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.