As the 2016-17 season approaches, the Duquesne Duke’s roster continues to change. After star senior guards Micah Mason and Derrick Colter graduated, Duquesne knew it would be tough to replace them. Things became even more difficult for the Dukes when another one of their best players, L.G. Gill decided to transfer to Maryland. With their three best players from last year gone, Duquesne will have to fight hard to survive this season.
Duquesne will have to find other means of scoring this year as their top three scorers from last year are all gone. Mason (18.3 PPG), Colter (17.7 PPG), and Gill (10 PPG) carried the offensive load for the Dukes a season ago. Jeremiah Jones, Duquesne’s fourth leading scorer from last year with 9.6 points per game, will also not be returning as he was a senior. With these great players gone, guys like Eric James, Darius Lewis, and TySean Powell will have to step up and contribute more to the offense.
Besides just the scoring numbers, Duquesne will need to make sure they keep the ball movement up. Senior guards Mason, Colter, and Jones led the team in assists last year. With these guys gone, James and Powell, who both averaged over one assist per game last season, must contribute more.
The bright side for Duquesne is their incoming recruiting. Adding guards Mike Lewis and Spencer Littleson should help with replacing the scoring and assist numbers that Mason and Colter produced. Isiaha Mike, a 6’7″ forward in the 2016-17 class will also help with scoring as he averaged nearly 15 ppg in high school. Mike’s size makes him a prime candidate to fill Gill’s shoes on the glass. If the Dukes want to build off their .500 season last year, these incoming freshman will have to grow up and play well fast.
In all honesty, this season might be a struggle for Duquesne. Replacing arguably your four best players is never easy. If the guys remaining from last year’s team can step up and become leaders, however, the Dukes will have a chance to improve. They have a solid recruiting class coming in and the more experience the freshmen get the better they will become. Duquesne will have big shoes to fill, but as A-10 fans lets hope the Dukes can improve off their 16-16 record and CBI tournament appearance.