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Next Up - USC Upstate

As an honorable old opponent returns to Cameron as coach

Hercules Tire Big South Conference Tournament - Semifinals
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 05: Head coach Dave Dickerson of the USC Upstate Spartans looks on in the second half during the semifinals of the Hercules Tires Big South Conference basketball tournament against the Longwood Lancers at the Bojangles Coliseum on March 5, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Date 11/11 || Time 6:30 || Venue Cameron Indoor Stadium || Video ACCN ||

You lose track of people over time. It’s human nature; it’s hard to keep up with the people you know, much less people who are notable in general. So it is for Dave Dickerson, who is now head coach at USC-Upstate and has been for the last five years.

Dickerson of course is a former Maryland Terrrapin and had an admirable career there in a very difficult time - he arrived in 1985 and was there when Len Bias died and after Driesell was fired. Those were dark days for Maryland.

He was a respected assistant coach but hasn’t done all that well as a head coach. However, keep in mind that he has worked at Tulane, which has a hit-and-miss history in basketball at best, and now at USC-Upstate.

His career record is sort of bifurcated. He was at Tulane from 2005-2010 and was 68-84. At Upstate where he’s been since 2018, it’s been worse, with a career record of 39-81.

Bear in mind though that he arrived there in 2018 and soon ran into Covid. If you think it was tough to recruit at a place like Duke during the pandemic, imagine how hard it was at a smaller school. And then there were the actual illnesses, the schedule adjustments and so on. So we really think you have to toss at least one year out and, in Dickerson’s case, maybe two.

Last year, his fourth season there, his team finished in third place in the Big South at 15-17.

This year?

Upstate opened with an easy game against D-III Brevard and romped, as you would expect, winning 90-42.

Dickerson has some decent players, starting with last year’s Big South Freshman of the Year Justin Bailey. He shot a very impressive 49.3 percent from three point range last year. He’s a solid player. For some reason, he didn’t start against Brevard. Not sure why.

Floyd Rideau is 6-5 and also a sophomore. He didn’t score a lot last year but he started against Brevard.

The other starters were Nick Alves (6-6 senior), Trae Broadnax (6-4 sophomore) and Khydarius Smith, a 6-8 senior.

Seny N’Diaye is a 6-10 transfer from West Virginia and may be a higher-level talent than Upstate normally sees. That said, he didn’t play a whole lot in his two years at WVU and didn’t start against Brevard.

There is one element that shouldn’t be overlooked, though it may seem minor from such a remove: Dickerson knows Cameron, and knows it at its very best. He knows the little things that other coaches might not, like how hard it is to be heard. Easy to say, hard to explain.

Duke is obviously going to be the heavy favorite, more so if Dereck Lively takes the court Friday.

As Coach K instilled in Duke’s DNA though, you always respect the opponent. Call it the Wagner Lesson (early in Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke career, Wagner came to Cameron and pulled a huge upset).

You know Jon Scheyer is preaching that lesson too.