Saúl Berríos-Thomas | Layout Editor
The beginning of the Duquesne men’s basketball season has been a roller coaster of emotions for fans. Coach Jim Ferry urged fans to remain patient and have faith that he knows what he is doing.
“You can’t rush maturity and you can’t rush experience,” he said.
The strategy Ferry used early in the season was designed to find the best team. He tested the younger players early to see which ones deserved to play in the Atlantic 10. Players like senior forward Dominique McKoy, junior forward Jeremiah Jones and guard Derrick Colter are talented and experienced enough to lead the Dukes through A-10 play.
What he didn’t know was if players like freshman forward TySean Powell, sophomore center Darius Lewis and sophomore forward L.G. Gill could contribute in a meaningful way.
Ferry knows his plan will lead to success if he gets the time.
“I tried to get these young guys as much experience as possible. That is why we were playing so many guys early. That is how they grow. You have to put them into situations that are difficult,” he said.
Ferry’s plan has worked for the Dukes. The team is clicking now and finding its groove. He implemented a new defense, the 2-3 zone. He played around with new roles for players, like Mason at the point guard position. That tinkering prepared them to play against the best in the A-10.
Not only is Ferry playing the right game for right now, he also has his team in a position to reach new heights.
Gill is going to be a very talented wing player. Powell is going to be one of the best power forwards Duquesne has ever seen. His size will allow him to play inside, but his athleticism will separate him. Lewis is developing into an elite center that can dominate the post against anybody.
But, the best player of the bunch may end up being freshman forward Eric James.
He has the talent and body to play any position, while beating and guarding his opponent. He is the future of the program, but right now this team is using the right pieces to put forth the best effort every night in the A-10, while grooming these guys for future years in the A-10.
Are they perfect? No. The zone defense can be beat by good shooters. The interior defense isn’t strong enough to stop opposing big men and talented drivers. They don’t rebound enough. And their free throw shooting will not be good enough. Can they beat the best teams in the A-10? Probably not, but they will battle and they will force teams to play their best.
However, their weak non-conference schedule may just lull opponents into taking them lightly, and if they do, the Dukes will make them pay like they did against Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday night.
This team needs support. Not just because they play hard and are well-coached, but also because the future of this program is brighter than it’s been in years and that future is playing 40 dazzling, high-flying minutes a night right now.