Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The State of Duquesne Basketball or Jim Ferry's Fate May Already Be Sealed

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I saw this conversation on twitter between Chris DiSano of Cox Sports and Campus Insider broadcast team shortly before I left for work Friday and it got me thinking.

I started focusing on the question at the surface level. Even though the Dukes haven’t experienced a lot of success under Jim Ferry and could very easily struggle again this year, I have a difficult time calling them rebuilding or in transition. They have thirteen players under scholarship and twelve of them have at least two years of eligibility remaining. The team is reloading with the loss of their engine Ovie Soko but they have four starters returning. Ultimately, they’re not quite ready for prime time but in my opinion, the team is essentially built. Now, it’s just a matter of getting everyone eligible and experience.

I also came to the realization that Jim Ferry’s career at Duquesne is likely to sink or swim based on the group he’s assembled already. Think about it. Ferry is entering the third year of six year contract and he could easily receive a buy out for the final year of  if things don’t get better. That gives him three more seasons. He has one scholarship available to him for the next class and anyone who he recruits in 2016 will be first year players in year five. This year’s sophomores will be seniors and the freshman, juniors. His second cohort of four year players he recruited will graduate and many coaches don’t get the chance to put more classes through than that. You might think it’s unfair, but it’s the nature of the beast in college hoops.

I’m not taking an absolute positions here, but I think most of the pieces need to be together if Ferry hopes to swim. It’s possible that he adds a nice freshman at the end of this season or brings another JUCO into the fold if a current player transfers. However, I’m not anticipating huge, immediate contributions from the 2015 class and I see 2016 as his next wave to build around not for immediate help. If they are counted on for more than that, I think Ferry had some players who flat out busted and has some serious problems that will be difficult to overcome. For the most part, what you see is what you get to save Duquesne’s future. Ferry  should have enough talent and fit for his system that the Dukes  at least make the NIT once in his first five years if not more. When they do, I think the athletic department should tender an extension. While the NIT isn’t a huge accomplishment, I feel like the second contract should be easier to earn than the third. He’d have to make the NCAA tournament to stay on longer.

Though I think this piece has something of a negative overall tone, I want to clarify that I feel pretty confident that Ferry will find a way to keep his job or move on to bigger and better things. It doesn’t have to be next season or even the season after. However, it will likely be on the backs of the players already here. The team is built. Now, it’s time to figure out what Coach Ferry has.

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Tags: Duquesne Dukes Jim Ferry

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