Derrick Colter has had an excellent freshman season as the Duquesne point guard, and, by all accounts, has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations of coach Jim Ferry.
Colter leads the Dukes in scoring (13.4 points per game), minutes (32.1 per game) and assists (155), and is second in steals (24). His assist total is the second most by a freshman in program history.
Colter has had huge games -- 24 points and six rebounds in a win against Western Michigan Dec. 19 -- and played far more minutes in most games than Ferry would like for a freshman. And, Colter has done all this without hitting the so-called "freshman wall."
So there is no question Colter, the three-time Atlantic 10 freshman of the week, has had a brilliant season and been the Dukes best and, frankly, most important player.
Duquesne (8-21, 1-14 Atlantic 10) vs. Richmond (17-13, 7-8), 6 p.m. today, Robins Center, Richmond, Va.
Has lost five in a row and 16 of past 17 games. ??? Is 2-11 in road games this season. ... Freshmen Derrick Colter (338 points), Quevyn Winters (275) and Jeremiah Jones (229) each have scored more than 200 points, the first time three freshmen have accomplished that in the same season at Duquesne. ... The trio has accounted for 45 percent of Duquesne's points ... the highest percentage of points scored by freshmen in school history.
Is 14-2 at home this season. ... Leads series against Duquesne, 14-9. ... Has won 9 of the past 10 against the Dukes ... Is 7-4 in games played in Richmond against Duquesne.
- Hidden stat:
Richmond gets outrebounded by an average of 6.1 rebounds per game.
But that's only individual accolades, and Colter is not happy with how the season has gone for the Dukes, who have lost their past five games and 16 out of their past 17 to sit in last place in the Atlantic 10 (8-21, 1-14).
Colter said the Dukes have a lot of work to do in the offseason because the only statistical category that matters to him is wins and losses, and he can't handle many more losses.
"Next year, it won't be like this," Colter said. "We all have to commit to working hard, to working on our bodies and getting stronger, to working on our games and to get better every day in the offseason. That's really what we need to do, use the offseason to get better every day.
"I had some good numbers this year, but Coach always says we are measured by how we do as a team, so we all have to work hard this offseason because we can't have another year like this."
Although Colter spoke of what he and his teammates need to do in the offseason, the Dukes still have one more game to go this season -- today against Richmond at Robins Center.
This is actually a must-win for Richmond (17-13, 7-8), as the Spiders are in a four-way tie for ninth place in the Atlantic 10 and need to beat the Dukes to clinch a spot in the conference tournament.
There are scenarios in which the Spiders could lose and still make the tournament, but Colter knows the Dukes will get Richmond's best shot.
"They are a good team, they lost a couple of tough ones," Colter said. "But they are fighting to get into the A-10 tournament so they aren't going to come out and be sluggish. We need to be ready to play, we need to be ready to play from the jump and play as hard as we can.
"The one thing they do very well is switch a lot on defense. They are aggressive that way so we need to try and catch them in some of those switches and get some layups."
The Dukes will have to be mentally tough and find a way to pick themselves up after a heartbreaking overtime loss Wednesday to Charlotte in their final home game.
Colter said that loss stings but the Dukes have been good at moving past tough losses.
"Coach always talks about character," Colter said. "We have to show great character and play with great character and that means when things don't go well, we have to find a way. We know we missed free throws and that was basically the story of that game, but it doesn't matter now. We can't change it. We can only do our best in this game."
Paul Zeise: email@example.com and Twitter @paulzeise.