Adam Lindner | Sports Editor
Nov. 12, 2020
Since Keith Dambrot’s hiring in the spring of 2017, Duquesne has exceeded its preseason prognostication each season. At this point, it makes sense for the team to be dismissive of the conference’s annual preseason polls.
On Nov. 10, the Atlantic 10 announced its Preseason Poll for the 2020-21 season, with the Dukes slotted to finish fifth in the league, directly behind Richmond, Saint Louis, Dayton and St. Bonaventure. Additionally, redshirt senior Marcus Weathers and junior guard Sincere Carry were named to the conference’s preseason second and third teams, respectively.
On Wednesday, Dambrot, Weathers and senior center Mike Hughes participated in Duquesne’s portion of the A-10 Media Days, which was held virtually via RingCentral.
The trio dished on a number of topics, including the team’s preseason ranking, its schedule for the upcoming season and an update on the UPMC Chuck Cooper Fieldhouse.
Below are selected responses from the team’s virtual session with media members.
Question for Dambrot: Provide a brief synopsis of the team.
Answer: I feel like we have a pretty good dynamic in that we have seven or eight guys that have played a lot of basketball for us and have been in a lot of big games — they have proved they can be good players in this league. And then we have some talented young guys that unfortunately haven’t had the full college experience both as students and as athletes. We’re just trying to catch them up and get them ready for college basketball.
Question for Dambrot: Are you going to Indianapolis for another bubble before you go to Louisville?
Answer: We are. We’re not totally sure who we’re gonna play, other than we are gonna play Cincinnati there. Loyola-Chicago is the other team, and they haven’t named a fourth team yet — so if they don’t get a fourth team, we’ll play Loyola and we’ll play Cincinnati. And if they get the fourth team, then we’ll see who else we’ll play besides Cincinnati. … We’re still working on our schedule, which is kinda crazy to say on November the 11th. Again, that’s the new normal.
Question for Dambrot: Any update on the Cooper Fieldhouse? What do you know about getting in there?
Answer: I really don’t know. … I’ve been told a couple different things — I’ve been told the beginning of January, the middle of January, February. But again, I can’t control that, so I’m not going to worry about it.
Question for Weathers/Hughes: What is the significance of being picked fifth in the A-10 this year?
Weathers: The significance would be having that chip on our shoulder. I think our team is based off being real tough, real gritty, because we’re always not going to be picked top three. To be picked top five — not really disrespect, but we have a lot more to prove.
Question for Weathers/Hughes: What are your thoughts on entering bubble-like settings in Louisville and Indianapolis?
Hughes: I think it’s an exciting thing, but it can be nerve wracking at the same time. It’s exciting to be in the same type of process as the NBA guys, being excluded from the world and basically in your own world — that’s basically what a bubble is. There’s also things that can be concerning; me, being asthmatic myself, it [remains to be seen] how they control those positive tests if there are any. At the same time, we also have to have trust like we do with everything else we do — we have to trust the professionals that they’re going to keep everything safe and do the right thing and that everyone else coming in is gonna do the right thing.