Duquesne Men’s Basketball coach Keith Dambrot may have watched the Winter Olympics to support his team, but he also received added perspective which he shared following a 65-54 loss to Fordham Saturday.
Mikaela Shiffrin fell out of her first two events, and she discussed how thankful people treated her because she felt like a failure in this Olympics.
Duquesne basketball on Pittsburgh Sports Now is sponsored by The Summit Academy: setting young men on the path to a better future.
What Dambrot got out of this was that she had these expectations and took sole blame for falling short. Duquesne’s loss gives it nine consecutive defeats and a 6-16 record.
By no means, was Duquesne expected to win the Atlantic 10 this season, not with Dambrot rebooting the roster, but by the same extent, it would have been hard to foresee this.
“When you’re not used to it, and I’m not used to it, it’s super hard,” Dambrot said. “I haven’t been through this; I want to crawl into a hole. I’m not happy, I’m miserable. That’s the truth. I can’t stand it, but what am I going to do? I’m still going to work my behind off to try and get Duquesne to the NCAA Tournament. I’m going to do everything I can and I’m not going to quit. I still have a lot of confidence. I’m not happy with where we’re at.”
Dambrot stated that it is obvious that Duquesne is not a great team right now. His team was out toughed and took several punches where it took too long to stand back up.
The many mistakes whether it was lack of fight, jogging into sets, displaying consistently poor body language have resembled early season basketball, even though at mid-February the A-10 Championship is quickly approaching.
For his part, Dambrot is sick of it. Sick of watching his players not diving on the floor and certainly annoyed by seven assists in a 40-minute game.
Heading into Saturday’s game, Duquesne was 339 of 350 NCAA D-I teams, averaging 10 assists a game.
“If that doesn’t tell you anything then you’ve got to be blind as a bat,” said Dambrot. “We can’t be that bad passing the ball, we just refuse to.”
Dambrot demonstrated a change by playing Davis Larson 15 minutes, his most since Dec. 4. Larson would score five points, including his 1,000th point and also passed up a close-range shot for a higher-percentage corner three-pointer. When all was said and done, Dambrot was pleased with Larson’s final line.
While some individuals have done good things, the group in full has not of late.
“They’ve been damaged emotionally, there’s no question,” Dambrot said. “They don’t really believe they can win right now, it’s fairly obvious. The one thing I won’t do is give into it. I could have left the locker room and said little and maybe that helps them, but I told them the truth. We have to get tougher, share the ball more, be more accountable, hold ourselves to a higher standard, we have to have better expectations.”
The belief first seemed to wane when Austin Rotroff suffered a foot injury. His original timetable was 4-to-6 weeks and following the game, Dambrot stated that he does not expect Rotroff to play.
For what it’s worth, student-athletes once again were not made available to reporters.
Dambrot does not believe he has changed much as a coach, just wins have been hard to come by, which he believes means that Duquesne is not good enough.
“I don’t think the game has changed that much unless I’m just stupid all of a sudden,” said Dambrot. “I’m in charge so either way it’s my fault.”
Duquesne will have another opportunity to earn its first win since Jan. 8 when it hosts George Washington Wednesday.
As is, Dambrot stated that this has been the worst year of his basketball life, but he refuses to quit.
“I’m not going to lie about it, I hate it, but I’m not going to quit,” he said. “I had to pick myself off the bootstraps one other time in my life in basketball and I did that. If I can do that, I can do this. I’m not embarrassed. I have an unbelievable amount of pride, but it’s humbling. I go back and keep trying to work at it because that’s the way I’m built. Nothing’s ever been easy for me, I’ve had to work for everything I’ve gotten.”