LeBron James Oct 3, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) looks on from the court in the first half against the Sacramento Kings at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Duquesne Dukes punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1977 with their victory over VCU in the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship game. This was a win for Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who has deep ties to Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot and associate head coach Dru Joyce II.

James of course played his high school basketball at St. Vincent St. Mary’s in Akron, Ohio, where he went on to win three state championships and one national championship.

He was coached by Dambrot for the first two years of his high school career before Dambrot moved on to take a head coaching job for the Akron Zips. James was then coached by Dru Joyce II for the final two years of his high school career, which is when he truly rose to fame on a national scale.

Naturally, James was quick to congratulate both Dambrot and Joyce II for their huge accomplishment on Sunday, taking to social media to express his love for the two.

“YESSIRRR!! Punch that to the Big Dance,” tweeted James. “CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Love you Coach Dambrot & @CoachDruJoyce.” 

Not only is this win huge for Duquesne as a program, but it is equally as big for Dambrot in terms of his coaching resume. It’s obviously incredibly impressive for him to help bring a Duquesne program that has largely been a losing program back to the NCAA Tournament.
This is also the second mid-major program that Dambrot has brought to the NCAA Tournament, doing so with Akron on three separate occasions during his tenure with the team.
Make no mistake, the rise to prominence of LeBron James will always be Dambrot and Joyce’s biggest success story in their coaching career. That is a given. But this coaching job at Duquesne is certainly nothing to sneeze at. And it will be interesting to see how they do in the Big Dance.

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.