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Duquesne Basketball

Dambrot Believes Duquesne Will Be Competitive



BROOKLYN, NY– For a second consecutive season, Keith Dambrot has retooled his Duquesne Men’s Basketball program.

A year ago, he wanted to regain control of the program and do so on his terms. Though injuries and playing undersized certainly did not help things, Dambrot admitted that he did not push the right buttons but because it was quickly analyzed that the 2021-22 season was not going according to plan, it only intensified and started the retooling process at a much earlier time.

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With that being said, Duquesne has now been selected last in the Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll for the second time in Dambrot’s tenure with the team.

“The people who think they’re this, that and the other fall by the wayside,” Dambrot told PSN at Atlantic 10 Media Day. “You have to have confidence in your ability. I haven’t been around a losing team since 1994. Was it humbling, did I react well? Obviously not. You have to take the good with the bad in life and certainly I’m not going to put the white flag up, I feel that we can win in this league. We’ve always won in the league; we just had a bad year last year. It was a perfect storm. I’m not even thinking about last year, I’m thinking about this year.”

Duquesne has become an older team and early practice returns have been positive, but it comes down to whether these pieces will be able to play together.

With Duquesne searching for experience a season ago, now it has that experience in spades, with Joe Reece, a transfer from Bowling Green, Dae Dae Grant of Miami (OH), Tre Clark from Northwest Florida State, who also previously played at VCU and Tevin Brewer from FIU.

“We’re definitely going to be a little less reliant on newer guys and we have some good young players, but we can be a little more patient with them than we’ve had to be,” said Dambrot.

The last of these names, Tevin Brewer had severe complications due to an appendectomy. Dambrot said of Brewer that his body will serve as a guide as to how long recovery will take. The process will go from walking, to running until he is able to return to the court.

Dambrot stated that the team will be careful with his recovery but that he will also help make decisions.

As far as weaknesses from a campaign ago, Dambrot said getting older in the backcourt had to be addressed, as did frontcourt depth and both shooting and passing abilities. Both Brewer and Grant combined for an assist total which nearly surpassed all of Duquesne’s total as a team a season ago.

Duquesne had trouble connecting on passes, with injuries playing a part, though its assist totals were one of the lowest in the country.

In terms of passing and shooting, Dambrot has attempted to remedy that with Brewer, Clark, Quincy McGriff, a sophomore from Salt Lake Community College and Matus Hronsky from Slovakia.

In past seasons, Dambrot has expressed a desire to have the depth where if a player makes multiple defensive mistakes that they will take a seat on the bench.

Now, Dambrot believes each player responds different where some need coerced into playing defense and others need massaged and taught.

“We’re going to be demanding, we know we can’t win unless we play great defense, share the ball and make baskets,” he said. “Those are the things we’ll work hard on. but we’ve improved physically but it will be a matter of time if we’ve improved mentally to be a top-level team.”

By no means has the rotation been determined, though Dambrot does concede that early on, it will likely be the older players who will see more opportunities on the court.

It is the older players who Dambrot believes have led by example. Kevin Easley, for example, has shown consistency in practice and Tre Williams dropped weight following his season-ending knee injury.

Austin Rotroff returned to practice Sept. 6 and RJ Gunn also has returned to the court, but not before losing 25 pounds, a number significant enough to make Dambrot state that he is probably in the best condition of his life.

Dambrot also mentioned Andy Barba, who was on the roster but did not play a season ago, has worked to become a consistent player.

This does not include Reece who Dambrot expressed has a “good brain, versatile, runs well and plays good defense.”

By no means did anyone associated with the program express joy over what happened a season ago, but Dambrot expressed reason to display optimism.

“We didn’t like what happened last year. but we won 21 games and 11 in the league without an arena, so we’ve shown we can win, we just have to get back to that same basic plan that helped us win the first time,” said Dambrot. “We’ve readjusted, it’s a little different, but the basics don’t really change.”

So where does Dambrot believe Duquesne stand as the Nov. 8 home opener against Montana quickly approaches?

“I think we’re going to be competitive,” Dambrot stated. “We can’t have injuries, just like any team in this league. Obviously, the Tevin Brewer thing is a setback, because it just hurts your ability to put it together quicker. It can really help us because we have other people ready to play that spot which should help your depth down the line. We have to look at every negative as a positive.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

It’s past time for dambot, bring on Daryl freedman

1 year ago

What’s he supposed to say “We suck?”

1 year ago

What the hell us would he say and tell his players. “You know guys, we have little talent and suck, shouldn’t even play the season to be honest.”

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