Maceo’s case, I don’t think he’ll ever lead us in scoring but he can be one our best players every single year.”
MARCUS WEATHERS, SENIOR FORWARD:
“We’ve talked with length with Marcus about the improvement he made since he was a freshman at Miami of Ohio until now and even every year here. We feel like for him conditioning is the key. If he can get over the hump conditioning wise, we feel like he can take another huge jump. The thing that he did really well last year was he figured out where his bread was buttered and what he was really good at. Before, he was so concerned about improving his game, handling the ball better, shooting the ball better from the outside, it hurt him a little even though it made him a better all around player. Last year, he just beat people up around the rim and driving it to the basket and offensive rebounding. I think if he can get in better conditioning and goes all in on that, then you get a Draymond Green type of player which really is what we’re looking for.”
Weather’s First 3 Seasons:
2016-17: 51% FG, 6.0 REB, 0.7 AST, 68% FT, 9.7 PTS/GAME
2018-19: 48.9% FG, 6.4 REB, 0.8 AST, 64.1% FT, 10.0 PTS/GAME
2019-20: 55.7% FG, 8.1 REB, 1.7 AST, 67.3% FT, 14.3 PTS/GAME
MIKE HUGHES, SENIOR CENTER:
“Mike has surprised people as well since he came with us and has improved his game every single year as well. With him it’s the same thing, he has to get in even better condition and continue to work on that motor so he doesn’t make mistakes when he’s tired. He’s shown the ability to block shots, to offensive rebound and score around the rim. He’s a force physically and if he goes all in, he can take another jump.”
2020 FRESHMAN CLASS:
“The only thing we don’t know is how they’ll perform in games but I like our young class. I think it’s the best class that we’ve had and I’d be surprised if they’re not. What we’ve done with those young guys is that we’ve got tremendous depth, especially in the backcourt at the 1, 2 and 3 spots.
“We feel like Andre Harris is guy that once he understands the college game and gets better defensively and understands what we’re doing, I think he has a chance to be a Marcus Weathers type player in a different way because he’s a little more skilled but same big body and strong. Probably not as explosive around the rim but he’s a guy that can play that spot.
“We feel like all of those guys are going to be contributors before it’s done. It’s just a matter of who’s going to be ready early. I feel like, for instance, Tyson Acuff has kind of had a tough time of it because when he got here, he was sick and then had a sprained foot so he’s behind in some areas but his upside is huge. Really the whole class has a lot of potential, we’ve really improved our shooting ability and length on the wing as well.”