I am not a UNC fan nor do I intend for this post to be negative. I am hoping for an intelligent answer or answers.
When Zoubek committed to Duke there was great enthusiasm and when Thomas announced that he had chosen Duke over Rutgers and maybe Florida more enthusiasm for what ," experts", said was one of the top recruiting classes. These were 2 top 20 players. Unless there are some out there who have seen it differently, I have not seen any progress during the year from either player. Does anyone have an explanation save for the statement as it pertains to Zoubek that it takes longer for a big man to develop? There are many freshmen around making major contributions.
Nelson is a nice player but not the one Duke fans thought. He is the All Time leader in points scored in the State Of California and was ," Mr. Basketball", there. I know that he was hurt his first 2 years...is that the reason for his developement.
Once again I am hoping for an intelligent answer.
I'm no expert (and will doubtless be corrected by others), but my take on Zoubeck is that I suspect the commentators are correct here: he hasn't developed the leg strength to effectively position himself down low yet. He also still exhibits a hesitation when he receives the ball (possibly because he isn't positioned where he would like to be) which results in some of his travel calls and fouls, and gives defenders the opportunity to react to him having the ball. In high school he doubtless played against a defense that was slower to react, and needed less time because he was able to muscle into better position before the ball came to him. College players are generally stronger and faster than HS players.
I expect Zoubeck will make tremendous progress with some time spent in the weight room, and as he gets more practice time (and more game time next year with stronger legs) he will adjust to the speed with which he must react.
I would think Nelson's style of play: driving in hard, receiving passes down low and going up strong, etc., would work better in high school where players tend to be a bit slower, shorter, and not as strong.
The stories from the summer about Nelson talked about the Marine training he did which added strength and endurance. Perhaps his training was misplaced. Maybe he should focus this summer on his handle, his free throw shooting, and his mid range game. As hard as he drives, it would be a great asset to get stripped of the ball less and shoot free throws better (he is at 59%). Additionally, it would be nice when the lane is not clear to be able to pull up, since he is only 6'3". Imagine D-Marc with a nice crossover dribble...
His 3 point shooting percentage has been very good this year at 38%, although his release could be a bit quicker.
Rivals and Scout are the two recruiting services that I am most familiar with and they had Thomas ranked 42 and 18, respectively. Zoubek was ranked at 24 (Rivals) and 38 (Scout).
While history has taught many of us that these rankings are meaningless, it may be what the original poster was relying on to call them "2 top 20 players".
regardless of whether they were really top 20 or not, those two have not produced as they were expected to produce. i just really didnt understand thomas at all until a few games ago when i saw him go up, take contact, draw the foul, then put the ball in the hoop as he's falling to the ground. he's going to be able to do that stuff more and more as he gets stronger (which he certainly needs to do)
big z is also going to get a lot better as he puts on some muscle. it seems like every time he doesn't turn the ball over in the post, he scores. he's definitely got good touch around the hoop and his size is phenomenal. with some direction, i think he'll be the best true center duke has seen in recent history.
i really dont understand the complaints about demarcus. sure, his freethrow shooting is plain bad, but other than that he's made HUGE steps this year. he was nowhere close to relyable from 3 point range last year and now he's one of our best. he's a finisher and a great defender, and it seems like nobody is talking about his knack for rebounding anymore. while a lot of players deserve credit from the bc game, i was particularly impressed by nelson as he shut down dudly completely.
LT was all the talk last year! I really dont see much in this kid yet, sure he hustles and thats always a plus. I dont see an ounce of offense in his game and his rebounding isnt that great either. I think Z could be a good player for us, he just has to get a little stronger and get the ball more in the post! I like markie but with his height he doesnt really have a postion! he has no handle and isnt really tall enough to use any post moves in the paint, and his jump shot is 50/50! i hope next yeat we can see some improvement from Lance and Z, but i think we have seen what we have outta markie
I agree with much that has been written here. Zoubek and Nelson can be explained, Thomas is just a puzzle. With his size he ought to be more useful than he has been -- maybe next year, as one suggested.
I really havent seen lance being untilized in the post! i wish we ran our offense more going to the big guys in the post! i havent seen lance show any real post talent but i know josh can take just about anyone. I wish we would use our height more often!
I think Lance is going to be an excellent player for us in the future. As of right now, I have seen flashes of greatness from both him and Henderson. We are Duke fans can't be so spoiled as to think that every freshman is going to come in and play like Luol Deng. To me, watching the development and progression of these kids over the years is going to be really fun.
If you haven't seen dramatic improvement in the play of Thomas and Zoubek since the start of the season, you haven't been watching.
I tend to agree with the initial poster, but a few things to keep in mind:
First, you can't really compare Thomas and Zoubek to some of the Super Frosh who are in college right now. Our two guys are definate college guys who need that growth; Durant is a whole different type of player.
Zoubek also needs time and strength. Big men who aren't the finesse big men need time in a big time program and with a big time weight program to get themselves going. Zoubek clearly pauses and thinks when he has the ball; a bit more PT and experience and a summer of weight lifting and I think he'll be okay, assuming he has the IQ to learn his lessons.
Thomas I think needs more time and, more importantly, experience. He is lanky and athletic, but not strong enough to really bang inside and hasn't shown an ability to take it out a bit and shoot a jumper, so I think by next year he will have a much bigger impact. On a team like Rutgers, where the offense would run through him, I am sure he would be scoring 15 a game, but not at Duke.
Nelson has been fine IMO, given his injuries in the past years. I tend to agree that his game maybe was better in high school where he could over power guys (3rd leading rebounder in CA history!) but with some work on his very flat-looking shot I think he will be just fine.
But I also think Roy is an asset to Georgetown partly because of the slow, deliberate offense that the Hoyas play. I have a hard time seeing Z in the kind of fluid, motion offense that the best Duke teams of recent years have run.
I would not consider either of them disappointments at all relative to what I'd heard about them prior to arriving (they were, by anything I'd read, rated well but below Henderson and Scheyer anyways). As interior players, strength/bulk is a major issue and chronological age seems to make a huge difference (in combination with the ability to focus on strength training each off-season). Not only is Duke's team young in terms of year (Freshman/Sophomore...etc.), but their chronological ages are fairly young as well. Both Zoubek and Thomas are still 18 years old and sophomore Josh McRoberts just turned 20 a few days ago.
By comparison, G. Vasquez, a freshman guard at Maryland turned 20 already a few months back, and sophomore Tyler Hansbrough has been 21 years old for months now as well.
Though his bigger issues have been with injuries delaying his maturation (and I agree that he should now benefit from the opportunity to spend a summer focusing more on skills than strength), our sole Junior Demarcus Nelson has the exact same day of birth as Sophomore Hansbrough.
Although just a few months may not make that much of a difference, for whatever it is worth, each of UNC's top freshman, Ellington, Lawson and B.Wright were already 19 by the 1st week of November last year.
BTW-I'm guessing that Josh's chronological age is definately not lost on NBA Scouts, in comparisons with, say, Hansborough. Although they certainly could be wrong about his ability to mature, I'm sure they project what McRoberts might be able to improve in terms of strength and skill (especially since he lost most of last summer to back surgery) over the next 16 months as that is how much younger he is than TH.
As one final caveat, there are some guys who are amazingly developed physically for their chronological age and this cannot be taught and absolutely stands out (Deng, Brand and Maggette come to mind for Duke). Frightningly, and partly accounting for why Durant may be selected above the best Center prospect in a decade, he is still 18 for another 7 months (and therefore more than 8 months younger than Oden). Yikes! Durant is EXTREMELY special.
Zoubs has been having issues with footwork. He and Lance simply need to hit the weight room and bulk up over the summer. If Lance hits the weight room hard next year and then masters a good offensive move I can really see him living up to the billing he got coming out of high school as early as next year. I realize that Demarcus has big hands and this hinders his FT shooting, but if he gets around that and starts shooting well from the line there is no way he can't be getting us 20 or more a game. He is shooting 4 FTs per game, so if he were a consistent FT shooter he would be averaging around 18 ppg. If he gains confidence in that aspect of his game, I think that he will try to get to the line more and score more from there.
In addition his back surgery has held him back in terms of strength, and this of course is a key ingrediet when it comes to developing as an inside offensive presence.
Ok, I know this all has been discussed extensively elsewhere so I hate to repeat other posters. I just wanted to point out that Josh can hardly take on "just about anyone," and that with Lance having the moves but not the physique, and Zoubek having the height but not the moves or the strength, I really do not see this team utilizing its height more often.
Next year with Singler, Patterson (hopefully) and even King we are looking at a better team in the paint.
with the way josh can handle the ball he take just about anyone off the dribble at his postion, i didnt say he was kevin mchale or anything, but he does have the talent to be a very good post player if we would use him that way