Saturday, January 5, 2008

Duquesne football player Bruce Hocker invited to the Hula Bowl

#4 Hocker holds the Duquesne career reception record with 162


Congrats Bruce, and good luck.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Deandre Kane Update

Well it looks like Deandre Kane isn't coming to Duquesne. Kane had given a verbal commitment to Duquesne last summer but did not sign a letter of intent during the early signing period. Kane is having a phenomenal senior season at Pittsburgh's Schenley high school and leads all scorers in southwestern PA with 31.4ppg. Kane is now receiving interest from Wisconsin, Georgia Tech and Pitt. Kane has not yet scored high enough on his SATs to be eligible next season.

Kane sounds like a guard with a lot of talent, (especially considering the calibre of schools who are now showing interest in Kane), and I always love it when local kids come to Duquesne. Its a shame the Dukes are missing out on Kane. The only thing that doesn't make this as hard is that the Dukes already have signed 2 talented guards Johnny Higgins and Eric Evans.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Atmosphere at the Palumbo Center

Now that Duquesne is 10-3 and looking like a legit Division I basketball program it is time to evaluate the A.J. Palumbo Center on game day. In my opinion the atmosphere needs to be improved.

My suggestions:

  • The pep band needs an overhaul. The band needs to be in a more prominent position in the Palumbo Center, not tucked way up high where it is now. The band needs to be bigger, wear uniforms or have a uniform dress code, and to play set music every game that fans can come to know and cheer for.

  • I'll admit the cheerleaders have improved the last few years, but there are still improvements that need to be made. The size of the cheerleading squad is inconsistent, some games there too many cheerleaders, and other games there are too few. There are not enough cheerleaders who can do actual gymnastics and/or tumbling. In my mind there are three necessities for being a cheerleader 1. gymnastic skills, 2. attractiveness and 3. a fit body. I know it sounds bad, but part of being a cheerleader is being attractive and in great shape. We seem to have only a handful of cheerleaders who can do any tumbling. We actually have a good percentage of attractive cheerleaders who are in great shape this year, but in my mind all of our cheerleaders should fit this description, not just some.

  • There should be more concession stands, and the concession stands need to have better food. I don't expect gourmet food, but the nacho cheese comes in a little plastic thing with a seal on the top. This is something that likely won't change until the Dukes get a new gym and I understand that. Last year there were a few extra concession tables to offset the full concession stands and those need to be brought back until a new gym is built.

  • I was very happy that the Dukes added the extra location for sale of Duquesne paraphernalia near the 2nd level of the general admission section. Many people have complained that they do not have enough of a selection or that they run out of certain items, sweatshirts in particular. The location also creates a traffic jam for people sitting in the general admission section as well. This is the type of problem that can't really be solved until a new arena is built but the stand should at least have an ample supply of the few items they do sell.

  • Our ushers need to act more professionally. The ushers now are sub par, it seems like most of the ushers are grubby college kids who have not taken any time to look remotely professional, at the very least I expect an usher to have clean combed hair. Most of the time the ushers don't greet you when you enter the Palumbo Center or ask if you need help finding your seat.

  • The pictures in the front section of the Palumbo Center need to be updated, (I actually think there is a picture of Ron Dokes.) Duquesne should put up pictures of some noteworthy recent players: Bryant McAllister, Mike James, Beth Friday, and Korie Hlede would be my top choices. Underneath each picture should be an update on what each of these former Dukes are not doing, James plays in the NBA, McAllister is playing professional basketball in Germany, Hlede spent several successful seasons in the WNBA, etc. Duquesne should be proud of its former star athletes and that should show in their gym. A group of pictures of players who have had their numbers retired would be nice addition as well, in addition to information about each of those players accomplishments at Duquesne and the remainder of their basketball careers.

  • The students have been doing a decent job of attending Duquesne games this season and I hope this continues. Duquesne needs some way of filling those seats during the winter break however. In years past the Dukes have given away blocks of tickets to groups to help fill up the Palumbo Center. Something has to be done to fill the arena during winter break when Ron Everhart is putting such a strong team on the floor. When the team was bad I didn't mind that the gym was empty, but now that the the team is good the athletic department needs to do whatever is necessary to get people to the games, especially during winter break.

It may seem like I am nitpicking, but if we want to a be a top calibre basketball program these are the things that need to be improved until we can build a new arena.

Who would win today Pitt or Duquesne?

Earlier this season Pitt and Duquesne met in one of the most exciting versions of The City Game in recent memory. Pitt won by 5, and was in my mind the better team, but the Dukes fought hard and made it a very tough close game.

Since the Dukes and Pitt played Pitt has lost two of its key starters to injuries. SF Mike Cook is done for the season and his career at Pitt is now over. PG Levance "Taser" Fields will be out 8-12 weeks with a fractured foot. Pitt is down to 9 scholarship players because of the injury to freshman Austin Wallace who fractured the patella in one knee in practice earlier this month.

I am not a Pitt fan but seeing this picture was painful.

Why I like the Dukes in a rematch:

  • While Pitt is ravaged with injuries the Dukes are healthy. Shawn James is banged up a little bit, and Damian Saunders missed some time with an ankle injury, but all in all the Dukes are fairly healthy and both of those players are on the floor making significant contributions.

  • On top of being healthy 2 of the Dukes key contributors are freshman Damian Saunders and Bill Clark who are getting better with every game they play.

  • The Dukes are also meshing and becoming more of a team with every game. A big part of Pitt's success is having a tight knit team, and having players develop chemistry over their entire careers in the Pitt program. Duquesne doesn't have the type of chemistry that Pitt does, at least not yet, but with every game the Dukes play together they are learning to play better together and learning each other's tendencies.

  • The Dukes are a more confident team today than they were back on December 5th when they faced Pitt. The Dukes are 4-1 since their loss to Pitt and their continued success has breed the kind of confidence Duquesne needs when playing teams like Pitt.

Considering the Panthers started the game against Duquesne with a 14-0 run, and the Dukes were able to claw back, eventually losing by 5, I would like the Dukes chances in a rematch if the two teams played today.

The Non-Conference Schedule - A Look Back

The Dukes are 10-3 going into A10 play next Wednesday against Fordham.

It's time to take a look back at the first 13 games and make some observations.

This might seem obvious now but before the season it was unknown how Shawn James and Kojo Mensah would fit in at Duquesne. James and Mensah have been leaders for the Dukes so far this season and a big part of why the Dukes are 10-3.

Mensah and James last year at practice post shooting. Look at how trim both of them are.

Damian Saunders has made me forget Robert Mitchell. Saunders has already been named A10 rookie of the week 3 times and has been a force on the defensive side of the ball. Imagine how good the Dukes could be if we brought in at least one recruit of Saunders calibre every year.

Saunders has thrown down some thunderous dunks this season

Reggie Jackson has taken his game up a notch the last few weeks for the Dukes and is becoming a consistent contributor. When the season started I didn't really worry about Jackson graduating at the end of this year, but now it looks like we will be losing an integral part of the team.

My only advice to Reggie is, whatever you have been doing the last few games, keep doing it.

The other half of the Jacksons, Aaron Jackson, has continued to develop into a phenomenal combo guard for this Dukes in his junior year. Jackson does all the little things that every team needs to win: he plays tough D, averages around 10 points a game, has more assists than turnovers, and is a good rebounder for a player his size. Jackson has been seeing a lot of playing time since he arrived at Duquesne a few years back and it has been great to see his game develop and improve each season he has been with the program.

When are other teams going to realize that Aaron loves to go backdoor?

Freshman Bill Clark looks like a player who is going to be a significant contributor for the Dukes. Going into last night's game against Bowling Green Clark was hitting 39% of his 3 pointers. Clark isn't one dimensional, he also hustles and plays tough D and he has been doing this while playing banged up since he suffered a mild concussion against WVU.

The Dukes 3 loses have come at the hands of 2 top 25 teams, Pitt and WVU, and a (10-1) Drake team that is threatening to break into the Top 25. Duquesne has already equaled their win total from last season and the A10 schedule hasn't even started yet. What is even more encouraging is that the Dukes will only be losing 1 of their top 5 scorers for next years squad.

The Dukes will start A10 play against a talented but underachieving Fordham squad next Wednesday at the AJ Palumbo Center. Fordham is a team the Dukes should beat, but it won't be easy. A win against Fordham is a necessity in my mind especially due to the difficulty of the remainder of the A10 schedule with games against powerhouses like Rhode Island, Dayton, and Xavier.

All in all, I couldn't be happier with the Dukes 10-3 start.
I'd like to tip my cap to Ron Everhart and his staff.

10-3 The Day After

Game Wrap Up Duquesne website
Trib Wrap Up
PG Wrap Up

I guess there were different interpretations of this game.

Duquesne's headline: "Dukes Lead Wire to Wire, Rout Falcons 96-78"
Trib headline: "Duquesne's depth prevails in win over Bowling Green"
PG headline: "Late run saves Dukes on road"

I would most agree with the Trib's headline, the bench was important last night. The PG was way off base, I simply do not agree with the usage of "saves" in the headline.


Congrats to the Lady Dukes who also won last night, defeating Niagara 67-48

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Duquesne defeats Bowling Green 96-78

Box Score

Duquesne is now 10-3 going into conference play.
Duquesne only won 10 games all of last season.

Live Blogging the 2nd half - Bowling Green

Bowling Green played 4 different players 15 minutes or more in the 1st half. That doesn't bode well for BG.

BG continue their run scoring the first bucket of the 2nd half, making it a 10-0 run.

so much for that run, Tucker with a 3.

Reggie Jackson drops a 3. Gotta love Reggie lately.

RE going with the 2 platoon system in the 2nd half including a 2nd half apperance from David Theis.
42-36 Dukes

Chris Knight, BG's star, just was called for his 3rd foul and left the game with an injury, we dont know how serious it is.

44-38 - Knight back into the game for BG

46-38 Dukes - David Theis with 2 more points

BG has 6 team fouls with 14:40 to go in the 2nd half.

48-44 Dukes - 5 unanswered by BG

57 -44 Dukes - 7 point run by the Dukes
Kieron Achara with 4 blocks thus far
Saunders with an alleyoop assisted by Reggie Jackson

61-49 Dukes -
RE has used the 2 platoon the entire 2nd half. no sign of Fayne in the 2nd half, Theis seems to have stolen his minutes

Saunders is turning it on in the 2nd half.

62-56 Dukes - 9 minutes left - BG on a big run, Theis picks up his 4th foul. What's the deal he always gets in foul trouble.

64-60 Dukes - Brian Moten is turning it on in the 2nd half for BG, he now has 8 points, all in the 2nd half. This is getting scary.

71-63 Dukes - 6 minutes left - Damian Saunders is playing crazy good defense as always.
Reggie Jackson already has a season high tonight with 15

76-65 Dukes - 4 minutes left - Duquesne is now playing a 2-3 zone, yes the Dukes are playing a zone.

78-67 Dukes - 3 minutes left
RE has given up on the 2 platoon system
BG 18-29 from the free throw line

80-70 Dukes - 2 minutes left - Reggie Jackson with 17 points

86-76 Dukes - 1 minute left - Reggie Jackson with 19 points tonight - lots of fouling to end this one

GVB just quoted Star Trek during the radio broadcast, "Resistance is futile."

96-78 Final - Duquesne defeats Bowling Green

Reggie Jackson with 19 points a season high
Kojo with 18 points
Aaron Jackson and Achara with 12 each

Duquesne is now 10-3 and has equaled their win total from last season

Box Score

Dukes lead Bowling Green 36-32 at the half

Bowling Green went on a 8-0 run to end the first half.

Kojo Mensah leads all Dukes with 11 points in the first half.

Otis Polk leads Bowling Green with 11 points. Polk also has 3 offensive boards.

Player spotlight star Joe Jakubowski started and scored 7 points, dished 3 assists, while shooting a perfect 2-2 from the field and 3-3 from the charity stripe.

Bowling Green turned the ball over 14 times with only 6 assists.


Dukes assistant coach Bill Barton spoke very highly of Duquesne recruits Higgins and Eric Evans during the half time show. Barton also has a wicked New England accent.

The Dukes get some love from Basketball Prospectus


thanks to Lance from the Dukes Forum who found this article

Player Spotlight - Joe Jakubowski - Bowling Green

He may look 12 years old but Joe can play

Meet Joe Jakubowski:

  • Joe is a 6'2 true freshman
  • That last name just screams for some childhood teasing
  • Joe looks like he is about 12 years old in the picture to the right however
  • Joe has started 3 games and seen action in every BG game this season
  • Joe is 2nd on the team in assists per game with 2.7
  • Joe sports a 3-2 assist to turnover ratio
Jakubowski ended the game against Duquesne with:
10 points
7 assists
5 turnovers
36 minutes played

Links Galore!

Game Preview from Duquesne
Game Preview from the Trib
The PG's Phil Axelrod explains RE's new 8 man rotation
The PG tells us about the new tough A10

No matter what happens tonight I have a feeling Reggie will play a big part in tonight's game

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

(9-3) Dukes travel to (5-6) Bowling Green Wednesday

Game Notes
Bowling Green Men's Basketball Site

  • With a win against Bowling Green the Dukes will equal their win total from last season.
  • Duquesne and Bowling Green share one common opponent this season, Oakland. The Dukes defeated Oakland at home 92-77, Bowling Green lost at Oakland 90-80
  • Only one team has scored more than 72 points against Bowling Green this season.
  • The Dukes are 9-1 this season when they score 70 points or more

Bowling Green is led by 6'4 Jr. Nate Miller - 13.4ppg - 6.3rpg - 19 steals

Happy New Year from Dukes Court

At 9-3 the Dukes have a lot to celebrate

Monday, December 31, 2007

Welcome Back Bill Clark

Bill Clark finally broke out of the funk he had been in for the past several games with a double double against South Carlina Upstate. Clark had 13 points, including four 3 pointers and 10 rebounds. Clark, who is known for his 3 point shooting, had been struggling to find his shot lately. Clark's turnaround game could not come have come at a better time for the Dukes who will certainly need his shooting touch when they face Bowling Green on the road on Wednesday and start A10 conference play next week against Fordham.

Top 5 Pittsburgh Sports Radio Personalities

#5 - Guy Junker

While not a fan of the Junker and Crow show, I do like Guy Junker, the Pittsburgh sports radio vet. My biggest complaint about Junker is that he adapts his style to whomever he is working with. When Junker is alongside his regular partner Eddy Crow, he is tolerable. But when Crow has a day off and someone like Stan Savran joins him, Junker is enjoyable to listen to.

#4 - Joe Starkey

Starkey writes for the Trib and has a regular show Saturday morning on ESPN Radio 1250. I don't have much to say about Joe other than I enjoy his show, he has unique and well-informed opinions, and he does a nice job with his guests. Starkey would be higher, but there just isn't anything that exciting about him, but there isn't much that separates him from other sports radio hosts.

#3 - Stan Savran

Good Old Stan. It takes a great broadcaster to become popular in Pittsburgh when you are from Cleveland and admit to it on the air. Stan was miscast as the drive-time anchor on Fox Sports 970, where he was placed against Mark Madden. Stan is a great sports radio personality but he just wasn't the right person to go up against Madden, and frankly no one seems to be able to kick him off his pedestal. It's to bad that Stan isn't on the air that much anymore, he could do a lot more for ESPN Radio 1250.

I was considering leaving Stan off the list altogether because he no longer has a regular show (he is actually just a fill in host) but I felt he still was one of the better sports radio personalities in Pittsburgh.


Am I the only one who still finds it weird to hear Stan and Madden on the air together during the Steelers post game show?

#2 - Rocco DeMaro

Finally some young blood on the Pittsburgh sports radio scene. Rocco is best known for doing Pirates post game on their flagship station 104.7 FM. He also has a Saturday sports talk show from 1-4 pm. Rocco is simply hilarious, and is somehow able to continue being funny day in and day out while doing 162 Buccos post game shows. Rocco is a huge Pirates fan, but is still able to call out the Buccos faults and mistakes, which are plentiful. Rocoo's combination of humor and sports knowledge is impressive. Pittsburgh sports radio needs more broadcasters like Rocco DeMaro.

#1 - Mark Madden

I hate to name Mark Madden as the #1 Sports Radio personality in Pittsburgh but I had to be honest with myself, the guy is #1 and has been for many years. He may be vulgar and frustrating, but who is better?


Madden frustrates me as a listener. He can be extremely funny - and is fantastic when he has guests on the air - but at other times he is so annoying I would rather sit in my car in silence than listen to him. All of that being said, I must admit that I can only think of one person who could knock Madden off his perch as the #1 rated sports talk show in Pittsburgh: himself. During Madden's career, his comments have infuriated ESPN Radio 1250 management so much that they have threatened to fire him several times. I doubt Madden will ever be fired as long as he continues to be such a money maker for ESPN Radio 1250. If there is one thing I learned in my brief foray into the radio business it is that money is the bottom line.

The first time I heard Madden, he was doing intermission reports for the Pens games on the radio. He was hilarious and knowledgeable. I remember him frequently making fun of Roman Oksuta a horrible player who spent seven games with the Pens in the 96-97 season.

  • Pros:
    I love it when Madden drops his act and just talks like a regular person. I once heard him talk about how he developed and decided upon his on-air style. Basically, he admitted to copying Ric Flair. Flair is hated by his audiences, but people can't turn away from him when he is in the ring. Madden is similar to Flair in that he berates his callers much like Flair berates the fans and his opponents in the ring.
  • As I already mentioned he is great with guests. He asks good questions and most importantly when he has a guest on the air he lets them do most of the talking.
  • Madden is funny and he makes great movie references.
  • He never allows a caller to ramble on.
  • Cons:
    I hate when he just tears up dumb callers. I simply do not find this enjoyable. I understand that it is all a part of the Madden act, but if I wanted to hear dumb people be made fun of I would go back to my grade school cafeteria.
  • I am also annoyed by his outright hatred of the Steelers and their fans. I understand where he is coming from; yinzer Steelers fans are awful and give the Steeler Nation a bad name. The thing is there are many Steelers fans out there who are rational, they just don't happen to call into sports talk shows and are generally less vocal than the yinzer Steelers fans.


CapitolMAN from The Darn News contributed to this post.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Damian Saunders Named A10 Rookie of the Week Again

This is the 3rd time Saunders has been named rookie of the week and conference play hasn't even started yet. Robert Mitchell holds the Duquesne record for most times being named A10 rookie of the week with 5.

Dukes vs. South Carolina Upstate Liveblog

4-3 - Shawn James scored the Dukes first points with a 3.

10-3 South Carolina Upstate leads, not good

Duquesne is 1-5 from the field so far

13-5 South Carolina leads with 15:07 to go. Wake up Duquesne

15-9 USCU leads - Shawn James now has 2 fouls

17-11 USCU maintains the lead

Nice run for the Dukes they take the lead 18-17
Shawn James already has committed 3 turnovers and has 2 fouls.

22-21 Duquesne leads

28-21 Duquesne leads

The Steelers go into half time losing 20-7.
The Charges lead Oakland 14-7

32-21 - The Dukes finally woke up
USCU cannot handle the Dukes defensive pressure.
The Dukes are on a 10-0 run

36-22 - Dukes lead, Shawn James now has 11 points and 1 block and is actually calling for the ball when he is under the hoop.

41-25 - Well this is more of what I expected. Kojo and James are both having nice games.

Duquesne has turned the ball over 9 times so far in the 1st half.

Brailsford hits a LONG 3 pointer at the half time buzzer to make it a 10 Dukes halftime lead.

Halftime score - 41-31

Dukes standouts:
Shawn James: 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal
Kojo Mensah: 10 points, 2 assists, 0 turnovers
Duquesne was 12-13 from the foul line

USCU standouts:
Nick Schneiders: 8 points and 1 rebound

2nd half:
47-31 - James continues his sick play with his 3rd block and 7th rebound

9 point USCU run, Dukes lead cut to 47-41

Steelers now trail 27-7
Chargers lead Oakland 24-10

Binghamton defeated St. Bonaventure 64-59

The Dukes now lead 53-40, being led by James with 14 points and 7 rebounds

Achara caught Schneiders with an elbow causing a bloody nose.

61-50 Duquesne leads, USCU keeps hanging around

63-55 USCU hanging around

Bill Clark has hit 3, 3 point shots and has 10 points so far tonight
Dukes lead 66-55

73-60 Duquesne -- The CSTV Game tracker is frozen, this happens every freaking game!

27-14 Ravens lead the Steelers - The Steelers just recovered an onside kick after a long Santonio Holmes TD pass.

Achara has 12 points and hopefully his performance tonight will help get him out of the funk he has been in the last few games.

80-62 Duquesne leads - Bill Clark just made his 4th 3 pointer.

Schneiders has a career high 13 points for USCU

Shawn James has 18 points tonight for Duquesne
The Dukes lead 82-64

84-66 is the final.
Duquesne is now 9-3
James 20 points 9 rebounds
Bill Clark 13 points 10 rebounds
Mensah 14 points, 2 assists 1 turnover

Box Score

Player Spotlight - Nick Schneiders - South Carolina Upstate

Nick Schneiders easily earns the Player Spotlight for USC Upstate.

Meet Nick Schneiders:
  • Nick is a 7'2 - 240 pound sophomore
  • a native of Rietberg, Germany
  • a fan favorite
  • Nick has started in 10 of USC Upstate's 12 games this season
  • averages 5.4ppg and 5.3rpg
  • leads the team in offensive rebounds with 27

Nick will provide a unique foe for the twin towers of Duquesne Shawn James and Kieron Achara. I am sure James and Achara are not used to playing against larger opponents, I am anxious to see how they react this afternoon.

Dukes host (2-10) South Carolina Upstate

Game Notes

Game time this afternoon is at 5pm. I plan on listening to the game on KQV while watching the Steelers game on mute. South Carolina Upstate is playing their first season in Division I NCAA basketball. The Spartans schedule is ambitious to say the least, here are some of the teams on their schedule this season:

  • at Utah
  • Akron
  • Oregon State
  • at Cincinnati
  • at Wake Forest
  • SMU
  • at UTEP
  • at Iowa State

I guess if you are going to move into DI that is one way to do it.

I like the Dukes big this afternoon. Duquesne is playing at home for the 2nd time in two days coming off a 16 victory over crosstown rival Robert Morris. Hopefully the game this afternoon will give coach Ron Everhart a chance to see some of his reserve players like David Theis in action.