The Duquesne men’s basketball team finally slated to take the court Saturday in Foggy Bottom, it will do so with a nearly full roster that has gained a name quite familiar to local basketball fans.
As previously reported, Ryan Murphy, who last played at Pitt is walking on to Duquesne.
“I give Ryan a lot of credit,” Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot said. “Most people wouldn’t have the guts to come into a program that’s fairly established in the backcourt, pay their own way to school and basically make friends with people you were competing with.”
The pandemic certainly forced Murphy to adjust his basketball plans and now he is at Duquesne which just exited another shutdown period.
Given that fact, Dambrot will be looking to utilize more of his bench and play individuals for shorter spurts which makes it a possibility that Murphy will see the court Saturday.
“He’s done a good job and he is capable of helping us, he just has to learn a lot of things in a short time period which is hard,” said Dambrot.
• A lot of times practice can indicate how a game will go but for Duquesne it has not had the luxury of practice due to another shutdown.
Duquesne got back to the gym Saturday night, practiced Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before traveling to Saint Louis where the game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 case for the Billikens.
With Duquesne’s Atlantic 10 debut being delayed, it will face a George Washington team, its first contest in exactly a month which may be a tall task in and of itself.
“I don’t think we practiced particularly well throughout because we’ve been shut down so many times and I feel like we’re starting over each time,” Dambrot said. “After two days off it’s hard to get them going and we’ve been off three of four different times 10 or 14 days, that’s ridiculous. I know I’m not too comfortable because there are parts of the game we won’t be good at because we can only do so much. I’m just trying to get them in shape and get them to feel good about themselves.”
• Between this piece and the main piece on how Duquesne has handled having a month off in the middle of the COVID-19, Dambrot has been the sole voice, but how do the student-athletes feel?
Marcus Weathers seemed both upbeat and optimistic as everything has been positive since returning back to campus and practice with enthusiasm also high.
“I love playing basketball no matter if there are fans or not,” he said. “For me it is the motivation of playing the game and staying ready. I know I’ve seen a lot of different things but I’m just super excited and grateful to play with everything going on.
• Duquesne is slated to face George Washington which is 1-6 and has not performed up to its expectations.
Within the last week Maceo Jack and Monday afternoon Jameer Nelson Jr announced their departures from the program.
George Washington won its A-10 debut convincingly 71-47 over a Fordham team which had not played a basketball game all season. Jamison Battle scored 24 points in the contest and James Bishop 23.
GW which was picked 11th in the Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll has averaged 75.57 points while conceding 77.14 a game.
Perhaps most notably, it has been buried twice on social media for it lack of execution down the stretch of close games during the non-conference slate.
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) December 15, 2020
Here is the second straight less-than-ideal final possession for GW: pic.twitter.com/ANmG1dFl9R
— Kevin Sweeney (@CBB_Central) December 22, 2020