In our Trippin' series we're talking to teams as they return from preseason trips to foreign locales. Click here for all Trippin' related stories
By Jeff Goodman
It goes without saying that Ron Everhart’s Duquesne Dukes will be different this year.
Gone are the two mainstays of the program for the last few years – Bill Clark and Damian Saunders.
But Everhart still has one of the best guards in the A-10 and maybe even the nation in sophomore T.J. McConnell – and maintains the Dukes will still run and play fast.
Everhart took his group to Canada – where they played five games in four days - and shared his thoughts:
What Everhart learned: The chemistry of this group seemed really, really good – and we were able to control the game with our guard play.”
What or who impressed him: McConnell was terrific, his normal consistent self. What really impressed me was (B.J.) Monteiro’s effort. Three guys surprised me and played better than I anticipated: Jerry Jones, Andre Marhold and Sean Johnson. Sean picked up where he left off last season. Jones shot it well and played with a lot of confidence – he’s a completely different playerWhat concerned him: Our frontcourt is our big question. We know we can run and score and defend on the perimeter.”
- McConnell averaged 10.8 points, 4.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game as a freshman last season and Everhart said he sees plenty of similarities between him and Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea – who he coached at Northeastern. ``They do a lot of the same things,” Everhart said. ``Especially with ball screens, their vision and burst. T.J.’s a little longer and just needs to catch up physically and gets the strength that J.J. has. But I think when he does that, I think he has a shot at playing at the next level.”
- The strength of the team will be on the perimeter with guys like McConnell, Monteiro and Johnson.
- Everhart said that two players, Radford 7-foot transfer Martins Abele, and 6-foot-6 freshman Kadeem Pantophlet, didn’t make the trip.
- Freshman Mamadou Datt (6-8, 210) didn’t play due to injury. Datt is a native of Senegal who spent last season at Stoneridge Prep. He tore his meniscus, but Everhart said he expects Datt to be ready for practice in mid-October.
- Senior wing B.J. Monteiro led the team in scoring at 19 points per game. Johnson was second at 13.2 and McConnell averaged 12.6 points on the trip.
- Everhart was excited about the play of Marhold – who averaged eight minutes per game last season. ``He was active and played significantly better than I expected. He surprised me – I thought he’d struggle. The way he played on the trip, I think he’ll make a significant contribution this year.”
- Freshman wing P.J. Torres was solid for the first three games before suffering a sprained ankle that forced him to miss the fourth game. He came back and played the finale in Canada. ``He’s going to be a nice addition to our backcourt,” Everhart said.
CBSSports.com's list of teams taking preseason trips