Friday, May 9, 2008

I am now covering Duquesne Basketball full time at, I appreciate the support of all of my loyal readers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

2007-08 Season in Review

The Duquesne University website has finally published a 07-08 season in review. The 07-08 season was another step in the right direction for the Duquesne basektball program, there is no doubt about that, but when I think back to the season I always wonder what could have been. The Dukes finished the year 17-13, but sadly they were 1-9 in single-digit games. If the Dukes could have played better in close games they could have easily eclipsed the 20 win mark and had a shot at playing in a post season tournament.

The Duquesne website does refer to Aaron Jackson as Ajax, a nickname that was invented by someone on the Duquesne Voy message board, and a nickname that I am behind 100%
Thinking back on the 07-08 season gets me excited for the 08-09 season. Ron Everhart has the Duquesne program completely turned around and he has a group of talented and exciting players joining the program next year. There are still some big questions to be answered in the off season: Will Shawn James return next year and who else does Ron Everhart plan on making a part of the 2008 recruiting class, (Duquesne still has scholarships to give)? The post season signing period starts this week so hopefully we will have some new signees with the program in the near future. James has until June 16th to withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to Duquesne.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wood to transfer -- Greg Gary leaving Duquesne

Ron Everhart announced that sophomore guard/forward Stephen Wood has received his release from Duquesne University, clearing the way for his transfer to another school. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise to the Duquesne faithful, Wood barely played this year and almost always seemed to be in Everhart's doghouse. Wood was a wasted scholarship last season and Everhart should be able to turn that scholarship into a quality prospect. The only potential negative from all of this is that Wood was a very popular member of the team and I am sure he will be missed by the players next year.


Head men's basketball coach Ron Everhart announced today that assistant coach Greg Gary has resigned to accept the head coach position at Centenary College in Shreveport, La.

"I really want to thank Greg for his effort as an assistant coach," said Everhart. "I was lucky enough to be able to recruit Greg as a player when I was at Tulane and I've closely followed his progress as a coach. He has a tremendous work ethic, is an outstanding teacher and has a great understanding of the game. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be highly successful at Centenary."

Gary, 38, who was recruited as a player to Tulane by Everhart in the early 1990s, was part of the Duquesne staff for one year, during which he helped the Dukes post their first winning season since 1993-94. He has also coached at his alma mater in addition to McNeese State (under Everhart), Miami, Fla. and South Florida.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

NBA Draft not looking good for Shawn James

Will James be back at Duquesne for the 08-09 season?

Shawn James has declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft, but he won't sign with an agent so he will retain the option to return to Duquesne for his senior season. Things don't look good for James' NBA prospects according to two major NBA Draft websites. Draft does not have James listed on their mock draft board for either the 1st or 2nd rounds, and neither does NBA A lot can change between now and the NBA Draft on June 26th but things don't look good for James as of April 9th.

James has until June 16th to withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to Duquesne.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

BigSlacker wins the Dukes Court 2008 NCAA bracket pool

What a weird year for NCAA brackets. I feel weird giving someone praise for picking 4 #1 seeds in their bracket, but that is how it all worked out this year. Kudos to Clark Kellog for picking all of the #1 seeds, getting a ton of crap about it, and then being right in the end. In BigSlacker's defense, he only picked 3 #1 seeds to make it to the Final Four, and he did pick Kansas to win it all. Actually his bracket had all #1 and #2 seeds facing off in the Elite 8 with the exception of him predicting a Pitt upset victory over Memphis. Basically he picked the favorite in almost every game, and the one upset he picked was wrong, yet he still won, like I said, a weird year for NCAA brackets.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Is April the best sports month of the year?

April is a wonderful time to be a sports fan.

  • The Pens are gearing up for a long playoff run
  • Baseball season started (this is a good thing for those of us who are masochistic Pirates fans like myself)
  • The Final Four is a day away
  • The NFL Draft is April 26th
  • April 16th is the beginning of the NCAA Basketball signing period which runs through May 21st, which means we should expect to see Ron Everhart announce the names of some new recruits very soon.
  • The NBA playoffs are later this month, and did I mention I am in first place (by two small points) in my Yahoo NBA fantasy winners league?
What makes this April so exciting is that the Pens look like they have a legit shot at the Stanley Cup. Pens playoff hockey ranks very high on my list of favorite sporting events to watch. I was in heaven earlier this week when I watched the Pens game on Vs. and then flipped to the Pirates game (a game they actually won) on FSN during commercials. The Pirates are actually off to a 2-1 start, and both of those wins were against the hated Atlanta Braves. While I have no delusions about the Pirates cracking .500 this year it is nice to see them take a series in Atlanta. The one drawback to April is that there is no football, but the NFL Draft helps fill the void there. Once hockey and basketball are over it is going to be a long summer of watching the Buccos.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

2008-09 roster very much in flux

Next year's roster is still very much in flux with the future of the 2008 recruiting class up in the air as well as Shawn James' status with the team. Duquesne still has scholarships to give for next season and Ron Everhart and his staff have been traveling the country looking at potential recruits. So far the recruiting class consists of:

Eric Evans
Johnny Higgins
B.J. Monteiro

Shawntez Patterson
Ali Djim

There have been rumors that Djim may go to prep school next year to help improve his game before coming to Duquesne. There have also been rumors that Johnny Higgins will not be coming to Duquesne. I can't say anything about the validity of the Higgins rumor, he seems to have a strong relationship with Everhart and Duquesne assistant coach Bill Barton, if I had to bet, I would bet that Higgins will be in a Duquesne uniform next year.

Shawn James has declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft but has yet to hire an agent. If James doesn't like his NBA prospects he can return to Duquesne for his last year of eligibility. Duquesne fans simply won't know James' status until he makes some sort of formal announcement.

James' status isn't the only one that is up in the air for next year, rumors have been flying about the status of Stephen Wood. Wood played significant minutes as a freshman during the 06-07 season, but he only saw minutes in 07-08 during garbage time. The knock on Wood has been that he doesn't play defense, and Everhart has plenty of other options at the guard position. Don't be shocked if Wood transfers, opening up yet another scholarship for Everhart.

This much we can say for sure: Kieron Achara, Gary Tucker, and Reggie Jackson have all exhausted their NCAA eligibilty and will not be apart of the 08-09 Duquesne squad. Achara, Tucker, and Jackson were significant contributors during the 07-08 season and they will be difficult to replace next year.

I have been covering Duquesne's recruiting efforts at my web page,, and if I can say one thing for sure it is that Everhart and his staff have been keeping tabs on a large number of talented high school and JC prospects.

The 08-09 Duquesne basketball team could look a lot like last year's team if Shawn James and Stephen Wood return, but if James goes pro and Wood transfers the Dukes will feature a large number of new players. Everhart has had no trouble bringing talented players to the Duquesne program and I doubt this off season recruiting period will be any different. We will all just have to wait and see what happens.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

One and done? Shawn James talking about going pro broke the story

James has said that he will test the NBA waters and see how much interest pro scouts have in drafting him before he hires an agent. James can still come back to Duquesne if he does not hire an agent. This shouldn't be much of a shock to Duquesne fans, James is 24 years old, and if pro scouts tell him he has a good shot at being a 1st round draft pick there is no reason for him to come back to Duquesne. 1st round NBA draft picks receive 3 year guaranteed contracts, so being slotted as a 1st round pick would be huge for James. If James isn't being considered as a 1st round pick he should come back to Duquesne to improve his draft stock. James battled shoulder and back injuries most of the 07-08 season and a healthy 08-09 season could help improve his NBA draft stock for the following year's NBA Draft.

What does this mean for Duquesne?

If James leaves the program Duquesne will have no legit post players on their team. Other than James the only other players on Duquesne's roster over 6'7 are little used sophomore David Theis, and walk-on redshirt freshman Brandon Harris. Theis is more of a jump shooter than a post player, and Harris hasn't shown he is a Division I caliber basketball player. Duquesne has not added a player over 6'5 to their roster so far in their 2008 recruiting class, but they still have scholarships to give and are actively looking at some big guys. Check for all Duquesne recruiting news and info.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What to do about the A.J. Palumbo Center?

Now that the 07-08 season is over for the Dukes the focus is on recruiting and other issues for the program. As the Duquesne coaching staff recruits potential prospects they have to sell Duquesne University and the basketball program, and one of the biggest negatives about coming to Duquesne is the A.J. Palumbo Center. The Palumbo is old, (it was built in 1988), small (has a capacity of 5,358), and lacks the amenities of newer arenas in Pittsburgh and at other Atlantic 10 schools. When a recruit has been to Temple's beautiful 10,000 seat Liacouras Center or Pitt's 12,000 seat Petersen Events Center (pictured below) that features five courtside luxury suites, six club suites, six loge suites, 193 supersuite seats, and five building levels the A.J. Palumbo Center looks like a dump. More than half of the seating at the Palumbo Center is still bleacher seating after all.

The question remains, what can/should be done? In my mind there are several options: 1. renovate the existing Palumbo Center, 2. build a new arena, or 3. move some or all of Duquesne's games to the new Penguins arena. Duquesne recently made a large investment in renovating and improving Rooney Field, and Duquesne spent 2 million dollars renovated the Palumbo in 2006 so there is no way a new arena will be built, and it is doubtful Duquesne will put more money into the Palumbo in the near future. The most realistic option in the short term is to play some or all of Duquesne's games at the Penguins new arena.

An artists rendering of the planned Penguins Arena

There are some pros and cons to playing at the Pens new arena.

  • The Pens arena will be a brand new arena used primarily by a pro team with all of the accompanying amenities and luxuries.
  • The Pens arena is extremely close to Duquesne's campus making it easy for students to travel from campus to the facility.

  • The Pens arena will be sold out for every Pens game and tickets to Pens games are extremely expensive. By playing some or all of Duquesne's games at the new arena it will allow sports fans in Pittsburgh an opportunity to see the new facility while also exposing them to Duquesne's basketball program which is on the upswing.


  • The Pens arena has an 18,500 seat capacity. Duquesne can't fill their own 5,300 seat facility, more than 3/4 of the Pens arena would be empty if Duquesne played there.

  • Two years ago Duquesne invested 2 million dollars into renovating the AJ Palumbo Center, why would the University want to move the arena's main attraction, (the basketball team), out of the facility?

This is a difficult spot for Duquesne. I'd love for the Dukes to play at least one home game a season at the Pens new arena, preferably a against a big time opponent. Duquesne needs to make a decision, either make a major commitment to renovating and updating the Palumbo Center or start fund raising and planning for a brand new state of the art facility.