Aug. 7, 2017
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2017-18 Duquesne Men's Basketball Prospectus
QUOTING COACH DAMBROT
"I came here to win. We need everybody on our team to play at a higher level than they've ever played before. I'm not going to take a negative approach to this or make excuses, we want to have a winning season, and that's really what we came to do. Regardless of the hand you're dealt, or who you have, or what's happened in the past, if you believe you can win, and you have reasonable ability, you should be able to win."
Developing the team into a unit: "We've worked on the players' belief structure, their mindset and the culture. Trying to get them to be more of a team, more of a unified unit, more of a winning group.
"First off, you explain to them how to do it, psychologically what they have to do to become winners, the sacrifices they have to make, the teamwork that's required to do that and being able to accept challenges.
"The psychology is an important part, but you also have to teach them to work at the same time, and to detect their weaknesses.
"We're working on their psyche. There were a lot of games last year that they should have won, but didn't win. We're trying to make them understand how to win those games."
Off-season workouts: "We're spending a lot of time on ball-handling and passing, just trying to get the team to understand the value of becoming a better passer. Those were two major weaknesses they had last year. We need to improve our assist-to-turnover ratio.
"We've also spent a lot of time on guarding the basketball and being more communicative on the court defensively and offensively.
"Sometimes coaching isn't that complicated. Anything you emphasize as a coach really gets done, and anything you don't emphasize doesn't get done. Its basic stuff that I've done for 30 years."
Style of play: "A lot of how you play depends on the personnel you have. For the last six to eight years at Akron, we had good big men so we played through them on a pretty consistent basis.
"This year, with a lot of newcomers in the frontcourt, we might have to play small, spread it out and be a little bit more perimeter-oriented. We will play hard pressure, man-to-man defense. We'll try to share the ball and just keep things simple. Just try to be good at the simple, little things."
FOCUS ON THE MENTAL ASPECT
Head coach Keith Dambrot, who has consistently emphasized the importance of the mental aspect of the game, brought in nationally respected sports psychologist Dr. Joe Carr to spend four days with the team this spring. "One of the things that we really have to change here is the culture," said Dambrot. "We've had 40 years of basically not winning championships. We have to make our team believe that we are capable of winning championships and that we're good enough to win championships. Every activity that Dr. Carr has done with us is based on winning championships and getting that belief structure."
2017-18 QUICK HITS
• The Dukes are in their first season under Keith Dambrot, who was introduced as the program's 17th head coach on March 30. Dambrot, whose father, Sid, played for three Top 10 (AP) Duquesne teams in the early 1950's, spent the past 13 seasons at Akron, where he led the Zips to a 305-139 record (23.5 wins per season) including 10 postseason appearances (3 NCAA, 5 NIT, 1 CBI & 1 CIT). At the time of Dambrot's departure, Akron, Duke, Gonzaga and Kansas were the only schools to post 21 or more wins in each of the past 12 seasons.
• Duquesne returns two starters - 6-1 So. G Mike Lewis II (14.1, 2.3, 63 3-pointers) and 6-2 Jr. G Tarin Smith (8.6, 3.5) from last year's 10-22 (3-15, 14th in Atlantic 10) team.
• DU's other returnees include: 6-2 Gr. G Rene Castro-Caneddy (7.1, 1.5 in 29 games), 6-6, Sr., F Eric James (2.3, 2.2 in 27 games) and 6-8 Gr. C Jordan Robinson (3.7, 2.9 in 18 games). Six-five So., F Kellon Taylor (1.2, 0.5 in 12), who doubles as a receiver for DU's FCS football team, is also back. Caleb Davis and Zach Snyder will be returning as well.
• The Dukes will look toward five newcomers to help replace 52.3 percent of the scoring, 53.6 percent of the minutes and 67.1 percent of the team's rebounds gone from last year's team.
• Dambrot added a five-man, April/May-assembled recruiting class consisting of 6-8 Fr. F Nicholas Kratholm (Louisville, Ky.), 6-9 Jr. F Marko Krivacevic (Szombathely, Hungary/Miami Dade College), 6-8 Fr. F Tydus Verhoeven (Manteca, Calif.), 6-5 Fr. G Eric Williams Jr. (New Haven, Mich.) and 6-8 Fr. F Nick Washington (San Juan, Puerto Rico). The five newcomers average just under 6-8 in height.
• DU will compete in 2017-18 with nine scholarship players, as five incoming transfers will be sitting out. The list of transfers includes: 5-8 So. G Tavian Dunn-Martin (Akron), 6-4 So. G Frankie Hughes (Missouri), 6-8 So. C Michael Hughes (Akron), 6-4 Jr. G Craig Randall II (Memphis) and 6-5 So. F Marcus Weathers (Miami, Ohio).
• DU's five home-and-home Atlantic 10 opponents have not changed from last season, with the Dukes facing Dayton, Fordham, George Washington, St. Bonaventure and Saint Louis twice as part of the 18-game Atlantic 10 schedule.
6-8 • Duquesne's five newcomers average just under six-foot-eight in height.
7 • Seven of DU's losses last season - including five in Atlantic 10 regular season and championship play - came by three or fewer points.
47.7% • Duquesne returns 47.7 percent of its scoring from last season. Sophomore guard accounts for nearly 42 percent of DU's returning points.
85 • Team-high career games played by senior forward Eric James. Junior guard Tarin Smith (63) is the only other player on the roster with over 60 games played. Smith played in 31 games as a freshman at Nebraska in 2015 and 32 for the Dukes last season.
102nd • 2017-18 marks the 102nd season of Duquesne men's basketball.
157 • Combined career 3-pointers made by Duquesne's returnees. Only five members of the 2017-18 roster have hit a 3-pointer in a Division I game: Mike Lewis II (63), Eric James (38), Rene Castro-Caneddy (34), Tarin Smith (21) and Kellon Taylor (1).
413 • Career wins for Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot. Dambrot posted 305 wins in 13 seasons at Akron.
1,975 • Total points scored by Duquesne's eight returnees. The eight returnees have 92 career starts among them with returning starters Tarin Smith (35) and Mike Lewis II (31) leading the way.