With the freshmen and the lone transfer now out of the way, we're on to previewing returning Duquesne players. From here on out, I'll be highlighting players in order based on how many points per game they averaged last season.
Today, we're on to junior big man Darius Lewis.
What we know: Lewis was the Dukes' starting center for much of the season, playing in all 31 games and starting in 21 of them. Despite those starts, he averaged just 14.7 minutes per game.
|Pts/game||Reb/game||Min/game||Blks/game||Block %||FG %||Off. rating|
(NOTE: Offensive rating, as referenced before on this blog, is basically an overall measure of a player's offensive efficiency. Frank Kaminsky led Division I in the category last season at 126.2).
Lewis is a big body who's still developing something of a feel for the game, both from a more technical standpoint (touch around the basket, post moves, footwork, etc.) and a conditioning standpoint, the latter of which is one reason why his minutes-per-game numbers aren't higher. Lewis' offensive numbers aren't bad and his block numbers are quite good, especially after he recorded seven swats in the win against Saint Louis in the A-10 tournament, a record for a Duquesne sophomore. He's pretty solid on the boards, too, pulling down 16.2 percent of available defensive rebounds and 6.6 percent of offensive rebounds.
The biggest knock on his resume is undeniably his hometown of Lexington, Ky. Some people mockingly refer to it as a one-horse town, but that's nonsense -- there are a ton of horses there.
What to expect: Since we're dealing exclusively with returning players now, a.k.a guys who had some kind of body of work last season, we get to deal with a new wrinkle to these previews. On Ken Pomeroy's college basketball analytics site, KenPom.com, each Division I player, based on their statistics in a given season, have comparisons to other players from other single seasons.
Darius Lewis in 2015, for example, was comparable to Indiana State forward/center TJ Bell in 2015, UC-Santa Barbara forward Sam Beeler in 2014 and a few others I'll delve into in a chart below. Excluding Bell, who compiled those numbers just last season, here are how those players fared in the following season, to give a rough idea of how Lewis, if he keeps up his current trajectory, may fare.
|Pts/game||Reb/game||Min/game||Blk/game||FG %||Blk %||D Reb %|
|Sam Beeler, UCSB, 2015||2.0||2.2||9.0||0.6||49.2||8.1||19.3|
|Jon Pack, Coast. Carolina, 2011||2.2||2.1||7.9||0.3||55.8||4.3||16.6|
|Gus Leeper, UALR, 2014||4.2||2.8||15.9||0.7||39.3||4.9||10.0|
These comparisons are far from ironclad when it comes to Lewis' production in 2015-16 and, frankly, I don't see him matching the profile of any of those guys. He'll be getting double the minutes of guys like Beeler and Pack and barring a major slip in efficiency, he'll have much better shooting, block and rebound numbers than Leeper.
I don't envision Lewis being a major contributor on this team, but he started much of last year and he's a player who has been used in promotional photos heading into this year. He's clearly going to have some kind of presence. For a frontcourt [there's an edit here; I originally wrote 'backcourt' because I am an easily confused and flustered man] lacking in proven talent, though, he's part of a convoluted group of guys who, at this point, seem about even based on what they did last season. My best guess is he improves on his numbers last season and is a part of a regular, 3-4 man rotation down low. Anything more would come from a large, unexpected leap from what he's proven two seasons into his career.