Open Practice 8/9

By Steve DiMiceli
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This evening at the AJ Palumbo Center, Ron Everhart and the Dukes held an open practice for season ticket holders ahead of their international tour of Canada. The evening began with Coach Everhart thanking the crowd of a few hundred for attending and giving them an update on the renovations to the locker rooms. He remarked that Duquesne now had the finest facilities of any school where he coached and felt it would positively impact future recruiting.

The Dukes then went into drills. First were full court jogging, jumping and running exercises to warm up. Then came faster pace dribbling drills. My favorite drill came next where Pops Kandoul would hit players with a pad as they were taking lay ups. When players missed lay ups, they did push ups. The team then did 3 point shooting drills where they shot non stop for 3 minutes 30 second and again for 4 minutes and 30 seconds. TJ McConnell may have missed one three in the first round and overall Eric Evans and BJ Montiero also looked good. Andre Marhold and Derrick Martin hit most of their shots a step in from the three point line. They did a couple of defensive drills and then the scrimmages began.

Teams were divided into Blue and White and played 10 minute periods. In the first, Marhold, Evans, Monteiro, Sean Johnson and PJ Torres were on the Blue team against McConnell, Martin Mike Talley, Daniel Herrera and Jerry Jones. Blue came out playing a strong pressure defense that frustrated Talley and TJ for the first few minutes of the game. As a result, Blue jumped out to an early lead on the back of Marhold who got off to a nice start from the free throw line. Torres looked a lot more relaxed and fluid in tonight's game. In the first scrimmage he really showed off his defensive chops, but showed what he could do with the ball in his hands the rest of the night. By the 5 minute mark, the off season conditioning began to show and white came roaring back. Jones really stood out in the final five minutes. With 6 rebounds on the evening, he lead everyone and made some very good passes. The game ended 21-18, Blue.

In the second game, Talley and Jones moved to the blue team with Evans and Torres heading in the other direction. PJ and BJ went crazy in the second game. PJ had 16 and BJ was pretty close to it. Torres scored in a variety of ways including lay ups, 3 pointers and free throws. He looked quick and strong tonight. BJ looked liked  the player we'll need him to be for the Dukes to be successful this year. He could be one of the best scorers in the league. The game had a great ending. White was down by one with Derrick Martin on the line with less than 20 seconds left. He hit the first and missed the second. Herrera grabbed the offensive rebound, missed the put back and Martin hit the follow up, to put his team up by 2. BJ went coast to coast on the inbound pass only to be fouled by Martin. Down two, BJ hit both his free throws to tie. Johnson stole white's attempt to inbound and got the ball to Jones who called timeout. The play set up went to Sean Johnson for a wide open look which he nailed.

Game three saw Marhold and Martin switch sides. TJ, PJ, Herrera and Evans really rained three's in this one. A lot of nice looks, and a lot of great passing. The Blue team made a late push but it was all white team in this one.

Player Summaries (Pts/Rebounds/Assists)

Andre Marhold (8/4/2) - May be taking steps forward and could be the starter is Abele is unable to play. I expect him to play more minutes this year.

Mike Talley - (6/2/5) - Looked his best in transition. Played strong defense.

PJ Torres (25/3/6) - Outstanding today. Light years better than his one appearance in Greentree. Guess we judged a book by it's cover there.

Eric Evans (10/2/1) - Still looks like old Evan. Very fast in drills.

Daniel Herrera (23/3/1) - 7 three's by my count. He knows his spots and sticks too them. When he people seemed to challenge him, he began driving and dishing. Defense needs work.

Jerry Jones (6/6/3) - Vision, check. Rebounding, check. Transtion finishing, check. Defense, check. Half court finishing, Inc. Taking steps.

TJ McConnell (15/1/9) - Great passing. Would've had more assists, but many of his passes found wide open three point looks and simply not all of them will fall.

Derrick Martin (7/4/0) Still very raw

BJ Montiero (38/4/1) Finishing and consistency were better than I've ever seen him. Looked like an all conference player today.

Sean Johnson (24/4/1) Nice rebound from a poor summer league. Great shooting looked comfortable.