#74 Duquesne: 2010-11 Basketball Preview

    
October 11th, 2010

Overall Rank: #74

Conference Rank: #7 Atlantic 10 Conference

 

2009-10: 16-16, 7-9

2009-10 postseason: CBI

Coach: Ron Everhart (64-61 at Duquesne, 238-233 overall)

 

Duquesne had a relatively disappointing 2009-2010 season. They did reach the CBI, but fell to Princeton in the first round and ended up with a pedestrian 16-16 overall record. A lack of consistent shooting, most notably from beyond the arc and at the charity stripe, were the biggest culprits, but a lack of depth did not allow Coach Ron Everhart to run as much as he would like. A talented group of newcomer should at least fix that issue.

 

Key Losses: G Melquan Bolding, G Jason Duty, C Morakinyo Williams

 

Key Newcomers:

The Dukes picked up three backcourt players who have a history of high scoring. Wing Jerry Jones is extremely versatile for a 6-4 guard. He can score from anywhere on the floor, hit the glass hard and even handle the ball. Point guards T.J. McConnell and Mike Talley are the players that will be able to run up and down the floor and score in bunches. Those two will provide plenty of quality depth on the perimeter and should help boost the scoring output and keep the starters fresh and allow everybody to play better defense. Joel Wright is a tough player, but fellow forward Derrick Martin should make a bigger impact this year. At 6-9, Martin will give Duquesne a much needed big body in the paint who can grab some rebounds and block some shots. Yet, Martin does not spend all of his time in the paint and his ability to step outside and hit the three-pointer will make him a very dangerous player sooner or later.

 

Backcourt:

Point guard Eric Evans did a fine job running the show for the first time last season. Not only did he average 3.8 assists per game, but he also added 10.0 points. Evans was still learning to be a point guard, but by the end of the 2009-2010 campaign, he was a point guard first and a scorer second. On a team that has plenty of other scoring options, that turned out to be a very positive thing. B.J. Monteiro had a breakout season as well and ended up averaging 11.1 points and 4.4 rebounds. As the Dukes most consistent returning outside shooter, Monteiro will have added pressure on him if the newcomers cannot start knocking down three-pointers. Sean Johnson may begin the season as a starter, but like the rest of the team, he has to start connecting on the long ball more often or he could lose his job to one of the freshmen.

 

Frontcourt:

Bill Clark actually led the team in three-pointers made last season, connecting on 1.5 per game. However, he shot a dismal 27.9 percent from beyond the arc. That is one major reason why Duquesne could have been a better team. It is one thing to not have a three-point shooter on the team, but forcing shots is never a good idea. The good news is Clark is a superb scorer otherwise and the fact that he is at least a threat to hit the long ball forces the defense out of their comfort zone. Clark ranked second on the team with 14.1 points and 6.0 rebounds and the senior should be in for a big year. Clark is only 6-5, but due to the talent on the perimeter and his ability to hit the glass, he will have to spend a lot of time at the four spot. The lack of frontcourt depth will put a lot of pressure on the newcomers and players like Rodrigo Peggau who saw limited action last season.

 

Who to Watch:

There is little wonder why Damian Saunders won the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year honors after averaging 11.2 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 2.8 steals during his junior campaign. The 6-7 forward may sound a little undersized, but he never plays like it. He is not your typical plodding big man who hangs out in the paint all day. Saunders can run with this team and that is why he is such a productive player at Duquesne. His superb athleticism also led to 15.0 points per game last season and there are very few players in the conference who can stop Saunders on other end of the floor.

 

Final Projection:

The depth in the frontcourt may be an issue if the younger players cannot step up their game. The good news is this team will run more and Saunders is perfectly capable of playing at the five spot without getting into foul trouble. In fact, he averaged an amazing 36.7 minutes per game last year and only tallied 2.5 fouls per contest. Depth is nice, but nobody is going to replace Saunders’ production on the floor.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT

 

Projected Starting Five:

Eric Evans, Junior, Guard, 10.0 ppg

Sean Johnson, Sophomore, Guard, 5.6 ppg

B.J. Monteiro, Junior, Guard, 11.1 ppg

Bill Clark, Senior, Forward, 14.1 ppg

Damian Saunders, Senior, Forward, 15.0 ppg

 

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