Dukes vs. Dukes, Duquesne vs. JMU Preview

JMU Last Year: 

Going into last season, JMU looked like a terrific team and one that could challenge near the top of the CAA after garnering 21 wins and a #89 RPI the previous year.  Unfortunately, that was not the case, and JMU had a disappointing season last year wrapping up the season with a 12-20 (5-13) mark.  However, much of the disappointment last year wasn't necessarily talent, but rather injuries and other off the court issues combined with a lack of depth that plagued the other Dukes.  In October, Rayshawn Goins (starting 6-6 forward) was lost for the year with a torn labrum.  In off the court issues, the Dukes lost Devon Moore (6-4 guard) for the first 7 games due to academics, and upon his return he suffered a wrist injury which he attempted to play thru the rest of the year with.  JMU also lost Trevon Flores, who transferred to Northern Kentucky to be closer to home after his mother passed away after losing her battle to lupus.  Then, close to the beginning of conference play, JMU lost Julius Wells for the majority of the rest of the year to a viral infection.  A lack of quality depth combined with losing four contributors contributed to the downfall of JMU.

Key Returners:

AJ Davis.  6-6 redshirt senior.  A transfer from Wyoming (where he was the third leading scorer), AJ led the Dukes last year in points, scoring 15.9 points per game, good for fourth in the CAA.  Davis also chipped in 1.7 steals per game, and had 9 games of four or more steals in addition to 21 games with four or more threes.  Put up 21 at La Salle, and 22 against Robert Morris.  Expect Davis to be on the floor a lot, and expect JMU to get the ball to him a ton (6th in the CAA in terms of percent of times he touched the ball per possession despite not being a PG).

Devon Moore.  6-4 redshirt senior guard.  Moore will handle the point for the Dukes, and averaged 4.2 assists per game last season, good for fourth in the CAA despite playing thru a wrist injury for a large chunk of last season.

Rayshawn Goins.  6-6, 275 pound redshirt senior.  Before missing last season with a torn labrum, in 2010-11 Goins was 11th in rebounds per game and 7th in offensive rebounds per game.  A JUCO transfer from Cincinnati State, he led Cincy State to the national title game for the NJCAA.

Andrey Semenov.  6-7 205 redshirt senior.  A three-point shooter from Russia, Semenov hit 62 of 141 threes last year, good for 44%.  Takes good care of the ball for a 6'7'' guy, finishing last year with a 1.4 to 1 assist to turnover ratio.  The teams second leading rebounder at 4.8 rpg, Semenov seemingly fouled a lot, foulding out 5 times in 32 games despite averaging only 30 mins/game last season.  From the report I got, Semenov is very inflexible and plays a foreign brand of basketball (strong basketball IQ, good passing, perimiter player who can't create his shot and doesn't drive). 

Enoch Hood.  6-8, 210 soph.  Thrust into the starting lineup by necessity last year, Hood from the report I got was a fouling machine last year.  Expect your fair share of boards and fouls from Hood.

Key Departures:

Humpty Hitchens:  A high volume shooter particularly from three point range, Hitchens hit 39% from three, good for 2nd in the CAA.  Hitchens averaged 14.9 ppg, and 3.7 apg, good for sixth in the CAA.  The Akron transfer had 27 points against George Mason.

Julius Wells:  The 6-5 senior last year led the team in boards last year, grabbing 5.6 per game.  Also chipped in with 9 ppg.

Key Recruits:

Ron Curry.  A 6-3 175 PG from NJ.  Curry is the #32 point guard per ESPN.  Curry is rumored to be able to both run the point and have the ability to score from the off guard.

Taylor Bessick.  6-9, 215 frosh from Philly.  A kid who Coach Matt Brady hopes can be a guy to come in and do the dirty work.  Strengths include having a good motor and his natural instincts per Coach Brady, but he has only been playing basketball for around three years.  Per recruitscoop, Bessick chose JMU over Rhode Island, Auburn, Fairfield, and Longwood. 

Charles Cooke (SF).  The #92 SF per ESPN, 2 star per scout, and an A10 recruit from New Jersey, Cooke chose JMU despite having offers from St. Joe's and La Salle.  His shooting range and wingspan were the primary attributes given on the scouting sites.


The JMU Dukes will likely start four redshirt seniors for their game at Duquesne.  Early on, given inexperience of the Duquesne Dukes, this could create trouble and a potential trap game in addition to many others that fans are already talking about. 

Why Duquesne can win the game:

1.  Ferry can take advantage of the free throw line.  Opponents attempted the 302nd most free throws per game against JMU, while JMU only was ranked 283rd in free throws attempted per game.

2.  Our weakness may be theirs also.  JMU was ranked 288th in offensive rebounding percentage, and 324th in defensive rebounding percentage.  The return of the 275 pound Goins to the lineup for JMU will help those numbers some, but who controls the glass may very well control the game.

Why JMU can win:

Coming off a disappointing season, JMU will be trying to right the ship.  They have the experience to win a tough game on the road, and with the return of Goins they could actually be up there for the contenders for postseason play in the CAA.  There is still talent on JMU's roster, and last year may have been more an aberration than the norm for JMU given the circumstances.