From @ZacharyMWeiss

Jim Ferry: The Long View

The ups and downs of the season are easy to follow when you have various web analytics at your disposal.

Since we run boards and blogs, it’s pretty easy to see how the tides of traffic ebb and flow with the success (or not) of the Dukes on the court. Since we use a lot of Twitter, it’s also easy to see how emotions do the same across the fan base. It isn’t surprising, either. I’ll say this, if someone didn’t know that we were talking about a team during the last 45 seconds of the St. Bonaventure game, they’d have seen our collective mood swings, pulled out a copy of the DSM, and tried to diagnose us.

It’s tough to remember the long view in the moment of a game because we want the team to win. We’re tired of patience. Some people have been upset whenever Jim Ferry talked about it. Sometimes I get that way myself.

But I was looking through our back catalogue of articles, and I found this piece that I wrote from when Jim Ferry was hired.  We interviewed John Templon, who runs Big Apple Buckets – a blog that covers the mid- and low-major NYC hoops teams. Templon was a good choice for this one. He covered LIU-Brooklyn as a part of his site, and he’s seen and analyzed Duquesne through his coverage of Fordham.

I bring this interview up because it’s easy to look back and think about how close the team was to real success. Just a few game minutes away from an NCAA berth in that A10 game against Temple. One or two buckets from an NIT win. A bad February or March away from another NIT berth, and then who knows what? The proximity of that success clouds our own judgement over what we had after our point guards left.

During our interview with John Templon, I asked him what he thought about the timetable at Duquesne for Ferry’s version of a turnaround. I remarked that I didn’t think the cupboard was all that bare – and I think many of us felt that way, minus a PG. Here are the thoughts of an objective guy, outside of any program affiliation:

“There’s a lot of reasons to like him as a hire and the brand of basketball he’ll bring to Duquesne. I think it was time for him to move on, but LIU will certainly miss Ferry. My guess is that it’ll take two to four years (the cupboard is a little bare) to really see results, but Duquesne will reach the level that it didn’t under Ron Everhart with Ferry eventually.”

If the objective point of view is that the cupboard was indeed a little bare, and that it’s at least a 2-4 year job, that tells me a couple of things:

  1. We over-valued the players that were still on scholarship after the transfers. I think this is something that’s becoming clearer the further away we are from it.
  2. We’re expecting success a little faster than may be realistic. Actually, Steve did a great job talking about this as he looked at the records of coaches within their first two years at a new assignment. Two years is probably a bit soon.
  3. The long term of the prediction speaks to the foundation that needs to be established for actual success vs. what we had here.

I think the proximity that we had to success made us think that we had better players than we did, and that we had a better foundation set for long-term prosperity than we did.

I suppose it becomes a question, then, of short term success vs. long-term viability. I think I prefer the second. Winning NOW feels really good,  especially when we’re watching a game. But being set to win regularly over the long term is far better.


Tags: Big Apple Buckets Duquesne Dukes Jim Ferry

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