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Inside the Dukes: Clark III’s Bounce Back Leads To Win



Duquesne Men’s Basketball Coach Keith Dambrot has been very clear that in order to see time on the court and that involves both guarding and sharing the ball, something Jimmy Clark III learned that hard way when he was benched early for not doing the former.

Dambrot has expressed that Clark has been coachable and this was the latest test for how he would bounce back.

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The response?

Clark put in a game-high 22 points, matched a season-best with eight assists, committed one turnover and recorded one foul in 33 minutes.

It is clear that Clark’s success can be predicated based upon his discipline at both ends of the floor. His fearlessness allows him to succeed but can also go in the other direction.

“I hit him very hard just about doing better and being more sound,” Dambrot explained. “He’s got a load of ability and when he leaves here, I don’t want him to not become what he should be. You can be hard on guys for specific reasons because you really want them to get what they deserve out of this thing. Sometimes it may not be taken like that but that’s my goal and objective with them, to win games and give them what they deserve when they’re done. If you believe someone should be this and they’re only playing here, then it’s your obligation to try and make them play at that level or you’re really cheating them.”

A significant contributing factor towards Clark’s assists came from Dusan Mahorcic whose five made field goals all came off passes from the guard, one of which led to an and-one play.

Mahorcic put in 13 points Wednesday, his most points against an NCAA Division I opponent and his movement is clearly improved, something he estimates is at 80-85%.

This year has been a rebuilding year for Mahorcic in all aspects, especially with moving and jumping. His goal has been to push each day on and off the court to improve as much as possible.

“It starts in practice. Du didn’t start the season with us, but he kept the energy high and talked to us while we were going through practice while he was trying to get back,” said Clark. “It started then just building that chemistry in practice and in the games he’s a great vocal big to have on the court with you. He talks to you and lets you know where he is on the court. He makes it easy for a guy like me.”

With this game helping his confidence, Mahorcic believes his game is on an incline and he is trying to give Duquesne its best chance to win, regardless of what his role is.

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!

As Mahorcic got back to being active, he made a suggestion that clearly Clark took to heart.

“Watching Jimmy play, he’s really talented offensively and defensively and a really athletic guy,” Mahorcic remarked. “I have a feeling that was one of the pieces in his game that he could improve on and how the games were going when I came back. I told him ‘Hey look for me, I’m going to get you assists.’ It started off as that and we have built on that on a daily basis in practice. I’m just sad I can only spend a few more games with him. We seem to get that connection we need to score points in the paint off the pick and roll and whatnot.”

It is clear these two connected in a way which got the Dukes going and embraced Dambrot’s values and that combined with a better defensive effort in the second half significantly assisted in Duquesne’s efforts.


Dambrot has never been shy to voice his opinion and a couple of matters of relevance the last few days caught his attention.

Though Massachusetts has not officially announced so yet, it was first tweeted by The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach that the university is shifting to the Mid-American Conference, the latest in a series of football inspired moves. This would go into effect beginning with the 2025-26 academic year.

“It’s interesting because this is not one of the best years in the MAC,” he said. I think they’re 24th so it is one of the worst years ever in the MAC. There’s two ways to look at it. There’s not many at-large bids for any mid majors including us, so can they go into the MAC and dominate it and get an easier ticket to the NCAA Tournament than they can in the A-10 and how does it affect their recruiting? Recruiting Northeast guys to play in a Midwest league. It’s kind of like what Robert Morris went through. I’m sticking my nose in everyone else’s business, but do you stay in the NEC and try to dominate and get in the tournament or do you change leagues and that was probably football driven as well.

“Everything nowadays is football driven. It’s a little hard to understand because it’s MAC football. I’ve had conversations with guys like Jim Tressel, the president at Youngstown State and coached at Ohio State and we’ve had conversations about MAC football and whether it’s worth it. It seems like everyone wants to play football. With UMass’s history in basketball, that’s a little perplexing that they’re going to put all of their eggs into football really but again it’s not my issue, that’s their issue, but I’m an opinionated guy.”

Dambrot also provided his thoughts on senior days, which Duquesne will have its rendition Mar. 9 against George Washington.

Andy Toole told reporters including PSN’s Nathan Breisinger that the day itself is ‘not the same’ and Dambrot found some commonalities in that belief.

“It should be like one-year days now,” assessed Dambrot. “The whole game has changed. Some of it is good, there are some good transfers. It’s hard on the fan base because guys are in and out and they don’t get to know anybody. Ultimately the fan base only cares about one thing and that’s the big w at the end of the day. There’s a lot to be said for what you don’t see anymore. You don’t build those relationships over time because you’re not there very long. I don’t love it, but I’m a realist, I know it’s here for good.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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