Duquesne's Bolding still getting back to form
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Coming back from injury, and being well enough to play, is one thing.
Getting back to full strength is quite another.
Duquesne sophomore guard Melquan Bolding is caught somewhere in the middle.
"I'd say I'm about 85 percent," he said Tuesday at practice. "I'm frustrated. I know where I was in the offseason because I worked so hard. Then the first game I came out and got hurt."
After missing 13 games because of a broken wrist in the season-opener Nov. 13 against Nicholls State and the subsequent surgery, it would seem Bolding is drawing closer to the player he was at the end of last season for the Dukes.
• Game: Duquesne (10-9, 1-4 A-10) vs. Xavier (13-6, 5-1), 7:05 p.m. today, Cintas Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.
• TV, radio, Internet: CBS College Sports National; KQV-AM (1410); GoDuquesne.com.
• Duquesne: Snapped a five-game losing streak with a 70-69 win Saturday against St. Bonaventure. ... Guard Jason Duty, the lone senior on the team, is shooting .500 from the field in conference play, including 5 for 9 (.556) from the 3-point arc.
• Xavier: Sophomore Jordan Crawford, a transfer from Indiana, leads the Atlantic 10 with a 19.1 average. ... The Musketeers have shot better than 50 percent eight times this season; just one team (IUPUI, 27 of 54) has reached 50 percent against the Dukes.
• Hidden stat: Xavier has won its past 27 A-10 games at the Cintas Center and is 65-10 in conference play at the venue.
Bolding, part of the conference's all-rookie squad last year, is scheduled to play his sixth game since the injury as Duquesne (10-9, 1-4) travels to Xavier (13-6, 5-1) tonight for a critical Atlantic 10 Conference showdown.
And he's coming off a flash of brilliance. He hit a 3-pointer from the corner Saturday with 3.4 seconds remaining to give the Dukes a 70-69 victory against a St. Bonaventure team that had fought back from a 15-point halftime deficit.
Simply put, things are starting to take shape again for Bolding.
"He is an all-Atlantic 10 kind of player," St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt said. "He is really athletic. Watching him on tape, it didn't look like his legs and his timing were there the same way they were at the end of last season, the way he had that explosiveness. But what he gives Duquesne right now, even though he might not be back all the way, is another athletic, very good player on a team that isn't extremely deep.
"And he's only going to get healthier and better."
There have been times since Bolding returned after the layoff to play 14 minutes Jan. 6 against Richmond where he has, admittedly, looked out of sorts.
There have been the defensive lapses where he has failed to rotate to the correct spot.
There have been the times in the backcourt when he has mishandled the ball.
There have been a few mental mistakes, when he didn't know where he needed to be in certain sets.
But it is coming back to him now, a gradual learning process where he is meshing again with his teammates.
Bolding has been able to get back at it because of what he did on the treadmill and in terms of general conditioning while out with the wrist injury.
"I'm in shape," he insisted. "Even when I had surgery on my hand, I was still working out. But it is just the timing that is totally different, up and down. But you get tired. Once you start playing again, you get back used to it."
Xavier coach Chris Mack understands how much tougher this game became now that Bolding's contributions to the Dukes have begun to steadily increase.
"There is no question how good he is, he was really good against us last year," Mack said of Bolding. "He can do a little bit of everything for them and he does a little bit of everything for them. Anytime you bring a kid back who was on the all-rookie team, that can only help you. When you get players back, when you get a player like Melquan Bolding back, you can start to develop who you are as a team.
"Getting Melquan back for them only adds to what Duquesne already was."
First Published January 28, 2010 12:00 am