Clarion Golden Eagles Matchups


December 11, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Duquesne Dukes head coach Jim Ferry reacts on the sidelines against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the first half at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Duquesne Dukes won 60-56. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

December 11, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Duquesne Dukes head coach Jim Ferry reacts on the sidelines against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the first half at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Duquesne Dukes won 60-56. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I have to say, I’m a bit torn on this Duquesne basketball exhibition matchup on Saturday. While red and blue goes through my various veins, arteries, and capillaries – actually, I suppose that is biologically true for everyone regardless of fandom – I have taken some online graduate classes through Clarion and feel a bit of an affinity for that Golden Eagle.

Ok, not really.

The matchup interests me because it’s the first one that we have and the only one that we get to write about in the short term. Specifically, I want to see what players Clarion uses and how Ferry might want to match players up in order to maximize the benefit from the game. As maximized as you can get from an exhibition game against a PSAC school, at any rate.

For starters, Clarion is not particularly good. They are coming off of a 6 – 20 season, and the light at the end of the tunnel may indeed be an oncoming train, as they were picked last in their division this year.

Still, these guys came to play, and they will be the first competition offered to Duquesne in the 2013-14 season. Let’s take a look at some of the Golden Eagles.

The Big Men:

Mike Kromka, 6’6″ F

Kromka is the returning leader of this team and is coming off of a season that saw him average 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He is one of two returning forwards on the team; Presumably, McKoy will see a lot of him, as he averages 32.5 minutes per game. The Dukes could have Soko guard him low just because of Soko’s athleticism, though it may not matter much.

Aaron Johnson, 6’4″ F

Johnson is the other experienced forward for the Eagles and averaged 8.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He is a small forward in any system, even though he’ll likely be at the 4. If the Eagles play him at the four, I’m not very excited for what meaningful work we’ll see from either of our tall guys. I’m more intrigued as to whether or not …

Darious Stevens, 6’6″ F

… a JUCO transfer will see any time. It’s possible that he’s battling an injury, but if he is as capable as his JUCO stats indicate, he might be someone that Clarion wants to see in a big role this year. His height presents a better matchup, though at 190 pounds he is a bit lean for either of our post players.

Regardless of who plays and who the Dukes use to defend, it is safe to say that given the height mismatches, anything short of domination of the bigs is concerning here.

The Guards

Marques Jones, 5’10″ G

Jones was the second leading scorer for the Golden Eagles and was also their leading assist man with 58. Unfortunately for their offense, he was also responsible for a lot of turnovers – 73 to be exact. This is the likely matchup for Colter. I’d like to see him take advantage of Jones’s propensity to turn the ball over and come up with multiple steals. That’ll also give the Dukes a chance to work in transition a bit.

DeMarius Miller, 6’1″ G

JUCO transfer Miller is an expected starter at shooting guard. He led the NJCAA in scoring two years ago. He fell off a bit last year but still averaged 15.4 a game. Not a lot else on him even on the Clarion site.

Corey Bellovich, 6’3″ F/G

The Golden Eagles will likely start Bellovich as a swingman, though interestingly, he is one of the few returning players who has an assist/turnover ratio on the right side of the decimal point. He has been good on occasion, hitting double figures seven times. He may be ready for a step forward, and Clarion is hoping that he’ll be able to contribute on the boards as well. One of the Joneses will be keeping up with him.

BJ Andrews, 6’1″ G

It’s possible that Clarion goes with four guards and adds Andrews to the mix. BJ had a prolific high school career, scoring over 1500 points. The Eagles badly need a scoring touch, so if he can translate that to the college game he’ll definitely see some time.

* *

As best as I can tell, five of these seven are the likely starters for Clarion on Saturday. Writing this was an exploration for me as well, because I wasn’t entirely certain what I would find on the Golden Eagles’ roster. The only conclusion that I can draw is that it will be more important for Duquesne to play a system-oriented game and to watch for elements of that falling into place than to focus on any meaning for any individual matchup. Especially if they go with four guards.

Beyond that, I have to agree with Steve’s closing words in yesterday’s piece:

“Saturday isn’t for analysis. It’s for relief that the off-season has ended. It’s a cool drink at the end of a hot day or the moment the fever breaks. It’s a game we’ve looked forward to even if it’s not relevant. We’ll dissect basketball for the rest of the season, but for one game, we can just enjoy basketball.”

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