Duquesne big man Andre Marhold has responded well to coach Jim Ferry's tough love.
By Paul Zeise Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
After a 22-point blowout loss Feb. 5 against George Washington, Duquesne coach Jim Ferry blasted his team's lack of effort, called into question the leadership of some upperclassmen and called out senior post player Andre Marhold, saying "he has given us nothing for quite a long time."
It was that last bit -- calling out a player publicly -- that got some people's attention because coaches ordinarily don't go that route. But Ferry has been a straight shooter since he arrived and was being honest about why Marhold was no longer a starter.
Marhold, however, had no problem with what Ferry said because he knew he wasn't getting the job done and needed a wake-up call.
"I was OK with it because I am not good at communicating things often and, sometimes, I probably don't always hear what people are saying," Marhold said, then laughed. "But me sitting on the bench and hearing my coach say I am not helping the team, well, that's a good way to get my attention."
Clearly, Ferry's motivational tactic worked because Marhold had an excellent game in the loss against Xavier last Saturday and earned his way back into the starting lineup for the Dukes stunning, 84-83 win Thursday night at Temple.
In fact, since Ferry called him out, Marhold has been the Dukes' best player. He scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds against the Musketeers and posted 15 points and 15 rebounds against the Owls.
Matchup: Duquesne (8-16, 1-9 Atlantic 10) vs. Rhode Island (7-16, 2-9), 7 p.m. today, Palumbo Center.
Radio: WPGB-FM (104.7).
Duquesne: Ended an 11-game losing streak Thursday with 84-83 win at Temple. ... Andre Marhold has scored 24 points and grabbed 25 rebounds in past two games. ... Marhold started against Temple after being a reserve for several weeks. ... Average 12.6 turnovers per game.
Rhode Island: Ended 6-game losing streak with a 75-72 win Wednesday against Dayton. ... Leading scorer is Xavier Munford (17.5 ppg). ... Leads series with Duquesne, 28-24, but is 11-12 in games in Pittsburgh. ... Won a thriller, 77-76, in 2011 in last trip here.
Hidden stat: Duquesne has lost five home games in a row; Rhode Island has lost three consecutive road games.
Marhold also had three blocked shots in the waning moments of the Temple game, and they were huge as the Dukes won by one point. Every possession was crucial.
He said that as soon as he heard Ferry's comments he knew his coach was right and decided to make the necessary changes to his attitude and work habits to ensure that he could finish his senior year the right way and help his team win some games down the stretch.
"I just used Coach's comments as motivation, decided I needed to take a look in the mirror and see what it was that I could do better," Marhold said. "I just knew that I needed to change, go back to being that leader, getting our guys hyped and ready, working hard at practice, doing everything in my power to make changes so that I can become not just a better player but also a better person.
"I feel like I know what he is talking about, he wants us not just to play hard but to make plays as well. My mentality has changed. Now, I am thinking in terms of making plays.
"Really, it was on me, I know that, and I just want to make sure that I keep working hard and really improving and being a leader the rest of the way here."
Marhold will start tonight when Duquesne (8-16, 1-8 Atlantic 10) plays host to Rhode Island (7-16, 2-8). He said he plans on being a starter the rest of the way.
"I need to keep this going," he said. "Just working hard and being a leader and helping us win games, that's where my focus needs to be."
The win against Temple broke an 11-game losing streak, but Marhold said that is behind the Dukes, who are now trying to mount a winning streak.
"We experienced a big win before -- against West Virginia -- then got all happy and came out the next game flat and got blown out of the gym by team we could beat [Robert Morris], so we know what that is like and aren't going to do that again," Marhold said. "Guys got a taste of winning and want more, and there were a lot of guys in [Friday] early watching film, working out and getting focused on our next game.
"I know we are going to come out ready to play and play as hard on defense as we did against Temple and, if we do that and rebound, we will have a great chance to win."