Using the Five Open Scholarships

Now that we know Jim Ferry will be the next coach at Duquesne, I'll take some time to discuss how I think he should approach recruiting and the five open roster spots for the falls incoming class.

Let's start by identifying what we have and what Jim Ferry needs to run his system effectively. Like Ron Everhart, he wants his players to have the ability to play multiple roles, however, he wants his 2's to interchange with his 3's and 4's to interchange with the 5's with a specialized point guard. By contrast, Ron like his 1's and his 2's to switch and his 3's, and 4's and sometimes his 5's to be able to rotate.  Since Ron only played one big guy at a time, he didn't need to have as many player's 6'7'' or bigger on the roster as Ferry will even if he did carry them. Likewise, Ferry will not need to carry as many guys who can play the 1. Below is a chart of how I think Ferry should use his scholarships by position.

Position Needs Has Incoming
4/5 6 4 2
2/3 5.5 3 1.5
1 2.5 1 1.5

While 2 and 3 spots will get the same amount of minutes in the Jim Ferry system as the 4 and 5, I would prefer he dedicate an extra scholarship to the big man given how long they take to develop. Ideally, it would be 2 big guys starting, 2 big guys getting reserve minutes, and 2 big guys developing. I also think it's better to have more depth down low do to increased injury concerns. The ".5 player" is an emergency point guard who could also play the 2.  Think Jesse Morgan from UMass, Matthew Wright from St Bona or even Sean Johnson

So now for a game plan. Like most fans, I'd like to see Ferry make a strong push to keep Donovan Jack and return Willie Moore to the fold. This should be the first place he turns to in my opinion. Honestly, I think he has a very good shot at both since the reasons they picked Duquesne aside from the coaching staff have not changed. Moore picked Duquesne because he wanted contribute at a level early in his career and he'd be in a position to get even more playing time now than he would have when he committed. Jack favored Everhart's up tempo system and I think Ferry's suits him even better. In watching film of Jack, he drew contact well and went to the line. Drawing fouls is a big part of Ferry's offense and Jack can do that. If he can't keep either of those guys, I'd still like to see them replaced with 4 year players at the same position.

One thing we need to keep in mind is that this is an an extraordinarily deep transfer year and the market is not already completely picked over like it is for prep players. I would hope that Ferry manages to take advantage.

Should Moore and Jack commit, Willie would fill the ".5" role and Jack would be a 4/5, there would be one scholarship remaining at each position. At the point, I think you need some experience. I'd like to Ferry go after a junior college player or a grad transfer. I think Torres can handle the the back up role and might even be able to start. However, someone else is needed to play immediately and I would prefer a player with experience. Terrence Jones of Texas A + M Corpus Christie is one of many who make sense as one year transfer, and there are a number of players like him out there.

The 2/3 is the only place on the floor where the starting tandem is obvious in my opinion. Sean Johnson and Jerry Jones should start and Kadeem Pantophlet should get minutes off the bench. For the fourth player at the 2/3, minutes will be hard to come by. I would use the 2/3 opening on a 4 year freshman with the intention of red shirting them (yes, that might happen now)  or a 3 year transfer. Jaqwan Raymond of NC St who just announced he would transfer today would fit the bill perfectly although I have no idea what his recruiting situation will look like.

At the 4/5, I don't think the Dukes need to add two 4 year players. Again a grad transfer may be what the doctor ordered. Jared Swopeshire of Louisville was rumored to be on his way to Duquesne before Everhart was fired and I still think he would be a great one year solution.  Adding two grad transfers this spring would help boost the team next year while balancing out the scholarships we have available. It's a better alternative to simply holding a scholarship open which in turn could be better than reaching on a 4 year or even JUCO player just to use it.

I'll elaborate on this point later, but the good news for Ferry is that he doesn't need to start over from scratch and completely re-establish the Duquesne program coming in. Even if some of the returning players leave, he'll have more than two to build around. The school will have a stronger reputation to recruit on than when Everhart took over. I've said it before and I'll say it again the 2012's were in 6th grade when we won three games. The dark ages mean very little to them and now, we're a program with upside and an opportunity to contribute early. Good players wanted to come to Duquesne before Everhart left. That won't change now that he's gone.