Sam Noel | The Duquesne Duke
Duquesne will host the 2017 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship at the Consol Energy Center, the conference commissioner Bernadette McGlade announced in the offseason.
The home of the Pittsburgh Penguins will be hosting the tournament for the first time in its four-year existence.
Duquesne head coach Jim Ferry highlighted the importance of the tournament coming to Pittsburgh.
“I think it’s great for the city. I think it’s great for the program,” Ferry said. “Consol’s been a great partner with us. It’s our second home across the street. We have our own locker room in there. I think it’s a great venue to host a conference tournament.”
The Dukes have played 13 total times at the Consol Energy Center, which holds 19,100 people for basketball games, around 14,000 more than Duquesne’s home, the Palumbo Center. The team has three games scheduled there this upcoming season, against Virginia Commonwealth, Dayton University and cross-town rival University of Pittsburgh.
The A-10 Championship was held in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, for the past two years and will continue to be held there until 2017. In 2018, the tournament will be played at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. and will return again to Brooklyn in 2019.
Ferry, a New York native, said he enjoys the opportunity to travel to Brooklyn, but was equally excited about DU’s opportunity to host such a high-profile event.
“Brooklyn’s great, especially for me. I love going back and playing in Brooklyn, it puts us in New York at a great stage,” Ferry said. “But I think for that year that we leave Brooklyn to come to Pittsburgh, we couldn’t be any happier.”
Ferry, entering his third season as head coach, also spoke of the benefits to the City of Pittsburgh and the role Consol can play as a recruiting tool.
“I think that once people get out here and see what Pittsburgh has to offer, you know, the hotels, the culture, the theater, the restaurants, the casinos, everything is here,” Ferry said. “I think people are going to want to come back more and more. It’s absolutely helping us with recruiting.”
Recently, the Dukes have struggled in the A-10 tournament. They have not advanced past the first round since the 2010-11 season and haven’t reached the championship since 2009. The Dukes have yet to win the tournament since its inception in 1977, which is also the last time they reached the NCAA tournament.
Ferry hopes his team will end the drought and be in good form when the tournament comes to Pittsburgh in 2017. He will also be hoping that the Dukes 3-10 record at Consol will change when the tournament arrives in three years.
“Hopefully we’ll have our team really reaching our peak at that point,” Ferry said.
Coach Ferry also talked about what it will take for his team to be successful this season and in upcoming seasons.
“For us to reach our potential and be a good team in the Atlantic 10, we have to defend and rebound better than we did last year,” Ferry said. “I think it’s the defensive side where we have to really tighten things up.”
“We’ve made some adjustments defensively on how we guard certain things, and I think it’s helping the team,” Ferry said.
The Dukes posted a 13-17 record last year, losing to the Richmond Spiders 76-64 in the first round of the A-10 tournament.
Along with hosting the A-10 tournament in three years, Duquesne and Consol Energy Center will host the second and third rounds of the NCAA tournament in 2015 for the NCAA’s annual March Madness.