Now that the 07-08 season is over for the Dukes the focus is on recruiting and other issues for the program. As the Duquesne coaching staff recruits potential prospects they have to sell Duquesne University and the basketball program, and one of the biggest negatives about coming to Duquesne is the A.J. Palumbo Center. The Palumbo is old, (it was built in 1988), small (has a capacity of 5,358), and lacks the amenities of newer arenas in Pittsburgh and at other Atlantic 10 schools. When a recruit has been to Temple's beautiful 10,000 seat Liacouras Center or Pitt's 12,000 seat Petersen Events Center (pictured below) that features five courtside luxury suites, six club suites, six loge suites, 193 supersuite seats, and five building levels the A.J. Palumbo Center looks like a dump. More than half of the seating at the Palumbo Center is still bleacher seating after all.
An artists rendering of the planned Penguins Arena
- The Pens arena will be a brand new arena used primarily by a pro team with all of the accompanying amenities and luxuries.
- The Pens arena is extremely close to Duquesne's campus making it easy for students to travel from campus to the facility.
- The Pens arena will be sold out for every Pens game and tickets to Pens games are extremely expensive. By playing some or all of Duquesne's games at the new arena it will allow sports fans in Pittsburgh an opportunity to see the new facility while also exposing them to Duquesne's basketball program which is on the upswing.
- The Pens arena has an 18,500 seat capacity. Duquesne can't fill their own 5,300 seat facility, more than 3/4 of the Pens arena would be empty if Duquesne played there.
- Two years ago Duquesne invested 2 million dollars into renovating the AJ Palumbo Center, why would the University want to move the arena's main attraction, (the basketball team), out of the facility?
This is a difficult spot for Duquesne. I'd love for the Dukes to play at least one home game a season at the Pens new arena, preferably a against a big time opponent. Duquesne needs to make a decision, either make a major commitment to renovating and updating the Palumbo Center or start fund raising and planning for a brand new state of the art facility.