Winning has followed whatever basketball program Keith Dambrot has been associated with. Since beginning his coaching career at Tiffin in 1984, Dambrot has only had two losing seasons, both at Central Michigan. One happened in 1991-92, the other a season later during 1992-93.
While it’s been a surprise to some, that winning has continued even after taking over the Duquesne program in 2017. In his first season, the Dukes went 16-16, which was followed by records of 19-13 and 21-9 last year, which was the Dukes first 20 win season since 2008 and only their second since 1980.
Provided there is a full season, the Dukes have a shot of accomplishing something that hasn’t been seen on The Bluff since 1972 and that’s having back-back 20-win seasons.
The reason for such optimism surrounding the Duquesne program is because of the roster that’s coming back. It includes five returning starters plus as deep a bench as the team has had in years.
Marcus Weathers was arguably the most pleasant surprise on Duquesne’s roster. Everyone knew Weathers had talent, but last year he put everything together and turned himself into the team’s biggest offensive weapon and someone that was able to dominate in the post offensively and with his rebounding.
Weathers finished 2019-20 averaging 14.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and shot close to 56% from the field. He believes he can improve upon those numbers in his last year wearing the Duquesne uniform.
“I just feel like my confidence has really grown every year,” Weathers tells Pittsburgh Sports Now. “I feel like that’s the case because of the amount of work that I’m putting in during the off-season and what I’m doing to prepare myself. Coming off of what I did last year, I feel like I’m only going to get better because I’m going to continue to put in the work to improve and whatever I can for us to win.”
“I think some of my improvement came from watching what I did two years ago and I believe I focused a little too much on my outside game and shooting threes. I then realized that I would be more effective by improving my game around the basket and trying to get my points from down inside there. That’s now turned into a strong point for me and being able to make shots down low and a layup every time or to be in position to make a layup every time. So basically, I realized that while I believe I could make shots outside that I needed to start playing to my strengths, which is what I did last year.”
Weathers started his college career at Miami (OH) before transferring to Duquesne when Dambrot was hired. Time has flown by for Weathers and he’s determined to continue what he’s started: changing the perception of Duquesne Dukes basketball.
“We’re very excited and are grinding everyday and are working hard to try and build an identify for this years team early, which is going to be on the defensive end,” said Weathers. “If we can all buy into that and put that effort into our defensive game, I believe we can come out with more wins than we did last year.”
“It’s crazy that when I arrived at Duquesne, not a lot of people knew about the program expect of its poor history. Now to see what we’ve done the last couple of seasons under Coach Dambrot, and to see what he told us would happen before we transferred here come to light, it’s really crazy and rewarding. We’re a very confident team now and it’s nice that we’re now expected to be a good team in the A-10 conference instead of hoping to be good.”