Duke’s Loss Was Chock Full of Good Stuff

First off, 850 the Buzz has this nice video of the Hokies’ Deron Washington jumping over Duke’s Greg Paulus on his way up for a layup. The most amazing aspect of the play is not so much the fact that Washington hurdled Paulus but that Washington was not called for an offensive foul for being so close to a falling Duke player.

Secondly, Fayetteville Observer is reporting(hat tip: Truth About Duke) that Mike Krzyewski admonished VT’s Zabian Dowdell for his celebration following the game:

Dowdell, who was first tackled in the lane by a mob of teammates then bounced up and extended the “Virginia Tech” on his jersey toward the Crazies, was stopped by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski during the commotion.

“He told me I was too good of a player to be celebrating like that,” Dowdell said. “But the way they beat us last year, they certainly celebrated. It’s hard to control your emotion at that point and it was impossible for me to hold my feelings inside.”

Honestly, can K be more arrogant? Where does he get off telling a player from another team how he should celebrate a win on one of the toughest courts in the nation, especially as Dowdell points out after they lost last year at the buzzer? In fact I seem to recall Duke students rushing the floor after the win as though they had beaten UNC as the #1 team. It also should be noted that Duke players are infamous for their audacious screaming and jumping around after making plays. TAD also pointed out that J.J. Redick behaved in a similar manner following big shots. So, please put a lid on the hyprocrisy K, I am getting a little queasy over here.

And finally, the travails of Greg Paulus continue unbated. Not only was he “posterized” by Washington, but he continues to generally play a very bad point position. Paulus’ line from Saturday looked like this:

0 points, 0-3 from three, 1 assist, 1 rebound, 6 turnovers in 18 minutes.

Now the one thing I keep hearing is how the time he took off in the preseason to allow his foot to heal is somehow to blame for his performance. This might be true if this were the first few games of the season but it’s not. However, Duke is 16 15 games in at this point and looking back at his previous four games prior to this one, Paulus averaged 14 points a game against the slate of weaker teams which also included a 20 point outburst versus serviceable Gonzaga. I simply do not recall anyone at that point complaining about Paulus’ conditioning or how his foot injury set him back. However when he has to go against quicker more athletic guards and puts up a horrible line in the box score, all of sudden his preseason injury is to blame.

How about this theory: Greg Paulus is not really that good of a point guard and his defeciencies last season were masked in large part by the fact he was playing with Redick and Williams. Now this season in an offense which can be stagnant at times and does not have much in the way of viable offensive threats, Paulus is being relied upon to try and create an offense which is leading to turnovers galore as well as very few assists since Duke is prone to score fewer field goals.

Yes, I am sure the early season was tough coming off the injury but unless he is still having trouble with the foot, I think 16  15 games is more than enough time to get up to speed with the rest of team. The constant spinning on his behalf by members of the media is reaching an embarassing point and getting very close to lacking any real credibility.

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7 Responses to Duke’s Loss Was Chock Full of Good Stuff

  1. Steve says:

    Love it – “Greg Paulus playing the role of high hurdle.”

  2. Mark says:

    Quentin Thomas seems to be playing pretty well following his foot injury.

  3. Peter Oliphant says:

    I am so tired of seeing the stat that Paulus led the league in assist last year. I am fairly certain that he led the league in turnovers as well. Why doesn’t ESPN or Vitale ever bring that up?

  4. Tar Heel Fan says:

    You know I almost raised him and Bobby Frasor as a comparison but the nagging problem I had with that was those two play fewer minutes and with far less pressure in that offense than Paulus does in the Duke “offense” In my mind it was not a clean comparison but it is interesting to note that Frasor and Thomas seem to be having very little trouble jumping back into than Paulus.

  5. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Peter,

    Paulus was the league leader in assists but was seventh out of 10 listed by the ACC in assist to turnover ratio at 1.47. Bobby Frasor was fifth at 1.81.

    Here is the real kicker. Paulus did lead the ACC in turnovers committed with an embarrassing 118 in 36 games. The next closest? D.J. Strawberry with with 94(who is not a natural PG and only played the position out of sheer need) After that you have to drop down to Bobby Frasor with 75 TOs, and Louis Hinnant of BC with 74.

    The averages for TO per game were: Paulus 3.2, Strawberry 2.9 and Frasor 2.4.

    This season Paulus is averaging 3.2 TOs per game, 3.5 assists per game and a 1.08 A-TO ratio.

    Frasor in his limited time has 0.8 TOs per game and 2.6 assists while playing 12 fewer minutes per game. Ty Lawson is at 5.2 assists per game and 1.9 TOs for a 2.67 A-TO ratio.

    When also consider that Paulus is running a much more deliberate offense with UNC running a fast break offense prone to turnovers this difference is even more marked.

  6. Chris says:

    The bottom line I believe for Duke, and I’m writing this after the loss at Georgia Tech, is that they just don’t have the individual player talent this year, and unless K pulls off a miracle will have a bad year for their standards. As you know, you can’t always tell how players that are highly ranked in high school will do in college, and McRoberts and Paulus just don’t have the talent to be a real force in college. Think of the Duke team that had Hurley, Laettner and Hill on it, and the talent of the present team pales in comparison. Pure and simply, Duke will have a mediocre year, and K will need to reload in the talent department to get back into it. Winning games by playing great defense only is very difficult. Great defense also takes tremendous effort, and by the end of the year with only a 7 player roatation, this Duke team should be exhausted.
    The only solution for Duke is to figure out a way to produce more offense, and I’m not sure that K can pull that off.

  7. Rick says:

    Good comments and analysis. Heels need to stay focused on each game, one at a time, as everyone will be wanting to take them down more than ever. Duke was so overrated at No. 5, but I guess that is obvious to most everyone by now (except for Dookie V). The thing that is so huge for us, is that you can go 11-12 deep into the roster and keep pouring it on the opponents. Still a lot of games to play, so take nothing for granted.

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