Duquesne men’s basketball has sights set high after best start in decades

Duquesne men’s basketball has sights set high after best start in decades
(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH — At 12-2, Duquesne is off to its best start since the 1971-72 season, and it’s because head coach Keith Dambrot has finally put his fingerprint on the program he inherited that finished 10-22 in the 2017-18 season.

But even with the drastic improvement, the feisty Dukes coach isn’t satisfied.

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“We don’t have any success yet,” Dambrot told Channel 11’s Chase Williams. “We have to finish the job. I don’t want to sound like a sourpuss because I’m certainly not. You have to enjoy every win, but at the same token you have to know how fragile everything is.”

The sentiment comes from a program that is years removed from true success, but while they’re building something on the court, they’re doing it while inheriting a nomadic lifestyle this season.

They haven’t played a home game this season because of the season-long renovation to the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse, expected to be completed in October 2020. The Dukes have played more games in the Bahamas (3), Florida (2) and Ohio (2) than they have within Pittsburgh’s city limits.

“We’re a team that just adapts to any kind of circumstance that is thrown our way,” junior forward Marcus Weathers said. “We have a lot of guys that have a lot of fight in them.”

“We’ve shown that we can play with anybody in the world,” Dambrot said.

But again, Dambrot isn’t satisfied because to him, they’re far from the finish line. He believes this group has another level to reach and has the potential of reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 42 years.

“We’re trying to become more consistent,” Dambrot said. “We’ve become a little more consistent during practice, so my gut tells me we’ll be more consistent in games.”

The Dukes first true “road game” is Wednesday in Philadelphia when they take on Saint Joseph’s.