The fact that Duquesne was picked to finish last in the Atlantic 10 Conference preseason coaches poll Thursday was not something Jim Ferry planned to let ruffle his feathers.
Ferry, who attended the league's media day in Brooklyn, N.Y. not far from where he coached Long Island University-Brooklyn for the past 10 years, said it will serve as motivation for his young team, but nothing more.
"You know what? I've never paid attention to that stuff whether my teams have been picked first or picked last," said Ferry.
"We'll throw it up on the board for motivation. In the end we have to worry about ourselves, getting better every day."
Saint Joseph's was picked to finish No. 1 followed by Saint Louis, Virginia Commonwealth, Temple, Massachusetts, Butler, La Salle, Dayton, Xavier, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Charlotte, George Washington, Fordham, Rhode Island, then No. 16 Duquesne.
The Dukes' position was not particularly surprising considering the strength of the new A-10, which added VCU and Butler last spring, and the upheaval the team has gone through in the past year.
At the end of a 16-15 season in 2011-12, two guards transferred, Ron Everhart was fired and Ferry was brought in.
Left with no true ball-handlers, Ferry and his staff landed a class for this year in a very short window, bringing in swingman Quevyn Winters of Milwaukee, Wis., and three guards: freshmen Derrick Colter of Largo, Md., and Jeremiah Jones of Gary, Ind., and junior college transfer Marvin Binney of Toronto, Ontario.
Transfer Ovie Soko, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward from Alabama-Birmingham, signed for next fall and will sit out this season.
Ferry recently got a commitment from Isaiah Watkins, a Canadian power forward, for next year's class.
And according to a source, Ferry has another three-star recruit on campus today: shooting guard Rene Castro of Milton, Mass. Castro was ranked by ESPN as the 44th best shooting guard in the class of 2013.
With practice set to begin in just two weeks, Ferry said there will be little attention paid to the poll.
"We just have to focus on getting better. Everything is brand new, offensive philosophy, defensive philosophy, the times we practice," he said. "You have to have focus on what's in front of you every day. That's making sure you get better every single day."
The Dukes begin the season Nov. 9 at Albany.
No Duquesne players were chosen for the preseason offensive, defensive or all-rookie teams.duquesnesports
Jenn Menendez: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1959 and Twitter @JennMenendez.