Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Top Ten Teams in Duquesne Athletics History

  Sometime next week, Dukes Chat will unveil the next of its countdowns -- the Top Ten Teams in Duquesne Athletics History.

  Feel free to comment and/or debate.

(Image: Duquesne University Football Team, Copyright Duquesne University)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Championship Passion Filled With Duquesne Connections

  The Pittsburgh Passion, Pittsburgh's National Women's Football Association team, was recently crowned league champions after an undefeated season.
  The team's players and management come from all over the Pittsburgh area, and some of these people have a close connection with Duquesne University.
  Jayne Beatty, the Pittsburgh Passion's general manager, is the throws coach for Duquesne Track & Field, Jen Cairns, a Passion running back, is a former Duquesne swimmer and lacrosse player with a degree from the university (B.A.), Kara Prentice, the team's co-community relations director, is also a Duquesne graduate (M.B.A., M.S.) and Sarah Young, who plays offensive line, is a Duquesne Pharm.D. recipient.
  Cairns is also officially sponsored by Duquesne University Athletics.

(Image: Pittsburgh Passion Logo, Copyright Pittsburgh Passion)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Foreign Tour

  To get a jump start on the 2007-08 men's basketball season, Duquesne University Athletics will take advantage of an NCAA rule that allows it to schedule a preseason out-of-country tour every four years.
  In preparation for four games in three days against teams in Canada from September 1-3, the Dukes began practice yesterday a full week before they normally would be allowed (in a standard NCAA season).
  Though newcomers Bill Clark, Brandon Harris, Ricky Jackson and David Theis are not permitted to participate in team workouts until the first day of classes on August 27, transfers Stuard Baldonado, Shawn James and Kojo Mensah have already joined the nine returnees from the 2006-07 Dukes and are eligible already for full participation. The nine returnees include Kieron Achara, who was invited to try out for the Great Britain National Team in late July but did not make the final cut for the 12-man team. He will be with the Dukes for the Canadian tour and its accompanying team workouts.
  The Dukes' opponents north-of-the-border will be the University of Toronto (Sept. 1), Ryerson University (Sept. 2 - Game 1), Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (Sept. 2 - Game 2) and the University of Waterloo (Sept. 3).
  All four of the games will be broadcast live on the Internet by Ray Goss, the "Voice of the Dukes." Fans may listen to the games by going to the Red Zone Media Web site. A link is provided to the right of this Web page.

(Image: The National Flag of Canada, Copyright Department of Canadian Heritage)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 1 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Sihugo Green, Men's Basketball - Men's basketball is not the only sport played at Duquesne University, but men's basketball is the sport that matters most at Duquesne. This is why Green, the greatest basketball player in Duquesne Athletics History, is the greatest athlete in Duquesne history.
  The man's career was nothing short of fantastic. He was an Associated Press Second-Team and First-Team All-American in 1955 and 1956, respectively.
  Without Green, who led the 1954-55 Dukes in total points, Duquesne simply would never have won the National Invitation Tournament in 1955, the greatest accomplishment in Duquesne Athletics history. Green's contributions to the team during the 1954-55 season and more led Duquesne Basketball to retire his No. 11 in 2001 and place him in the Duquesne Athletics Hall of Fame in 1973. The annual Duquesne Men's Basketball award given to the top upperclassman on the roster is even named the Sihugo Green Award.
  The media truly understood how great Green was in those days, as he was once featured on the cover of SPORT magazine, and Milton Gross, of the New York Post, even had the following to say about Green following his game-high 33 points in the 1955 NIT Final.
  "Si Green, at 6-2, must be the best college basketball player in the country today. In a sense, he is to college basketball what Ray Robinson was to boxing -- the best fighter pound for pound."
  Green was selected first overall by the Rochester Royals in the 1956 NBA Draft following his collegiate career -- one pick ahead of the legendary Bill Russell -- and enjoyed a long NBA career. He played for the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals (later the Kansas City-Omaha, then the Kansas City and now the Sacramento Kings) for all of the 1956-57 season and part of the 1958-59 season, for the St. Louis (now Atlanta) Hawks for part of the 1958-59 season, all of the 1959-60 and 1960-61 seasons and part of the 1961-62 season, for the Chicago Packers/Zephyrs/Baltimore Bullets (later the Capital/Washington Bullets and now the Washington Wizards) for part of the 1961-62 season and all of the 1962-63, 1963-64 and 1964-65 seasons and for the Boston Celtics for the 1965-66 season.

(Image: Sihugo Green on the cover of an issue of SPORT magazine, Copyright Duquesne University)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 2 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Dick Ricketts, (Men's Basketball, Baseball) - Ricketts is another two-sport star in the history of Duquesne University Athletics.
  His collegiate basketball career truly speaks for itself on both a team and individual level.
  First and foremost, Ricketts was the captain of Duquesne's 1955 NIT title-winning team, and he was named an Associated Press First-Team All-American that year. (He was named an AP Second-Team All-American in 1954.)
  Ricketts also holds many Duquesne Men's Basketball records. To this day, he holds the team records for most free throws made in a game, most free throws made in a game without a miss -- he went 19-for-19 in game during the 1954-55 season -- most points in a season by a sophomore, most rebounds in a season, most rebounds per game in a season, most rebounds in a career, most starts in a career (tied), most free throws made in a career, most consecutive free throws made and most points in a career.
  His success in college landed him the first overall selection by the Milwaukee/St. Louis Hawks in the 1955 NBA Draft. He played for the Hawks for part of the 1955-56 season and for the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals for part of the 1955-56 season and all of the 1956-57 and 1957-58 seasons.
  What truly propels Ricketts to No. 2 on the Duquesne All-Time Greatest Athletes countdown though is his two-sport versatility. Many athletes can claim stardom in multiple sports during college, but Ricketts was such an accomplished baseball player (in addition to his basketball abilities) that he made it all the way to Major League Baseball as a member of the 1959 St. Louis Cardinals.

(Image: Dick Ricketts, Copyright Duquesne University)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 3 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Norm Nixon, (Men's Basketball) - Nixon is yet another former Duquesne University basketball star that made mis mark not only in college but also in the major professional ranks.
  A Duquesne Athletics Hall of Fame inductee in 1982, Nixon's No. 10 was retired by Duquesne Basketball in 2001. Perhaps his biggest acomplishments though, both team and individual, came as part of Duquesne's 1976-77 season. The Dukes were the Eastern Collegiate Basketball League (the forerunner to the Eastern Athletic Association -- now known as the Atlantic Ten Conference) champions that season, and Nixon was honored as the conference's 1977 Player of the Year and conference championship's Most Outstanding Player.
  The 1977 basketball title is the lone Atlantic Ten postseason championship in Duquesne Basketball history and was the only postseason Atlantic Ten team championship of any kind for the university until 2005.
  Nixon still holds the Duquesne Men's Basketball record for field goals made in a career, assists in a season, assists per game in a season -- he actually holds the top three spots in that category's place in the record books -- assists in a career and assists per game in a career.
  His outstanding collegiate career led Nixon to the longest-tenured NBA career of any Duquesne alumnus.
  He was a first-round selection by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1977 NBA Draft and was a member of the NBA All-Rookie team in 1978. A two-time NBA All-Star, he was a starter for the Lakers' world championship teams of the NBA's 1979-80 and 1981-82 seasons.
  An ironman and a multi-dimensional player, Nixon led the NBA in minutes played for the 1979-80 season and steals for the 1978-79 season.

(Image: Norm Nixon, Copyright Duquesne University)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 4 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Willie Somerset, (Men's Basketball) - Somerset is simply one of the best basketball players in the history of Duquesne University.
  His No. 24 is retired by Duquesne Basketball, and he was inducted into the Duquesne Athletics Hall of Fame in 1975.
  Some of Somerset's Duquesne Men's Basketball records: most points as a junior, most career 30-point games, most consecutive 30-point games and highest career points per game (22.7, which is 2.9 points higher than second place). He also scored more points in three seasons than any other player in team history.
  Somerset's ABA/NBA career lasted three seasons; he played for the NBA's Baltimore Bullets (now the Washington Wizards) for the 1965-66 season, for the ABA's Houston Mavericks (later known as the Carolina Cougars and then the Spirits of St. Louis) for the 1967-68 season and part of the 1968-69 season and for the ABA's New York (now NBA's New Jersey) Nets for part of the 1968-69 season.
  He was an ABA All-Star with the Mavericks for the 1968-69 season.

(Image: Willie Somerset Cartoon, Copyright Duquesne University)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

MacKenzie a Hermann Trophy Candidate

  Duquesne University Soccer player Travis MacKenzie has been named to the 29-man watch list for this season's male version of the Hermann Trophy.
  The trophy represents the Missouri Athletic Club's Player of the Year, a title given annually to both the top NCAA Division I male and female soccer player. The award is also sponsored by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
  Past Player of the Year honorees include Alexi Lalas and Mia Hamm, among many other notables.
  MacKenzie hails from Carnegie, PA. He will be a senior for Duquesne Men's Soccer this season.

(Image: Travis MacKenzie, Copyright Duquesne University)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 5 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Aldo "Buff" Donelli, (Football, Men's Soccer) - Donelli was a true two-sport star in his day.
  A charter member of the Duquesne University Athletics Hall of Fame, Donelli was a standout football player at Duquesne, captaining the university's 9-0-1 team in 1929. But as good as his football career was, he was an even better soccer player.
  Donelli is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, and what follows is an excerpt from the Hall's Web site: "[Donelli] played American football for Duquesne University from 1926 to 1929, at first at center and then as a running back. In the 1930s, he began playing for [a] local soccer team in Curry, and it was while he was with [that team] that he was selected for the 1934 U.S. World Cup team [in Italy].
  "In Italy, he scored four goals against Mexico in the qualifying game and the lone U.S. goal against Italy in the first round. One year later, he was a guest player with the New York Americans when they toured Mexico. He came out of soccer retirement in 1943 to play for Morgan Strasser in the 1944 Open Cup final... at the Polo Grounds."

(Image: Aldo Donelli, Copyright Duquesne University)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 6 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Mike Basrak, (Football) - Basrak, Duquesne Football's first All-American (Associated Press, 1936 season), is Duquesne's greatest football player ever.
  With only one level of major college football in the United States at the time of Basrak's career, he ranks as Duquesne Football's highest-honored player, especially given his MVP performance in the 1937 Orange Bowl.
  His collegiate career led him to a first-round choice (fifth overall) in the 1937 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates (now Steelers), for whom he played for from 1937-1938.

[Image: Mike Basrak, Copyright Bellaire (Oh.) Public Library]

*OPINION PIECE* No. 7 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Korie Hlede, (Women's Basketball) - Hlede is, without a doubt, the greatest female athlete in Duquesne Athletics history. Perhaps no player dominated his/her particular sport more as a Duquesne University athlete than Hlede did as a women's basketball player from 1994-1998.
  A four-time First-Team All-Atlantic Ten Conference player and consistent All-American (as picked by numerous publications and authorities), Hlede has her #25 uniform retired by Duquesne Basketball and is a memeber of the Duquesne Athletics Hall of Fame.
  A fantastic scorer, she holds the Duquesne Women's Basketball records for points in a game, in a season and in a career and scoring average in a season and in a career. Her career total scoring mark bests the second all-time Duquesne Women's Basketball scorer by an astounding 1,300+ points.
  Also an outstanding defensive player, Hlede holds three important Duquesne Women's Basketball defensive records as well -- steals in a game, in a season and in a career.
  Hlede's college success led her to a first-round pick (fourth overall) in the 1998 WNBA Draft by the Detroit Shock. She played for the Shock that year and for part of 1999, for the Utah Starzz (now San Antonio Silver Stars) for part of 1999 and from 2000-2001 and for the New York Liberty in 2002.
  She led the WNBA in three-point field goal percentage in 2000.

(Image: Korie Hlede, Copyright Duquesne University)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 8 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Leigh Bodden, (Football, Men's Outdoor Track & Field) - Though Bodden's contributions to Duquesne Outdoor Track & Field are outstanding -- Atlantic Ten Conference champion in the long jump in 2002 and three school records for men (one as a relay team member) -- it is truly Bodden's football career that makes him one of Duquesne's greatest athletes ever.
  A member of football's four straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship teams from 1999-2002, Bodden holds nearly every Duquesne record for interceptions and was a vital part of Duquesne Football's greatest NCAA Division I-AA team to this point -- the 11-1 2002 Dukes. Consistently, Bodden was also one of the very few I-AA "mid-major" players to garner inclusion on overall I-AA All-American teams, including the Associated Press' First Team for that level.
  As impressive as his college athletics career was, Bodden went undrafted by the NFL, but the Cleveland Browns took a chance on him as a free agent and have been rewarded handsomely. Bodden is currently a starting defensive back for Cleveland and has already accumulated numerous interceptions.
  His debut for the Browns in 2003 marked the first time that a Duquesne Football player competed in the NFL in half of a century.
  He is the gold standard for the modern Duquesne Football player.

(Image: Leigh Bodden, Copyright Duquesne University)