A look at the 2013-14 Duquesne Dukes for men’s basketball

Aaron Warnick | Photo Editor

Addie Smith | Sports Editor

Claire Murray | The Duquesne Duke
Claire Murray | The Duquesne Duke

Last year the Duquesne men’s basketball team finished 8-22 overall and 1-15 in the Atlantic-10 conference. Now, the Dukes are out to prove that their transition to an elite basketball program is going smoothly and that their roster has what it takes to advance the program.

“It’s been a major transition,” Ferry said. “[We have] eight new scholarship players – nine counting Ovie Soko who sat out last year. It’s an exciting time right now. I think [last season] is something that happened but needed to happen to transition.”

The Dukes will be welcoming back only three scholarship players: Jerry Jones, Jeremiah Jones and Derrick Colter. The Red & Blue lost nine scholarship players overall last season; two to graduation, one to the Duquesne men’s soccer team and the other six to transfers. They also lost junior walk on Sam Bott due to an internship conflict.

So even though the men’s basketball team considers last year a major part of their transition, this year will have a transitional focus as well as they work on training transfers and new recruits to excel in college basketball.

However, the main focus of this season will not only rest on the new players, but the three returnees as well with many eyes on Derrick Colter to see if he experiences a sophomore slump.

Colter was named to the 2012-13 All-Rookie Team for the A-10 and was Rookie of the Week thretimes. He filled in a gap that was left wide-open by point guard T.J. McConnell, who transferred to Arizona with his ball moving skills and overall strength in the position. Colter was the only Duke to start all 30 regular season games for the team.

Colter will be joined by fellow sophomore Jeremiah Jones, who saw time in all 30 games last season and started 22 games.

For the Dukes it’s going to be about cohesion between the strength retained from last season and the eight new Ferry recruits.

However, it’s not about individuals in this basketball program, it’s about the team as a whole and the strength they can have together.

“Personally, we all strive to be as good as we can be just to help the team,” Jeremiah Jones said. “It’s more about team goals for us: we want to be the best at what we do, we want to win every game. That’s the object, to win every game … It’s just going to take hard work and dedication and being a team, being a unit to reach those goals.”

Newcomer, senior transfer Ovie Soko expanded on this by saying that the team came together on their own, not by the means of others.

“I think the best thing about our team chemistry is that it wasn’t forced,” Soko said. “It just came naturally. Everyone just generally enjoyed being around each other and I think that’s probably the most important thing when it comes to chemistry, that you can’t really force chemistry upon any big group of people. Each person has to want to be involved.”

So this season, look for Duquesne men’s basketball to shock and show that chemistry and a little bit of a face lift can make a great basketball program.

Well, maybe not great quite yet, but one day these Dukes could be the elite squad that Duquesne students will want to see.