The Dukes will travel to Fordham on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. tip-off against the Rams, who will be without head coach Jeff Neubauer, who left the team on Tuesday. Fordham is 1-7 in league play, while the Dukes enter at 3-5 in the Atlantic-10 for Wednesday’s game, which will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Here’s all the news and notes for the Dukes as they enter a crucial run of three games in six days.
• It appears that Duquesne is going back to some familiarity when it comes to finding answers in the post. With Mike Hughes and Marcus Weathers closer to displaying last year’s form, Duquesne is going to utilize a three-or-four post rotation, head coach Keith Dambrot said on Tuesday.
“The truth of the matter is we decided to go with what we did last year with Baylee Steele, Marcus and Mike Hughes and play the fourth big if we get foul trouble. We were going to do that with Dre Harris and that’s the direction. We shortened up our bench a little bit but that may not happen in the future.”
• As a follow up following discussing his disappointment with reigning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week Chad Baker’s attitude drawing the ire of officials for three consecutive games, Dambrot stated there has been some dialogue and not just with him, but a couple of others that he did not name.
“That’s a constant battle you fight nowadays as a coach,” Dambrot said. “You have to consistently keep your finger on culture, attitude, playing together, slippage but I think he’ll come around. What makes people great a lot of times kills them as well. You look at Chad, he’s good because he’s competitive and loose but what makes his bad is he’s competitive and loose.”
. Dambrot still has not heard from the Atlantic 10 as it relates to rescheduling its postponed contests at Richmond and Saint Louis. Of course the second contest against St. Bonaventure was moved up to Saturday which opens up March.
As far as getting breaks are concerned, Dambrot said he is not counting on having any because of his team’s placement in the conference standings.
“Just like the NCAA wants to play those games because of the dollar value, the A-10 wants to get three or four teams into the NCAA Tournament and we certainly aren’t one of those teams on the bubble,” said Dambrot.
Dambrot was upfront stating he would be disappointed if the road contest at Saint Louis was rescheduled because the team already spent money taking a charter out there and then had to fly back empty handed because the Billikens had positive COVID-19 tests.
• Looking at the bright side, Dambrot stated that Monday he got to see the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse and seemed to come away impressed. His biggest thing was that even when the venue opens it is unknown how quickly his team will be able to practice in it.
“It’s going to be really nice when it’s all done,” he said. “If we can ever go out and recruit again it should give us some benefits.”
. A couple of hours after Dambrot’s call ended, news came out that Neubauer will no longer lead the Rams in a move that may have been surprising if only given the timing of it.
Neubauer was in his sixth season with the team. He led Fordham to a CIT berth in his first season, a 17-14 overall record.
His contract was set to expire at season’s end and he finished his time at Fordham with a 61-104 career record.
“We thought it was in our best interest to part ways now, provide some clarity and direction with the next six weeks and what that looks like,” Fordham interim AD Ed Kull said to WFUV’s Emmanuel Berbari. “It allows us some more time to plan and strategize appropriately for Fordham men’s basketball and publicly do some plans and research for what the next leader needs to look like and be… I want to thank Jeff Neubauer for his class and the way he ran the program. I wish him nothing but the best.”
Associate head coach Mike DePaoli will serve as interim coach for the remainder of the season.
HE SAID IT
“The thing I find joy in is the challenge of it all and it’s an unbelievable challenge. We’ll see if I can put the pieces back together and what I have in my tank. See what the guys have in their tank.” – Dambrot