Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Storm Is Over

To paraphrase Michael Moore, the scruffy-faced, cow-sized huckster, “was it all a dream?” While the thought of George W. Bush winning the election and serving eight chaotic years is Halloween-scary (and the results certainly speak for themselves), this was a new grounds-breaking catastrophe.

In the fall of 2006, tragedy hit Duquesne University like a tidal wave. A face-fight filled with dirty looks and stares spilled into a shootout outside of a school dance, on the private catholic University’s campus in Pittsburgh.

Adversity. We’ve all been dealt our fair share of it. A wise man once told me that nobody gets out of life unscathed. Those who try to are only dodging reality and inevitability. Four players were shot and injured upon their exit from the dance.

It was a nightmare that hampered every aspect of the season. Two players sued the school. The situation continued to fester as the Dukes posted a measly 10-19 record. This past season, the Dukes went 17-13 but were barely in the middle of the pack in the Atlantic-10. Still, it was a helluva turnaround and the school rewarded coach Ron Everhart (if you replaced the “t” at the end of his last name with “d” he’d sound like someone you’d expect to star alongside Jill Kelly in a Vivid Video film).

With a revamped recruiting class that features well-traveled jumping jack Melquan Bolding (this cat his been through more schools than Amare Stoudemire), who played at Notre Dame Prep this past season, the Dukes continue to revamp the program.The black cloud is no long hovering over them. Now that the strong pre-season status of the team is making headlines (not the shootings, the lawsuits, the constant turmoil of 2K6-2K7) it’s an uphill climb for DU.

Bolding put Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.) on the map his senior year. An aggressive scorer who plays with a killer instinct that elicits drool from coaches, Bolding got looks from Louisville (where he originally committed), Syracuse, and St. John’s. He got game.

The Dukes also bring in B.J. Monteiro, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Waterbury, Conn. (AKA Dirty Water). The Connecticut State Player of the Year averaged 21.3 points, 9.9 boards, and 5.3 dimes this year. Monteiro, who plays for the Connecticut Young Gunz on the AAU circuit, is looking to make an immediate impact.

The future is bright. The manifesto of hate, the fall of 2006 quagmire, the horrifying events that led to the lawsuits…it’s all in the rearview. The program will look to erase history and establish itself in what looks to be an intriguing 2008-2009 campaign.