Duquesne Going All - In on Local Talent?

By Steve DiMiceli

I recently wrote how I thought Duquesne faced a number of challenges to recruiting in 2014 based primarily on their inability to offer immediate playing time. One solution I offered was to target local talent. It seems the Dukes are doing just that.

We knew that Duquesne has been interested in and has offered both of the Luther twins from Hampton. We knew that Ryan Skovranko of Lincoln Park has held an offer for quite some time. Today, fellow top prospect Elijah Minnie tweeted that he and his teammate Skovranko would be visiting Duquesne this week. The Dukes also have interest in Kiski's seven footer, Satchel Pierce and Beaver Falls' Elijah Cottrill.

If the Dukes had to pick a year to stay at home, 2014 might be the one to do it. Rob Werner of Pittsburgh Basketball Report seems to like the talent of Western Pennsylvania's senior class  and thinks the pool could get deeper. "Between Skovranko, the Luthers, Pierce, Minnie, and (DJ) Porter, this class could set records as far as number of D1 kids. It should be noted schools like Kiski and Propel Charter will definitely bring in postgrad talent which will add to the mix."

What sets this year's class apart from years past? Size with skill make for more and higher level D-1 prospects than usual. Werner explains "Last year was the year of the guards, (Major) Canady to Drexel, (Geno) Thorpe to PSU, (Kasim) Chandler to Quinnipiac, (and Devin) Wilson to VT. This is the year of the big, skilled forwards who show a lot of grit." Not only is this a good, deep class of WPIAL forwards, but it's a good, deep class at a position where Duquesne lacks depth. The Dukes need help at the swing next year and there could be as many as three high major small forwards in this WPIAL class.

Jim Ferry already has Micah Mason in the fold. With the need at three and the opportunity to play at home, the Dukes could see one or more yinzers added to the mix. I love the idea of establishing a local pipeline when the talent is there. I have little interest in reaching on Pittsburgh kids, but in a year like this one, the Dukes are in a great position to add talent and stay close to home.

Link to Pittsburgh Basketball Report - Class of 2014 Rankings

Follow Rob @RobWernerHoops and read his new blog