Star recruit Donovan Jack granted release
President Charles Doughtery, new coach Jim Ferry and Athletic Director Greg Amodio pose for a photo after Ferry's introductory press conference Thursday. Em Gorham / The Duquesne Duke
Just one week into Jim Ferry's tenure as coach, Donovan Jack, a 6-foot-9 recruit who previously committed to Duquesne, was granted a release from his commitment Wednesday.
Ferry met with Jack and his family in his hometown Reading, Pa., Friday night. The forward from Berks Catholic High School was granted the release from his national letter of intent Wednesday afternoon, which allows Jack to pursue other schools while keeping Duquesne in the running, according to Associate Athletic Director Dave Saba.
Jack finished his career at Berks with 1,725 points, 10th most in Berks' history, and averaged 17 points per gae, 10.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game this past season.
Willie Moore, a 6-foot-3 guard who previously committed to Duquesne, announced April 11 that he is no longer considering playing for Duquesne.
Ferry is currently on the road recruiting. He said he met with Duquesne's current team early Thursday, and he will address other recruits in the near future who previously committed to Duquesne under former-coach Ron Everhart.
"I like to recruit players. I put a lot of effort into it," Ferry said. "But I also will look to make adjustments to the players that I do have."
Ferry, a New York-native spent the past 10 years as Long Island University-Brooklyn's coach, where he held an overall 150-149 record. In the past two seasons, Ferry led the Blackbirds to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Northeast Conference Championship game over Robert Morris each year. In those two seasons, LIU won 52 games and a 34-2 record in conference play.
"Duquesne University and the City of Pittsburgh deserve a tough and aggressive basketball program," Ferry said.
Duquesne guard Sean Johnson, who will be one of the Duke's two seniors next seasons alongside Andre Marhold, said Ferry outlined what he expects of the team.
"He told us to just be honest with him," Johnson said. "And he told us to do what we got to do in the classroom."
Ferry brings a similar up-tempo style to the one employed by Everhart during his six seasons on the Bluff. Johnson, who was recruited by Ferry coming out of high school, said the similarities between the two systems will allow for a smooth transition.
"We're used to up-tempo, so it's good we'll be running a system we're already used to, but Coach Ferry said he also wants to fix the things we didn't do great, like rebounding and defense," Johnson said.
Now that the coaching search has concluded, Johnson said the team is focused on the upcoming season.
"Before, we were confused, but now that we have our coach I think we're going to be really good," Johnson said. "I'm confident that we'll perform well on the basketball court."
Rick Glesmann, who spent the past seven seasons on Ferry's staff at LIU, will follow Ferry to Duquesne. Former Saint Francis, N.Y. head coach Brian Nash was named Ferry's associate head coach.
Athletic Director Greg Amodio said he is confident Duquesne hired "the right person."
"I had a lot of conversations with administrators and coaches all over the country," Amodio said. "And so many of the comments that I heard regarding Jim were things like: 'highly organized,' 'a man of integrity,' 'great character,' 'fabulous coach and an even better person.' Those attributes are exactly what we're looking for in the leadership of our men's basketball program."
Amodio spent the past two weeks conducting a nationwide search after announcing Everhart's dismissal March 23. Duquesne was rumored to be interested in several coaches including former-Wake Forest head coach Dino Gaudio, Robert Morris head coach Andy Toole, Akron head coach Keith Dambrot and Kentucky assistant coach Orlando Antigua.
But after speaking to one of the coaches Duquesne was considering, Amodio said he knew he made the right decision in picking Ferry.
"As the process concluded, I had to make one other phone call on Tuesday to an individual who unfortunately did not get the position, and those are always difficult conversations to have," Amodio said. "And I had a conversation with that individual ... And he said to me, 'Greg, sometimes you sit back and you say to yourself "why did that individual get the job over me?" Or, "Boy, I'm not sure that was the right choice..." I can't argue with you. You have an outstanding coach and an even better person to lead your program.'"
Ferry will look to lead a team that just saw three of its players, T.J. McConnell, Mike Talley and Danny Herrera transfer, and two of its core players, Eric Evans and B.J. Monteiro, graduate.
But Ferry said the team "will get back to work" Friday and will become "tireless workers" over the off season.
"I cannot wait to get to work," Ferry said. "I'm extremely excited, honored and thankful for this opportunity."
Duquesne President Charles J. Dougherty said at the press conference that the addition of Ferry to the basketball staff will hopefully being success to not only the program, but to the University.
"Success for the basketball program is important to the University for a number of reasons," Dougherty said. "It will restore the luster of the glory days of Duquesne basketball and strengthen the loyalty of our alums to the University ... it will be a source of revenue for the University, ... and it will further advance Duquesne University's growing national reputation."
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