Projecting 2012-2013 - Pessimistic version

By Steve DiMiceli

With three weeks of the PBC Pro - Am in the rear view mirror, I think I have enough of a taste of what the newcomers are capable of and how some of the veterans have grown to start making some bold predictions about the upcoming season. This year, I'll do a range of predictions in a series over the next few weeks. First I'll make a pessimistic prediction what I realistically see as a worst case scenario by comparing it to last year's team. Then I will follow that up with a more optimistic outlook. Finally, I'll give my real prediction.

Now, if you're a severe doom and gloomer, this is will not be the projection for you. Let's just say I'm not looking for the kind of outlier meltdown that you've been dreaming of. I won't anticipate career ending injuries to three key starters nor will I project that the season being cut short by the end of the Mayan calender. My projection, while pessimistic, will also be realistic. The same will be said for my optimistic projection. What I'm attempting to do is set 5% book ends at the high and low end to establish a range for where the record is likely to fall. The idea is that there will be only about 5% chance that they'll do worse than what I project here and a 5% chance they'll do better than in the optimistic one. I would think they'll fall somewhere in between.

Just to summarize my methodology, I will be breaking the team down position by position and comparing what we have this year to what we had last year based on how many win better or worse the team will be at that position. If you include coaching, the team averaged 2.67 wins at each position last year. Obviously, some positions weighed in more and helped the team while others held them back. Unfortunately, we do not have the statistical metric in basketball like we do in baseball to make this easy, so I'll just have to wing it. Just from the eyeball test, point guard contributed more to the team winning than center did. Likewise, power forward contributed more than shooting guard. These positions will likely be more prone to dramatic swings in improvement and regression as a result.

Point guard

Last year the Dukes went with TJ McConnell most of the time as the true point with Mike Talley and Eric Evans playing the position as either a backup of interchangeably from the two. This year, all three are gone and replaced with two newcomers. Derrick Colter has played well in the summer league and has shown flashes of his upside. At the same time he's shown flashes of his inexperience. Marvin Binney seems to do everything ok, but no single part of his game really seems to excel, but none are bad either.

In the most pessimistic scenario, Colter does not adjust right away and struggles against the pressure leaving the slightly more experienced but lower upside Marvin Binney to handle the PG duties. Binney is capable of solid but not spectacular work at point guard, but his best work this year would still be a huge downgrade from TJ McConnell. While I think he will add value, I think a scenario where Colter struggles would result in a 3 win downgrade at point.

Shooting guard

In 2011-12, the Dukes had too many worthy point guards for the just the minutes available at the one. As a result, Evans and Talley played out of position at the two and neither one did well off the ball. They were used to creating shots with the ball in their hands not by moving off the ball looking for a pass. Of course having a second PG in the line allowed McConnell to play off the ball on defensive sets. While this position did not contribute a lot of wins and played strong defense, it did not hurt the team either.  For the upcoming season, Sean Johnson will return to his more natural 2 guard position and will likely be backed up by Jeremiah Jones and PJ Torres. Johnson has been inconsistent both within and between games throughout his career. As a senior, a lot of the teams success or failure will be on his shoulders. Jones has struggled at times in the summer league and has looked less willing to share the ball in the summer league than one would expect from a Jim Ferry player. Torres has been absent.

In the most pessimistic scenario, Johnson doesn't improve on his junior season numbers, Jones is not ready and Torres proves he is not an A-10 caliber player as some have suggested. However, Johnson repeating his junior year numbers with someonewho plays a more natural 2 should make the team at least 1 win better this year even in the most pessimistic prediction.

Small forward

With the Evans and Talley playing out of position, Johnson was forced into the three role. He was backed up by Jerry Jones who had something of a break out season in 2011-2012. Many have penciled him into the starting role for next year hoping he can emerge as a team leader and play a bigger role both offensively and defensively. He looks like he will be backed up by Kadeem Pantophlet. Unfortunately, I have not seen either player this summer to determine whether or not they have improved. Both have aspects of their game that they need to work on. Both rely too heavily on their teammates finding them for open looks and need to score off the dribble better.

Despite playing out of position Johnson added value at the 3. He was a strong scorer and could create his own shot. Jones and Pantophlet will have a difficult time matching Johnson's scoring even in an optimistic projection. However, rebounding should be improved no matter which plays. If neither develops the ability to create for themselves or has a true breakout season, the Dukes could lose 1 win at SF.

Power Forward

Last season, BJ Montiero slotted into a quasi power forward role for the Dukes. For a truer description of what he did, we should simply describe him as a forward.  He was a more valuable member of the team than I think a lot of people thought he could be and may have even been more valuable than TJ had he not gotten cut on New Year's Eve. In a worst case scenario, Quevyn Winters will get the bulk of the minutes in a similar role as Montiero. Winter plays with a higher motor than BJ and can pretty much do it all. While BJ was a better scorer around the basket than Winters currently is, I think Winters should immediately be a better FT shooter and rebounder. The rest of the skill set is where the variability comes into play. 

If Winters gets pushed around by bigger forwards and struggles to penetrate or defend, his value will greatly be reduced. By his senior year, BJ did as well as one could expect a 6'5'' guy guarding forwards and centers to do. While Winters has shown well in the summer league, the Dukes will be looking at a significant downgrade from last season and 2 fewer wins. 


Center looks to be the same cast of characters this year as last year. I have only seen Martins Abele and and Andre Marhold play this summer and both looked better. Abele has lost a lot of weight and his footwork is stronger. Marhold seems to have developed a better jump shot and may be the best returning defensive player.

If you're grounded somewhat in reality, it's difficult to imagine the centers doing worse than they did last season. Really there is only one place for them to go. A lot of the problems with our bigs resulted from their lack of some fundamental skills and with John Rhodes coming in, it seems safe to suggest he will help correct them. The Dukes got such little out of the center position in 2011-12 that it would hard to imagine this group doing any worse than 1 win better.


Often times when coaching changes occur, the returning players have a difficult time adjusting to the new system immediately. In a pessimistic projection, I would think the adjustment could cost a team 1-2 games because the system they will play is somewhat similar to the one they played last year. Since this is a worst case, but somewhat realistic scenario, I'll go with 2.


If you were playing along at home, you'll have already figured out that my 5% worst case scenario puts the 2012-2013 Dukes at 10 wins assuming they play the same number of game. Certainly that would be a tough season for Duquesne fans to stomach, but getting to double digit wins would have looked pretty good after TJ left and before Ferry's class took shape.