Former Pitt And Duquesne Players Recall Memories Of The Annual City Game
Anticipation is rising as the University of Pittsburgh Panthers and Duquesne University Dukes basketball teams clash in the annual City Game on Friday night, a Pittsburgh tradition which dates back to 1932. With so much at stake for bragging rights, former Pitt point guard and current assistant coach Brandin Knight, and former Duquesne forward, Robert Morris University coach, and now color commentator for Duke’s basketball radio broadcasts Jarrett Durham previewed the matchup with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer.
Having played for Duquesne in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Durham says that a lot of the rivalry, despite the schools simply being within close geographic proximity, is rooted in summer league matchups that date back to the 1950s. Knight added that because the schools are so close, players from opposing teams have been able to develop relationships with each other through pick-up games and simply sharing city grounds.
“This is a great opportunity to go out and put a little bit more intensity into a basketball game,” Durham said.
Knight noted that while it is an intense rivalry, the game has become more about finesse and embracing competition, rather than trash talking and rough play.
“It’s not the nature of the athlete today,” Knight explained. “There’s no room for that. Everything is just sportsmanship and gamesmanship.”
Although the Pitt Panthers have had the upper hand in the past few years, Durham is confident in this year’s Duquesne team with their impressive talent and depth.
“For Duquesne to be successful, they’re going to have to come out, and their best players are going to have to play well,” Durham said. “Pitt undoubtedly is the best team they’ve played thus far, and it will require that type of an effort.”
Knight said even though they’ve dominated in recent years, that the goal of the Pitt basketball team is not to undermine and bully the Dukes, but rather to make a name for themselves by means of friendly competition.
“It makes for a better game when it’s that competitive,” Knight says, “There’s a little more at stake when there’s some bragging rights on the line, and this is something to be talked about for years moving forward.”
The Panthers and Dukes will square off in The City Game Friday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.
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