Steve DiMiceli already did a piece on Desmond Ridenour’s future that can be found here. I have a somewhat different perspective on Ridenour’s future.
Like Steve said, he’s a combo guard who excels at neither position of point guard or shooting guard. Ultimately, to me if the Dukes are going to be playing in the NCAAs or host a game in the NIT I ultimately believe that Ridenour won’t be able to be much more than the second guard off the bench and perhaps eighth man who could fill in at either position.
As a point guard, I see Ridenour’s future as a one or two notches below Steve’s. I agree with pretty much everything Steve said, but Steve’s primary reason for playing Ridenour at the point above a frosh if Ferry elects to not go with Colter at point is because of continuity with Ferry’s system. If Ferry can build a good team in the next two or three years (and the jury’s still out on that), I don’t see Ridenour as a starting point guard or even the first guard off the bench. A large part of my reasoning behind why I see Ridenour as further down that others is that there are some mistakes that are more correctable than others. Obviously Ridenour’s turnovers and offensive awareness will improve with time and coaching, but the problem that I’m seeing in Ridenour is that his turnovers are less correctable than other mistakes. Also, I’m not sold on the notion that his vision will ever be enough to put it in the top half of the conference nor am I sold on his passing improvements putting him in the top half either. His defense, while serviceable, to me would top out at borderline top 5-7 in a 14 team A-10 at point guard should it reach its potential, and that’s if it ever reaches its potential. In short, I just don’t see his potential as a top half of the conference point guard.
As a shooting guard, the Duquesne Dukes already are set with with Micah Mason the next two years. Ridenour could certainly be a spark off the bench at shooting guard, but it would have to be more situationally and rotation based than others may think. If Ridenour is going to get minutes, I believe it will likely have to be as part of a rotation where he’s playing the majority of his minutes with two shooters on the floor if the Dukes are to have a quality team. Sure, there are shooting guards in the A-10 that have been successful that haven’t shot the ball well. However, on practically every one of those teams the three was filled by a guard/swing that could shoot and/or a point guard in the top 10 in the league in outside shooting. See Savage at George Washington this year with Mo Creek at the SF position and McDonald at PG hitting 44% from three as the norm, not the exception. Ultimately, presuming Colter still is the point for Duquesne, the Dukes would have both of their starting guards as weaker shooters and would see a lot of packed in defenses when Ridenour is at the two, even if he’s coming off the bench. Looking forward to his senior year, the only way I could see Des starting at the two is if Ferry could bring in shooters at both the point guard and three, opening things up for a slasher like Ridenour as a fourth or fifth option. Even if that’s the case, it probably means that the Dukes would be vying for a home NIT game at the best and wouldn’t be in at-large discussion.
As a sixth man, there’s one glaring weakness that I’m seeing. When Ridenour has replaced a starter due to the starter’s mistakes, Ridenour has often made the same exact mistakes. See the SLU game as the classic example before Ferry went without a point guard for a couple of minutes. He’s not learning from watching off the bench, and I’m not sure once again that some of what he’s missing in terms of awareness from the bench is coachable in three years to correct to an above-average sixth man for A-10 play. Once again, Ridenour would have to be used more situationally than other sixth men also I believe looking forward.
To me, Ridenour’s lack of a true spot in the Atlantic 10 game leads him to be one of the glue guys that quality teams still need. He should be someone that can come in off the bench and still be able to help and not hurt a team. If he’s starting, or even the sixth man getting 25+ minutes a game, I don’t think the Dukes are in position to be what Dukes fans are hoping for in years four or five of the Ferry regime. Ridenour would still play a valuable role, just not the role that some people are expecting in my opinion.