Julian Routh | News Editor
To get fans excited for the upcoming Duquesne basketball season, the athletic department brought the third annual Dukes Caravan to Market Square Tuesday afternoon.
Under sunny Pittsburgh skies, the event brought the community together with members of the Duquesne men’s and women’s basketball teams to shoot hoops and win prizes. Fans could also buy tickets and take photos with the Duquesne Duke mascot and cheerleaders.
The Caravan is one of the department’s largest public branding events before the season starts, assistant director of marketing and promotions Nicole Bucholtz said.
”It’s a very easygoing, fun event,” Bucholtz said. “We can give away stuff and get information into the hands of the public.”
This year’s event was held in a different location than the past two. In 2011, the Caravan was at South Hills Village in Bethel Park, and last year, it traveled to Ross Park Mall in Ross Township.
Bucholtz said they decided to bring the event to Market Square because the area is “becoming so big over the lunch hour.”
”It just seemed like a perfect fit to try to get in front of some of our Duquesne alumni who work down there,” Bucholtz said.
Players and coaches from the women’s team arrived when the event started at 11:30 a.m. Head coach Dan Burt said the Caravan gives his players a chance to “get some sun” after practicing all offseason.
”For people in the community, especially the downtown community, they can see what our schedules are and interact with some of our players and our coaches,” Burt said.
Senior forward Wumi Agunbiade, who led the team with 13.2 points per game last season, said she “likes that [the Caravan] is downtown and closer to Duquesne,” rather than at a mall.
”It’s a great time for us to get engaged with our fans,” Agunbiade said. “We can talk to them and hopefully get them out to our games.”
On the men’s side, sophomores Derrick Colter, Jeremiah Jones and Nick Foschia grabbed rebounds under the hoop that was set up so fans could shoot.
”What I like about the Caravan is that we get to interact with more of the downtown crowd and it gets a chance for the fans to be more excited about this upcoming season,” Foschia said.
Representatives from ESPN Radio 970, Trib Total Media and Eat n’ Park were also in attendance.
The first chance to see the women’s team in action this season is Nov. 1, when they take on Davis and Elkens in exhibition games. The men begin their 2013 campaign the following afternoon at home against Clarion.