By Steve DiMiceli
If you asked me three weeks ago how I would feel if Jim Ferry only had 1 of the 5 scholarships spoken for after three weeks on the job, I would've told you I was a little concerned. However, it's not all storm clouds and dismal outlooks. A lot of the things people are disappointed about should have been expected, and some credit should be given for thinking outside the box with an emphasis on long term success.
Let's begin with what we know about 2012 and that's not a lot. It is somewhat reassuring that Derrick Colter, the first member of the class, is both a point guard and had some interest from some pretty impressive schools. He fits into both the late bloomer and the guy waiting for a bigger offer category I hoped Ferry would target. After his run in the state playoffs, he drew interest from a number of window shopping BCS schools even if he only had offers from High Point, Quinnipiac and Western Kentucky. Now he just needs some competition for the starting job. I prefer a grad transfer and a 4 year prep, but there is only one grad transfer on the market, Gaby Belardo formerly of Canisius, that is worth anything. Get him to start for a year, and the prep who loses the backup job redshirts. I have no idea if we're involved with Gaby Belardo, but we are at the top of the list for one of the most talked about 2012 PG's still on the board, Trey Dickerson. One or both committing to the Dukes would be a huge boost to next season's prospects, but landing at least one more capable point guard is essential.
All three of the holdovers confirmed as part of Ron Everhart's class have moved on to other programs. I think this disappointed a number of fans, but I'm not sure what we really should have expected. Donovon Jack and Willie Moore both moved on to well known football schools trying to build a name for themselves in basketball when they committed to Penn St and Oregon respectively. The member of the class I thought we had the best chance of keeping was Bryan Harris as I was near certain that no other A-10 or better offers would come. Sure enough, they didn't but he opted for Wofford. It would have been a huge boost to moral had any of these players been retained, but it's not a black mark that none were. Recruits make a very personal commitment when they sign with a coach . Losing an entire staff can really impact a decision and more often than not, recruits don't stick by the school when a coaching change occurs. In the end, it's nothing more than a shame that all three are gone.
Some people I've spoken with are puzzled why the staff has more known offers out to 2013's than 2012's when we have four slots to fill for the upcoming season and only two for next year. To me, it demonstrates that Ferry understands how 2013 is a more important class than 2012 in the sense that it will be the first class he has the chance to recruit as Duquesne's head coach for a full cycle. While Ferry has put us into consideration for some good prospects in the spring, he has a better chance of getting a high quality players for 2013. There are a couple reasons for this. First, he has more time to build relationships and sell Duquesne to 2013's. Second, even if he hasn't gone into to panic mode for 2012, a lot of BCS coaches have in order to fill a scholarship or two that remain open. Unfortunately, there are a lot of big schools still out there messing up recruitment for high majors like Duquesne who normally have the run of recruiting this time of year. Either way, we're at a significant and unusual disadvantage for spring 2012s and the caliber of athletes that we could likely get, Dickerson aside, will be a lower caliber or more raw than the young men we could nab for 2013. I like that Ferry isn't putting all his eggs into his 2012 basket.
Another thing I'd like to point out is that we might be hearing more about 2013's than 2012's due to simple geography. A lot of the 2013's we're hearing about are from New York where prep recruiting is thoroughly covered and often over-hyped. Three of the recruiting guru's I follow on twitter are based in and around the city. They likely hear more about local recruits, thus more is leaked about their school options.
The trite thing to do here would be to quote Tom Petty and tell the reader about his thoughts on waiting. I'm not going to do that. What I'm going to do is tell you that the plan, as I see it, makes sense. I think Ferry is showing patience and has his priorities in order. I'm glad he's not recruiting the way a fan would and recognizes that putting the Duquesne name out there for 2013's is just as important as signing 2012's.. I doubt the lack of recruits thus far is a result of lack of effort. Rather, I think some difficult conditions to recruit in are creating some unforeseen hurdles to signing players. In due time, we'll have a complete 2012 class. It may not contain familiar names but at the same time, it won't be created at the expense of the future.