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Vukovcan: Look for Changes With Duquesne Roster, Too



College athletics is entering a period that will likely change the landscape of sports for the foreseeable future.

The sports of college football and basketball are experiencing unprecedented change due to the impact of the transfer portal. Everyday athletes from every conference in the country are taking advantage of their opportunity to make a decision to transfer.

While we focus Pitt, Duquesne and Robert Morris because they’re local, no school is immune to this epidemic. College sports are likely changed forever and as one coach told me: “It’s the wild, wild west.”

Jeff Capel’s program received their fifth defection from the program on Wednesday when sophomore Karim Coulibaly announced his intention to transfer.

Sophomore guard Dante Treacy let it be known Thursday morning that will be leaving Robert Morris, just a year after being a big piece of the Colonials winning the NEC Postseason Tournament. Treacy is the fifth player this season to leave Andy Toole’s program.

Over on The Bluff, Keith Dambrot has dealt with his share of drama this past season with Lamar Norman, Sincere Carry transferring out mid-season and that likely won’t be the only players leaving Duquesne.

In his season ending press conference, Dambrot foreshadowed changes that were ahead when saying, “We just have to keep recruiting good people and at a high level and hold them accountable. No matter the consequences otherwise the problems never get fixed. If you’re connected, then you overcome emotional issues and maturity issues. If you’re faked connected then you’re going to have times where things are good and times when things are not very good. Ultimately this is all on me and my staff. It won’t ever happen again. I’m going to make sure we have a team of guys who care about winning and I’m going to coach them accordingly.”

If you read into what Dambrot was saying, it sure looks as though the Dukes will have some departures and it won’t be because of players leaving on their own via the transfer portal.

Despite not technically having many scholarship openings for the upcoming season, the Duquesne coaching staff has been very active this off-season looking for players in the Class of 2021 and more so through the transfer portal. The coaching staff has reached out to players such as USF grad transfer David Collins, Dimon Carrigan, JP Moorman, Brandon McKissic, Greg Parham, Tre Williams and and received a commitment this week from Division II transfer wing R.J. Gunn.

With little to no scholarship room available for this recruiting class, it’s very unlikely that the coaching staff is being this active in trying to add players immediately if significant movement is in the future.

Looking at this strong season-ending comments and the intensity in which they’re scouring the transfer portal, it sure looks like Dambrot is looking to combat the tidal wave of transfers by surrounding himself with players that he believes that he can coach, that will be accountable to the Duquesne program and at the same time, players that he can win with.

Getting players that can do all three of these things isn’t easy, especially in today’s climate, but it sure looks like that’s the goal of Duquesne this off-season. Having talented players is one thing but if those players aren’t buying into the team philosophy and what the coaches are trying to get get done, that talent means nothing and a problem will eventually arise which will prevent the team from achieving the ultimate goal.

Dambrot made the move from Akron because he wanted to do what most people think is impossible and that’s get Duquesne to the NCAA Tournament. That hasn’t happened to this point in part because of the roster turnover and trouble with finding the right mix of team chemistry. The Dukes chances would’ve improved greatly had they had a fully engaged Sincere Carry and Eric Williams, who transferred a couple of years ago to Oregon.

The goal remains the same but some adjustments on how to get there are in the process of happening. It will be interesting to see the roster that the Dukes have for next season, something tells me that it will look a lot different than is currently constructed.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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