We waited for well over a year for Saturday night to finally see the players who sat at the far end of Duquesne’s bench during the 2017-18 to make their school debuts. We heard the stories. That they dominated the last year’s first team so badly in practice that they had to go play by themselves. We heard that their talent would surpass all but the Dukes best returning players.
One by one, I’ll have a look at each transfer and freshman. I already covered Sincere Carry and I’ll start the transfers with Michael Hughes. As a freshman at Akron, he played sparingly. Not only did he miss last season sitting out according to transfer rules, but he didn’t get to practice much either thanks to injury. Truth told, he came into these past two games with almost no college basketball experience, but he’s played like a man so far this season.
What He Does Well
Hughes is a hell of a competitor and appears to have jumped immediately into a leadership role for the Dukes this season. He’s at his best around the basket and has a number of post moves. He uses his body well to get position. He rebounds violently and has a little bit of a mean streak. Defensively, he alters a lot of shots at the rim even if he only has one block in two games.
Opportunities for Growth
So far, Hughes looks a bit inconsistent not just from his Saturday performance to Monday, but within games as well. We saw him get pulled after a weak start to the second half against William & Mary after an excellent start to the game. This makes sense given his class standing and real inexperience. That said, I fully expect him to move past it as he gets old.
He has a bit of a midrange game, but am I too greedy to ask that he add a perimeter shot? I saw him hit the 3 pointers goofing around in warm ups last year, so it’s not out of the question he’ll add them to his repertoire at some point .
Hughes’ on court personality reminds me of a cross between Bill Clark and Ovie Soko. Like the former Dukes, Hughes has value beyond his on court performances. All three have a mix of showmanship and leadership . He looks like the Dukes best pure rebounding big man since Soko, but I think their offensive game is bit different.
On the court, he reminds me quite a bit of former La Salle Explorer, Jerrell Wright. Both seem like stay at home defenders. Both break down opponents quite well in the post. The name of both of their games is toughness and using their big bodies to push opponents around. It wasn’t unusual for Wright to get into foul trouble early in his career and I suspect Hughes ejection on Monday won’t be his last. If he follows Wright’s career path, Duquesne fans will be quite happy.