Discipline shows up early in Ferry's program for Dukes

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DAYTON, Ohio -- Junior Jerry Jones made the trip to Dayton but did not dress for Duquesne as he was suspended for an undisclosed "violation of team rules."

A few days earlier, when the Dukes lost to Saint Louis at Palumbo Center, senior starting center Andre Marhold was benched because he was not showing appropriate leadership and work ethic, according to Duquesne coach Jim Ferry.

And after that game, Ferry made it clear that Marhold was healthy and available but did not get in the game and wouldn't be getting into games until he improves in those two areas.

Ferry hopes that these disciplinary actions and some of the other ones he has had to hand out will set the tone and send a message about the level of commitment and work ethic it takes to play in his program.

"I don't know what was done before I got here, but I know what I want, I know what this program is going to be about and I know how I do things," he said. "This program is bigger than any one person, accountability is one of the biggest things and that is just how I run my program.

"There are consequences, there has to be. I have learned from each of these situations. Kids have been held accountable as long as I have been the coach and hopefully we have learned from these situations."

Ferry said Duquesne, 7-13 overall, 0-6 in the Atlantic 10 Conference, always will be one that is built on the foundation of accountability and discipline because he believes it is his job as an educator and a coach to not just teach players basketball, but also life lessons.

But he also said that distractions such as players getting into trouble and getting suspended disrupts the flow of a team and makes it difficult to have success.

"It is not good when you have distractions," Ferry said. "When you are establishing a program, you have to establish the right way to do things and that is what we are doing to a degree, but the bottom line is this is how I do things and it is how we will do things.

"I know that everyone knows what is expected of them -- the rules were very clearly stated and everyone knows how it goes and what the consequences are if you don't follow the rules."

Duquesne is mired in an eight-game losing streak, including its first six games in the Atlantic 10.

Ferry said his frustration has been that in each of those eight games, they have played well for stretches -- sometimes long stretches -- but have not been able to maintain that throughout an entire game and as a result they have lost some games they had a chance to win.

Saturday, after a 72-56 loss to the Flyers, Ferry talked a lot about the slim margin of error the Dukes have when it comes to winning and losing games, and he said that the team has to play a near-perfect game in order to be in position to win.

But the bottom line is this year is about establishing a foundation for a program that is based on the right principles on and off the court, and that is part of the growing pains of a coach in his first year with the program.

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Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com; Twitter: @paulzeise.


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