Monday, March 10, 2008

I'm back, kind of...

Sorry for the lack of posts the last week or so. I spent most of last week in bed with a horrible cold, and then this weekend I was in Allentown PA for my fiance's surprise bridal shower. I am back in Pittsburgh this week the worst of my cold seems to be over, now it is time to focus on the Dukes.

Duquesne crushed Saint Louis on Saturday night behind a stellar performance from Kieron Achara who was playing his last home game at Duquesne. I was so happy to hear about Kieron's strong showing on Saturday. Kieron has been a wonderful part of the Duquesne basketball program. In addition to being a strong contributor to the Dukes on the floor Achara has been the kind of stand up young man that every program and school needs. Achara has also excelled in the classroom during his time at Duquesne, he has received numerous awards and recognitions during his time at Duquesne for his academic record.

Kieron is going to pursue a professional basketball career when he leaves Duquesne after this year. Kieron has always been a favorite of mine and I wish him the best next year.

It was announced this morning that for the second consecutive season, Kieron Achara of Duquesne garnered Student-Athlete of the Year honors in voting among the Atlantic 10's sports information directors.

The Dukes did qualify for the A10 tournament and have received what I consider a great draw in terms of how the brackets break down. The 10th seeded Dukes will face the 7th seeded La Salle Explorers in the first round of the A10 Tournament Wednesday night at 6:30pm. La Salle and Duquesne split this year, with the road team winning both games. There is no doubt in my mind that the Dukes are capable of beating La Salle. If the Dukes take out La Salle they will play the #2 seeded Temple Owls on Thursday at 6:30pm. Even though Temple is the 2 seed they are still a team Duquesne is capable of defeating. The Dukes played poorly in their loss to Temple last Wednesday, (the Dukes turned the ball over 19 times and allowed Dionte Christmas to score a season high 37 points), yet they still had a shot to win at the end of the game. The Temple game was also at Temple, a major advantage for the Owls, if these teams played a rematch in the tournament it would be at a neutral site.

The real question is which Duquesne team will show up in Atlantic City, the one that beat St. Joe's and Dayton, or the one that lost to St. Bonaventure, La Salle, and Fordham? Let's hope the first team is the one that shows up at "AC by the sea."


The Atlantic 10 announced their all conference teams today, here are our Dukes:

All-Rookie team:
Damian Saunders

The All-Defensive team:
Shawn James

Student-Athlere of the Year:
Kieron Achara. Achara is the third individual to be twice named the Student-Athlete of the Year in men's basketball, joining Saint Joseph's Bill Phillips (2001-02) and Brian Thornton of Xavier (2005-06).

All-Academic Team:
Kieron Achara (3 time member of hte All-Academic Team)

The big awards:
Xavier's Sean Miller was named A10 Coach of the Year.
UMass's Gary Forbes was named A10 Played of the Year.
Richmond's Kevin Anderson was the A10 Rookie of the Year.
UMass' Ricky Harris was the Chris Daniels Award recipient as the league's most improved player.
Josh Duncan of Xavier was named Sixth Man of the Year.
Stanley Burrell of Xavier was named Defensive Player of the Year.

No Dukes appeared on any of the A10 All Conference teams.

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