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Duquesne Basketball Q&A With Dave Harper



With both Duquesne basketball seasons in the books, there is now plenty of time to look back on the peaks and valleys both the men and women have experienced.

This piece will be the first in regard to season review as Duquesne Vice President of Athletics Dave Harper spoke to PSN’s Zac Weiss prior to the men’s team officially being in the CBI.

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Below are his thoughts in full.

Overall thoughts on the men’s team’s season: “Obviously we were all pleased with the progress that we’ve made but at the same time there is a relentless drive to be a high-level postseason caliber team and there will be a focus on recruitment and player development with the talented core that we’ve got. Hopefully it will lead to more incremental success.”

Regarding the turnaround from last season to this campaign: “Our coaches work tirelessly in recruiting. They traveled extensively, worked on evaluations and analytics. The model we used last year will aid us this year. We’ve got work to do but we have things in our toolkit to maximize opportunities with recruiting. It will be the same tireless approach to acquire and retain good talent.”

Thoughts on the group the team had in place this season: “That’s a testament to the young men, they’re fantastic kids. They’re successful kids and great human beings that enjoy playing with one another, the core coming back helped establish the strong culture we have. Hopefully this can project to more success in our conference.”

On the setback to La Salle in the Atlantic 10 Championship: “I know there’s a bitter taste in everyone’s mouths with how everything ended. We had some inconsistent play which was unfortunate but the most telling this was the passion in the locker room. That scene I was proud to see, they’re passionate and express gratitude for one another. Those attributes contribute to winning. We have to play consistently and recruit more pieces. That will lead to more incremental success.”

On what it will take to make that next step: “I have a great deal of confidence because they’ve been more adaptive in their coaching and more focused on player development. There is a good camaraderie which is important. They’re energized with where they are at right now. We’re 3-4 games from being in that top part of the A-10 and postseason conversation. There is a lot of work to do but that staff is craving that opportunity.”

Duquesne's 2024 March Madness Tournament coverage is sponsored by Leon's Billiards & More, Moon Golf Club and Archie's on Carson! Their contributions have allowed us to cover the Dukes run in Omaha, Nebraska. We appreciate their support!

Overall thoughts on the women’s season: “There was improvement no doubt but like on the men’s side, they’re wanting more. We have room for growth in a number of areas. We have a core group coming back that can be developed. Recruiting to add a few missing pieces is what we need to battle for the top spot in the conference.”

What it takes to return to the past standard of success: “Our focus on recruiting on recruiting and player development is critical to get back to where we once were. There’s a batch of talented new coaches, so it’s going to be a tough climb no doubt. We have to be laser focused on what is needed for more success.”

Thoughts on coach Dan Burt: “The key for any coach is how adaptive you can be to the game and talent that you have. If you can do that and understand what it takes to be successful, you can adapt and put the players in a place to succeed. That is something all good coaches do and that’s something that Dan can focus on.”

On both teams seeing increased attention: “There’s been some outstanding marketing efforts to grow attendance but there’s nothing better than having an entertaining product and that’s what we have. They are kids you want to support because of how they play and who they are. We have growth in all areas but that’s where our focus remains and won’t waver.”

Regarding Red & Blue Collective: “The NIL conversations were not so much internal as they were external. We were fortunate to have a very talented, passionate group of supporters that understand the NIL and to be present in that space. You can’t sit on the curve and stop; you have to be active and have a sustainable strategy. We’ll never have one where a player picks a school based on that but those are part of the overall package. It’s a necessary piece for success and we’re fortunate to put it in place formally and took our time to do it right. Things out of the gate were crazy in a lot of ways. We started having discussions 4-5 months ago and came to a consensus and realized we were going to have a strong system for our NIL. Our players will be involved in a number of NIL activities in the next 2-3 months that will serve a purpose. Putting all of the support tools in place was just as important as kicking it off.”

On moving forward: “We have all of the necessary objectives in terms of what we will support and allocate resources accordingly. Now it’s incremental growth. We’ll win the next thing we do in recruiting and developing players. It’s a never-ending focus put it that way. The turnarounds that both made are not easy and the challenge of getting to the 23–25-win level with the right wins is a huge climb. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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