1. Guards gaining experience
The Dukes lost their entire backcourt in the tumult of the spring and will turn to a combination of sophomore Marvin Binney, a junior-college transfer, and freshman Derrick Colter to run the court. The duo's ability to lead the team and run Ferry's offense is paramount, as is the need for one to emerge as the season turns the corner into Atlantic10 Conference play. Neither player has Division I experience, which showed in an exhibition game last week. Binney may have the edge when it comes to distributing the ball and playing sound defense, but Colter has an upside that can't be ignored.
2. More effective rebounding
This was a weakness for Duquesne in Ron Everhart's system, and Ferry has contended his team will be among the better rebounders in the league. That has been music to the ears of the team's big men, whose effectiveness was limited in the team's transition game over the past few years. Look for senior forward Andre Marhold, junior Jerry Jones and sophomore Kadeem Pantophlet to make an impact here.
3. Adjustments all around
This is clearly a transition year for the Dukes and new coach Jim Ferry, who spent the past 10 years coaching Long Island University-Brooklyn in the Northeast Conference. Making matters worse, the difficult A-10 got considerably tougher with the addition of VCU and Butler. This team will take its lumps this year, but if players buy into Ferry and his system, it will bode well for the future. To do that, Ferry needs senior guard Sean Johnson and Marhold -- his only two seniors -- to be leaders. He has stressed that fact multiple times, and the need is obvious.