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Gore thrives as Haskell’s top player, earns conference honorable mention

Duelle Gore takes a shot during a game against Baker University in the 2015-16 season. Gore, a senior, led Haskell Indian Nations University this season in several categories, including scoring.  (Photo courtesy of Ryan Coody)
Duelle Gore takes a shot during a game against Baker University in the 2015-16 season. Gore, a senior, led Haskell Indian Nations University this season in several categories, including scoring. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Coody)

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Asked if there was anything Duelle Gore did not do for his team this season, Haskell Indian Nations University men’s basketball coach Matthew Downing could only think of one minor task.

“He didn’t sweep the floor,” Downing joked.

Gore was Haskell’s Superman this season. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound senior guard/forward from Brighton and Hollywood led the team in nearly every category at both ends of the court.

Gore finished his final college season in February as Haskell’s leader in points, 3-pointers, free throws, defensive rebounds, overall rebounds, blocks, steals and other departments. Despite playing the most minutes on the team and being so active on the boards, Gore avoided foul trouble. He was fifth on the team in fouls.

Downing described Gore as a “nightmare for a lot of teams” to play against. In addition to his defensive prowess, Gore’s quickness, size and ability to score from beyond the arc and down low created matchup headaches.

“He was definitely a problem for other teams,” Downing said.

Gore averaged 19 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. After Haskell finished its season with a 7-20 record, he was named an honorable mention selection by the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.).

“I think if we had won some more games he would have been higher on the all-conference selection,” Downing said.

Early in the season, Haskell’s first-year coach determined Gore would be the go-to guy, a role Gore grew to cherish as he became a beacon of consistency with 24 games of double-digit point production.

“I did everything I could to help the team win,” Gore said. “I like the pressure. Last year I was more of a second option.”

Last year’s “second option” turned into this year’s star, which perhaps shined no brighter in Lawrence, Kansas than on Dec. 12 in Haskell’s 94-83 win against William Woods University.

Gore scored a season-high 33 points in a dazzling shooting performance, which included 10-of-16 from the field and 11-of-12 from the foul line. He also grabbed six rebounds, dished out five assists and made two blocks in an outing that helped him earn A.I.I. player of the week.

“He set the tone from the start that he would be a load to handle,” Downing said. “In that game, there wasn’t much he didn’t do.”

Haskell struggled early in the season with just two victories in the first 11 games but finished on a high note thanks to two wins in its final three games. Gore, who was joined by his mother, Claudia Gore, for the team’s senior night ceremony, drained a team-high 23 points and had six steals in the season finale, an 84-64 win against Crowley’s Ridge College.

“I had a blast,” Gore said about the season. “We played a lot of good competition. Our record doesn’t show how we improved from beginning to end.”

Gore departed his collegiate career in style. He averaged 25 points in his final five games, including 30 against Central Christian College in early February.

Gore’s improvement by more than six points per game compared to his junior year can be traced from the gymnasiums on the Hollywood Reservation – where he practices with his stepbrothers Trewston, Ty and Todd Pierce – to his home away from home: Haskell’s Tony Coffin Sports Complex.

“He was a constant gym rat all year,” Downing said.

With aspirations of playing professional basketball, Gore said he spends two hours in the gym each morning before classes and two to four hours every evening to hone his game and condition.

“I want to play basketball for as long as I can,” said Gore, 23, who plans to participate in Las Vegas showcases in front of scouts and agents.

Depending on his basketball situation, the American Indian studies major said he could graduate this fall.

“It’s a matter of timing. I’d love to finish school,” he said.

Regardless of his next step on the basketball court, Gore’s footprint at Haskell will not be easy to replace, Downing said.

“We’ll miss him next year,” Downing said. “This year he understood that he was part of a foundation that will move forward in a positive way.”

 

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