Keith Dambrot has always been direct through success and failures, and Wednesday night was no different after his team’s 13th consecutive loss, a 74-50 setback to Davidson at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.
It has been a tough campaign for Duquesne as Dambrot truly believed that in his reboot, that he had assembled his best team on the Bluff, but in reality, it has been his least effective.
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Wednesday, Dambrot admitted that in an effort to control the culture of his program, he overcorrected.
“I still think I did the right things by morals and ethics standards, but I still hurt myself, I hurt our school and I hurt our team,” he said. “We had too much bullshit going on and I had enough. We got a bunch of good guys for the most part and we’re not good, so maybe there is an inverse relationship between that GPA and your win-loss record. A lot of coaches will BS you, but I think I overcorrected, probably overreacted.”
Dambrot expressed surprise at losing so many individuals, many of whom are now excelling at their new schools, namely Sincere Carry, Tavian Dunn-Martin, Lamar Norman Jr and Marcus Weathers.
Given how the transfer market has transpired and how there have been many departures from Duquesne both from a talent and fit perspective,
“The way the new basketball is, there’s going to be three or four guys that aren’t going to be back,” said Dambrot. “That’s the average. Especially when you’re not playing very well, there is more tendency for guys to leave. It certainly isn’t their fault, it’s my fault.”
Armed with a 20-loss season and his first losing record at Duquesne, Dambrot now knows his one-year reboot is slated to be a two-year reboot, doubling down on a remark made at a previous press conference that hinted at his return next season.
There has been a clear frustration from Duquesne fans which have dropped in numbers and a once sold-out student section has had plenty of seats available for several games now.
Duquesne did show some positive signs, finding an offensive flow for much of the first half and the team’s 14 assists were the most since the season opener against Rider.
Even so, Duquesne found itself struggling in the second half as Davidson clicked on both ends of the floor.
Duquesne remains in last place with three games remaining in regular season play.
Currently, Duquesne sophomore Tyson Acuff stated an appreciation for Dambrot trying to inspire his team and try to find ways for improvement.
“We don’t need anybody to cuddle us and tell us we’re going to be fine,” he said. “We need hard, aggressive, passionate, coaching right now. We haven’t been successful the other way.”
TRE WILLIAMS UPDATE
Just before the end of the first half, Tre Williams fell to the floor in clear pain. He grimaced at his discomfort and a few seconds deeper into Duquesne’s offensive possession, play was whistled dead.
Williams did not return to the game and was unable to join his team at halftime, instead being treated at a far corner as he was wrapped and placed on crutches, sitting on the bench while waiting for his teammates to return to the court.
Dambrot did not seem optimistic about Williams’s returns, though by no means was anything official as he was getting looked at for a second time by a doctor.
“When you walk off like that, it doesn’t look like you’re going to play,” he said. “If he has any kind of damage at all, we’re not going to play him.”
A LOVE FOR THE GAME
By all account it has been a frustrating season for everyone on the team, and this is something Acuff illustrated at the end of the players press conference.
Even though the season has not been what anyone affiliated with Duquesne would desire, he maintained his love for basketball through thick and thin.
“Any good comes with struggles in life,” said Acuff. “Nothing is going to be perfect the whole ride. Right now, we have to stick it out, you can’t only like when things are going well and then turn around and quit when things go bad. That’s not the mentality I was raised on. I’m just trying to put that into everybody’s head and keep our head up as a leader and a teammate.”