Dukes Hire New Assistant Coach

Ron Everhart has replaced Greg Gary, who left for a job under Matt Painter at Purdue, with Senegalese born Amadou Koundoul. Koundoul has had a long a twisting career as both a player and a coach. As a player he played two seasons of Junior College ball before moving on to Cleveland State where he played two seasons and graduated with a degree in communications. Similarly, his coaching career has sent him a number of places in the collegiate and prep ranks, most notably being an assistant under Greg Gary in his one season as Head Coach at Centenary before they moved to Division III. Coach Everhart has said of the hire,

“Pape has experience as an assistant and head coach at a number of different levels ranging from prep school to college,” said Everhart. “That experience, combined with his skill in player development and his ability to motivate young men, will make him a real asset to our staff. I’m excited to have him contribute to Duquesne’s basketball success.”

This is the critical point for me. It seems as if Koundoul’s forte is player development, which is something currently missing on the bluff. Former NFL Head Coach Bill Parcells, as the head man for the New England Patriots famously said, “They want you to cook the dinner; at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.” While he was voicing his displeasure in the lack of say in personnel decisions he unknowingly pointed out the two parts that make up collegiate coaching. So far, during Everhart’s tenure, the coaching staff has done a good job of bringing in talent missed or disregarded by bigger schools with the likes of Damian Saunders, TJ McConnell and Sean Johnson among others, but there is problem when your focus is simply on buying groceries, meals can come under-cooked.

Such has been the case for big men under Ron Everhart. Duquesne has not been able to develop a player over 6’7″ since Everhart has been on the bluff. Big Mike Williams and Oliver Lewison did not pan out, and part of the problem for that is the inability to mold such players. Big men don’ t grow on trees. While it is possible to find hidden gems that are guards or swing men, it is much harder to find post players simply because there are less of them on the planet. This fact points to a truth often missed by Dukes fans, because of the lack of 6’8″ and over talent, small programs like Duquesne end up with the dregs of the abnormally large human basket. So, what we get are unpolished projects that need to be developed through their time on campus. As of now, all the coaches who have manned the sidelines for Everhart have not had this ability. Perhaps now Everhart now has his center whisperer.

I am completely speculating whether or not Koundoul has any felicity in molding big men, but it seems that this hire has the right thinking behind it. Koundoul had to learn how to become a player himself while he was an undergraduate and his professional career has been focused on developing skills as opposed to finding talent. This should have given the skill set needed to help develop the likes of Derrick Martin and Martins Abele. Also, it would be welcomed if he had a ten step method to make all free throws. So as for now, good hire, whether or not he can cook is yet to be seen.

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