Q&A With Duke’s Court

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Because we here at the MB know very little about Duquesne this year we figured what better way to learn about them than a quick email exchange with one their biggest fans leading up to Thursday night. “The Duke” of Duke’s Court does a fantastic job chronicling the travails of Duquesne basketball. Check out the site HERE for the questions the Duke threw our way and our subsequent answers.

Musketeer Blogosphere: To be frank, I’ve only seen about two minutes of
Duquesne basketball this year. It was early in the
year when y’all barely lost to Pitt. I don’t think
I’m going too far out on a limb here when I say most
Muskie fans have not seen the Dukes play one second
this year. We here at the MB know Duquesne loves to
play at a very fast pace and that’s about it.
Describe this year’s Dukes team and how you think
Duquesne will go about attacking Xavier’s great
defense?

Duke’s Court: Running and gunning. The Dukes love to run and aren’t afraid to take
quick shots when they present themselves. When the quick open shot
isn’t an option the Dukes like to look inside for either Shawn James or
Kieron Achara in the post. The Dukes also create a lot of their offense
with their pressing defense. The Dukes are at their best when they are
creating turnovers and scoring off of those turnovers.

MB: Xavier has gotten a lot of pub for how balanced their
offensive output has been this season. However,
taking a quick look at Duquesne’s season stats shows a
very balanced attack as well. What has been the key
to this kind of balance?

DC: First and foremost the Dukes have a number of talented offensive
players, (Kojo Mensah, Reggie Jackson, Gary Tucker, Shawn James, Kieron
Achara, etc). Shawn James is normally the Dukes’ primary scoring
option, but if he is having an off night one of his teammates has been
able to step up and fill the scoring void. James had a tough game
against Richmond on Saturday and no one stepped up and replaced his
points resulting in a disappointing home conference loss.

MB: Who are the perimeter threats X fans should know about
before Thursday night?

DC: Freshman Bill Clark was dubbed as the 3 point shooting threat the Dukes
wanted when he was recruited last year but he has proven to be streaky
this year. He played a fantastic 2nd half against Richmond on Saturday
and Xavier fans can only hope he cools off Thursday night. Reggie
Jackson and Gary Tucker can knock down an open 3 when given the
opportunity and oddly enough both of Duquesne’s big men, James and
Achara, are known to take the occasional 3 and make it. Shawn James hit
back to back 3’s in the final minutes against Dayton last week to help
seal the upset.

MB: Stanley Burrell has been our lock-down defender this
year. Who do you anticipate him guarding on the
perimeter?

DC: The Dukes rotate in a number of talented guards but I would be most
fearful of Kojo Mensah. Mensah is a scoring point guard who is capable
of driving and putting up a shot in traffic as well as making a nice
pass inside to his best friend Shawn James.

MB: Shawn James is one of the best shot blockers in the
country. Talk about the impact he has had on the
Dukes recent success.

DC: Shawn James is a once in a decade kind of player. James has the ability
to take over a game with his shot blocking ability on the defensive end
of the floor. Opposing teams have to game plan around avoiding James
inside. I have literally seen opposing guards drive in for an open look
in the paint, see James out of the corner of their eye, and then simply
turn around and dribble back outside; James has that kind of presence
inside. Some players have decided to challenge James inside, and they
end up getting blocked more often than not.

MB: When A-10 teams start having success inevitably there
is talk of other schools coming in to woo the coach
away. The Xavier message boards are already ripe with
speculation of “bigger schools” wanting Sean Miller.
If Duquesne continues to have this kind of success how
long do you think the higher ups at Duquesne be able
to keep Coach Everhart in Pittsburgh?

DC: This is a question that Duquesne fans don’t like talking about. There
has been some speculation that Ron Everhart may be courted for the open
LSU job this off-season, but personally I think he will be back at
Duquesne next season. If Duquesne has another successful season next
year it could be Everhart’s last year on the Bluff.

Thanks for the great answers Duke! Looking forward to the game!

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