MCCANDLESS TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Maceo Austin and Sincere Carry, two of Duquesne’s starters, are taking time away from the program, as Pittsburgh Sports Now reported earlier on Saturday.
When that is coupled with the news from earlier in the week that Lamar Norman Jr has decided to transfer, Duquesne finds itself without all three of its starting guards from the start of the 2020-21 season.
“It’s tough because I’ve worked my tail off to make Duquesne competitive again and I felt like we lost one wall to our house, but our foundation is still pretty strong,” Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot said “Everyone’s situation is different and it is difficult on young people. We got off to a slow start as a team and individually. … I’m a little surprised by it, I’ve never had three starters leave at the semester.”
Dambrot seemed to most understand Austin’s decision to step away for personal reasons. Last season Austin had to overcome the passing of his sister Sara and this year had a battle with COVID-19. Austin started all four games he played in.
“Mace’s situation is probably a bit different because he’s not quit, he’s taking some personal time,” said Dambrot. “He’s not going to transfer as far as I know unless something has changed in the last 24 hours.”
Dambrot had less to say regarding Carry’s decision to take time away from the program. Carry had started all 63 games he played in averaging 11.9 points per game and was an unselfish point guard who provided a lift on the defensive end. When Dambrot was asked if he expected Carry to be back he was hopeful, but unsure.
“Obviously he wasn’t happy but neither was I,” he said. “It’s hard to be happy when you don’t win and don’t play great.”
As Dambrot stated Tuesday, he was not overly surprised at Norman’s decision. Given how the NCAA has given everyone a free year this season, there is an understanding that it has become even easier for student-athletes to transfer.
Dambrot has a business background so where he looks at the decisions, he still likes those that have departed the program and opts to look in the mirror and reflection on how things could have been better.
“We have to figure out where we failed, why it happened, it is an aberration, situational or did we not do a good job in certain aspects,” asked Dambrot. “Until you are real with yourself you’ll never be as good as you should be in any aspect, so I take responsibility.”
Spinning things forward, Duquesne had a positive response with a 48-45 victory over Fordham.
Tavian Dunn-Martin has now stepped up to be more of a leader on this team and though he did not have much to say about those who may be leaving, he did offer optimism for what is to come.
“I feel like we have high hopes for ourselves still and we still have the same energy,” he said. “The atmosphere is the same and we still have a winning attitude.”