PROVIDENCE – Standing on the basketball courts at Corliss Park one day last week, David Duke hooped it up for some Q&A that delved into new PC Friar teammates and what it personally means to give back to the youth in his hometown.
Question: You’ve had the chance to practice with (grad transfer) Luwane Pipkins, known as a ball-dominant player. Have you thought about how Pipkins’ skill set figures to benefit you and the other PC guards?
David Duke: Having another guard on the floor, I think it kind of opens up me and the other guards to play off the ball a little bit and have more of a scorers’ mentality. He’s very good at making plays but he can score, too. I think we’ll complement each other very well. Playing pickup, it’s looked really good.
Q: Playing as the combo guard, is that a role that better suits you?
DD: I love playing downhill and being able to make plays in transition. We probably play our best basketball when we’re in transition. To have an extra point guard can help us push the ball and will allow me to run the wing and to get to the basket or find myself running to the corners for shots.
Q: Two short years ago, you were undecided heading into the July evaluation period, known as an important recruiting month. What advice would you give to the prospects as they embark on a key stretch where plenty of eyeballs will be glued to their every move?
DD: Stay level-headed. Don’t get too high or too low, but also trust your gut. Don’t be fazed by the school’s name and trust that the coach is going to tell you exactly how it’s going to be. You’re blessed to be in the position you’re in – to be recruited to play college basketball and have the opportunity to receive a free education. There’s no reason to be stressed about anything. At the end of the day, coaches are offering you a scholarship for a reason.
Q: Let’s turn our attention to next month’s Pan-Am Games. How much are you looking forward to heading to Peru with several of your Providence teammates and your head coach?
DD: I’ve never been to Peru, but I’ve heard it’s pretty hot over there. To get to travel with so many of the guys and my coach … we’ll have fun for sure but it’s a chance for all of us to become better connected on the court and build some chemistry. Plus, we’ll be with other talented Big East players who we’ve played against. For now, we’re on the same team. Obviously during the season, we’re going to be battling. It’ll be fun.
Q: What does it mean to have the chance to represent the United States of America in an international setting?
DD: It’s big. Just having the flag on your uniform and knowing you’re playing for a whole country instead of a school, it’s a much bigger stage.
Q: Did you catch PC teammate A.J. Reeves interviewing hip-hop artist Snoop Dogg on the red carpet at the recent premiere of the documentary done about New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman?
DD: That was very cool. Snoop Dogg is a legend. A.J. did a great job. That will stay with him the rest of his life and something he can someday tell his grandkids.
Q: Have you had the chance to scan over the Friars’ 2019 non-conference slate and what’s your biggest takeaway about the pre-Big East schedule?
DD: We’re going to be traveling a lot but I like to travel (Note: PC will play non-conference games in four different states). You don’t get to do it a lot, but we’re going to be playing a lot of very good teams which in turn figures to benefit us.
Q: Besides the two practice courts, what is your favorite feature of the Ruane Friar Development Center?
DD: You always have a good feeling walking in there because it’s a new building, but you also know it’s there for a reason because of the success that Providence has had. You see all the murals that are dedicated to past players and the successful teams. It’s a very cool thing.
Q: You’re a Providence native. What does it mean for you to spend time at a basketball clinic where the campers are also from Providence?
DD: Honestly, I really don’t know how to explain it. When I was little, I was at camps just like this. A few years ago, I was working these camps as a summer counselor. I would see people come talk to the kids. Now I’m the one who’s doing the talking. It’s kind of funny how everything worked out. As someone who was once in their position, you always hope for the best. but you never know. To be able to do this is really a good feeling.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03