The Duquesne Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams had an unofficial start to the basketball season with its Thursday night tipoff event in front of season ticket holders and fans.
With Vice President of Athletics Dave Harper serving as emcee, various speakers came up and brought an overall feeling of excitement for a season which both teams hope to be promising.
Duquesne President Ken Gormley first started the evening off by welcoming fans and bragging about a meeting he had earlier in the day with other Atlantic 10 athletic directors, during which he boasted the upcoming season being a fabulous one for both programs.
ESPN’s resident bracketologist Joe Lunardi then spoke explaining the inner working of bracketology and explaining how much has to go into the Atlantic 10 earning multiple bids into the NCAA Tournament.
Lunardi was also quick to compliment the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse and said it was a perfect A-10 arena.
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After Lunardi, women’s coach Dan Burt came up and while the 11th-year coach joked about being long winded, did mention that 98% of all major statistics from a season ago will be returning to the program which he felt differentiates his team from others across the conference.
Something else which made him feel similarly happened as he introduced his team. When he got to junior guard Megan McConnell and went through the credentials she had accomplished thus far in her collegiate career.
As Burt told McConnell to join him, he also made a point to call her “the best player in the Atlantic 10”.
“A lot of familiar faces,” Burt said of the evening. “We’re excited about what’s going to happen this season, both on the women’s and men’s sides. We had familiar faces, but also new faces and that’s really important as we engage a new fan base with winning basketball games on both sides of the floor. We’re really excited with tonight and what tonight brought.”
When the microphone was passed to men’s coach Keith Dambrot, his remarks were brief, but in that time, he expressed how excited he was about his team for a variety of reasons. He is pleased with the team’s strength, size and athleticism.
Also echoing his remarks from a season ago, Dambrot told the fans that the team he was with had a “good group of guys”, before introducing them by class.
The program continued with two fan questions, with the first being one to Lunardi about how many A-10 team would make the NCAA Tournament and the last query to Dambrot asking if he sent LeBron James a FaceTime call if he would answer.
Following the program, both teams signed autographs, putting an end to the evening.
“The Duquesne fans deserve something good,” concluded Dambrot. “Between the women’s team and our team hopefully we can give them what they deserve. I came here because my dad had a really good experience here, played on the number one team in the country. I felt like we could do some good things. We haven’t quite gotten what we wanted yet, but we’ve done a good job of putting ourselves in position, now we’ve just got to get over the hump.”