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  1. #1

    Freshman class impact: 02-03 vs 07-08

    JJ, Shelden, Shav, Dock, MT, and Lee
    - vs -
    Kyle, Nolan, and King Taylor

    I remember the '02 class being the most lauded in recent memory. (I wasn't following recruiting in '99 so I can't compare the hype.) And we know how well they turned out: disappointments aside, two retired jerseys + two key glue guys is exceptional for any class. I don't see that feat being repeated anytime soon.

    Yet I think there's a legitimate argument to be made that the '07 guys brought more immediate impact. And it's only January! Kyle already has a tourney MVP award under his belt; took JJ until March. By January 2003 Shel/Shav had shown they were an upgrade over Casey/Horvath, but hadn't truly emerged...even by season's end their stats looked more similar than I expected. Contrast with TK and Nolan: they bring completely new looks to the game when they enter the game (even though I don't expect them to become starters like Shel did).

  2. #2
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    As of this point in their careers I think this class was better then the 02 class. JJ was a good shooter but didn't have that much game yet, Dock and Shav weren't impressive, Shelden might have been the best of the group then. That said I don''t think any off the new guys will be as good as JJ or Shelden. I think the two best Freshmen classes I can remember are the 97 Brand, Avery, and Battier class along with the JWill, Dunleavy, and Boozer class. Brand and Avery may have been the two best Freshmen together in recent history.

  3. #3
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    "I think this class was better then the 02 class. JJ was a good shooter but didn't have that much game yet, Dock and Shav weren't impressive, Shelden might have been the best of the group then."

    Gonna have to disagree here. Redick was second on the team in scoring at 15 ppg and averaged over 30 mpg. His game against NCSU in the '03 ACC Tournament title game was one of the best such performances ever.

    Shel was coming on at the end of the season but split time at the 5 with Casey Sanders and played less than 20 mpg for a team that badly needed quality height.

    The h.s. class of '97 produced two future national POYs, Brand and Battier. Had Brand not broken his foot, it wouldn't be close.

    The most productive freshman class in Duke history was the h.s. class of '82, led by Dawkins and Alarie. But there wasn't much help from the other three classes and the '83 team lost 17 games.

    I'm not ready to put Singler, Smith, and Taylor at the top of the charts. But there's still time.

  4. #4
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    the 97 class was ridiculous. 4 Mickey D's, 2 POYs, 1 #1 draft pick. The jwill/booz/dunleavy class was a good follow-up to that, but doesn't compare.

    the '02 class (my class) was sick but i think it was the depth that was so amazing. 4 mickey d's (shoulda been 5 if it wasn't for sheld's B.S. charge) plus Lee. Rarely do we bring in classes of 6 guys so I think that is what is so impressive about that class.

    In terms of "impact" the '97 class has to take it for me as Brand, Avery and Battier all stepped into big time positions on the team. While Avery rarely (if ever) started, Brand started basically every game and Battier started a lot. They all averaged about 20mpg, iirc. And Avery was competing against our senior captain (and defensive POY) in Wojo for minutes and to a lesser extent against our best player in Trajan.

    Singler is having a "Brand-like" impact, but nolan and taylor are not at the level of production (and consistency) of avery and battier. Nolan is getting there though...

  5. #5
    Burgess wasn't bad while he was at Duke too. He would have been a hell of a player if he didn't buy into the hype that he was an NBA all-star waiting to happen.

  6. #6
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    Going out on a limb but if Kyle stays at least 3 years he will be mentioned as one of the greatest players to don a Duke jersey.That includes jersey retirees. Taylor and Nolan will be very good.Taylor needs more time on the floor than 2 minutes that he got during the clemson game.He has traces of Jack Marin in him and will be very good. He played at the premier sports high school in So Cal Mater Dei. And Nolan's dad was a star and Oak Hill is a great training ground for collegiate hoopsters.

  7. #7
    Gonna have to say that the '97 class (Brand, Battier, Burgess, Avery) was the best class and had the most impact of any Duke class of the last 15 years (at least). The '99 class was a close second.

    As for the comparison between the Redick/Williams class and the Singler/King class, I think it's misleading to look at the supposed effect on the team that each class has had. That Redick/Williams class had to replace some HUGE losses (Williams, Boozer, Dunleavy) and didn't have a lot returning (a struggling Duhon and a young Ewing and some bench players). This year's freshman class had a lot more in the cupboard. They lost a solid player (McRoberts), but had four starters returning. Also, they had a senior leader in Nelson (who's substantially better than last year) and big improvements in Henderson.

    Clearly this class is very good and having a big impact. But I'd still say the '02 class had a bigger impact.

  8. #8

    class

    The 1997 Duke Class is the only class in college basketball history to produce two consensus national players of the year -- Brand in 1999 and Battier in 2001. But just for the record, it was just three McDonald's All-Americans (Avery was a Parade, but not a Mickey D's).

    The 2002 Class is one of the few (and the only one in ACC history) that has produced two consensus first-team All-Americans in the same season -- Redick and Shelden Williams in 2006 (Redick was also first team in 2005). The Brand-Battier class is the only other ACC class I can find with two concensus first teamers (albiet in different years).

    The 1982 Class of Dawkins-Alarie-Henderson-Bilas-Welden Williams-Bill Jackman become the highest scoring class in NCAA history -- a combined 7,494 points. I'm not sure, but I think it's the only class in history to produce two 2,000-point scorers (Dawkins and Alarie).

  9. #9
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    People keep mentioning awards and honors that various freshman classes earned throughout their careers, but I thought the point of this thread was which class made the biggest impact in their freshman year. NPOY is irreverent unless earned in the freshman year. This class is certainly up there, but it's hard to judge how much is the new class and how much is improvement by returning players. It's also difficult to judge this halfway through the season, and especially before ACC play has really started. How good this class (and team) is this year remains to be seen...exciting!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Acymetric View Post
    People keep mentioning awards and honors that various freshman classes earned throughout their careers, but I thought the point of this thread was which class made the biggest impact in their freshman year. NPOY is irreverent unless earned in the freshman year. This class is certainly up there, but it's hard to judge how much is the new class and how much is improvement by returning players. It's also difficult to judge this halfway through the season, and especially before ACC play has really started. How good this class (and team) is this year remains to be seen...exciting!
    I'd still say that the 02-03 class made as big an impact their freshman year. Redick was the second-leading scorer and Williams was our best interior player (though he was still very raw). And neither compared to the 1997-1998 class, in which Brand was our best interior player, Battier started quite regularly, Burgess gave us regular bench minutes, and Avery was a key contributor as the third guard.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mepanchin View Post
    Burgess wasn't bad while he was at Duke too. He would have been a hell of a player if he didn't buy into the hype that he was an NBA all-star waiting to happen.
    i dunno, i think he was kinda bad, actually. at least considering the hype.

    definitely agree that it was mental, and I think the biggest evidence was his FTs. Remember how he had to change his stance a couple times and saw a "sports psychologist." I remember hearing that from the announcer and just thinking how I would never hear the end of it from my friends.

    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    As for the comparison between the Redick/Williams class and the Singler/King class, I think it's misleading to look at the supposed effect on the team that each class has had. That Redick/Williams class had to replace some HUGE losses (Williams, Boozer, Dunleavy) and didn't have a lot returning (a struggling Duhon and a young Ewing and some bench players). This year's freshman class had a lot more in the cupboard. They lost a solid player (McRoberts), but had four starters returning. Also, they had a senior leader in Nelson (who's substantially better than last year) and big improvements in Henderson.
    WRT the bolded part above, you forgot the best player on that team: Dahntay Jones. I agree that they had to replace more than the '07 class, but at least in the back court they had 3 good to very good players.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    I'd still say that the 02-03 class made as big an impact their freshman year. Redick was the second-leading scorer and Williams was our best interior player (though he was still very raw). And neither compared to the 1997-1998 class, in which Brand was our best interior player, Battier started quite regularly, Burgess gave us regular bench minutes, and Avery was a key contributor as the third guard.
    Agree that 1997-98 class was the best. Brand was just simply awesome (or at least he was until he went down with his foot injury). He averaged 13.4 points per game for the year, along with 7.3 RPG and 27 blocks in 21 games played. Pre-injury, he was even better, leading Duke in scoring at 16 ppg to go with 7 boards per game and in the top ten in the ACC in steals, FG% and blocked shots. Coach K said at the time (hat tip to the Chronicle) of the injury: "I feel bad for Elton. He was having as good a year as any freshman that has ever played for me ... I've never had a player have as big an impact as Elton's had in such a short time period. It's frustrating to not be able to see him continue such an outstanding start to the season." All this, while Coach K was sharing a lot of minutes between a lot of players on a very deep team.

    When Elton came back later that year he was still good, but IMO, never really fully regained the preinjury form by the end of the season. By the next season, of course, he was the consensus player of the year.

  13. #13
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    That '02 class was my class ('06 grads) so this is a very interesting comparison for me.

    It's pretty early to make a judgment but up until this point, the one thing I do know is that more is being asked of the '07 class than '02. If you disagree, look at the 2002 starting five sans freshman vs. this year's. You'd have Duhon, Ewing, Dahntay Jones, Horvath and Casey Sanders vs. Paulus, Demarcus, Scheyer, Henderson and Lance. I think the '02 lineup is noticeably better due to size and experience (at this point). This year's class is making much more of an immediate impact in my mind and it's because they have to. In '02, the only freshman making that big of an impact was JJ; Dock had a solid freshman year, Shelden got better as that year and his career went on and Shav, MT and Melchionni weren't major factors on the team.

    Overall, I thought the '02 class did a great job but, besides JJ and Shelden, the '02 class will be remembered by many as one that didn't live up to the hype overall. I don't subscribe to this sentiment but the fact remains that this class was tabbed as guaranteed to bring a national title to Durham; at least that was the sentiment on campus and in the recruiting community (ridiculous expectations that existed nonetheless). Shav was one of Duke's bigger busts. Dockery, despite a solid Duke career, never came close to matching the hype he came in with. MT left and Melchionni was a solid role player. It doesn't help that many thought we were an MT away from a 2004 national title--an assertion I happen to agree with.

    So far, the '07 class has matched-to-exceeded expectations and their ceillings aren't even in sight yet; I believe we've only see glimpses of what Smith, Singler and King are capable of. If Patrick Patterson was included in the '07 class, this wouldn't even be a discussion, IMO. But without Patterson, I still give the '07 class the slight nod; less players but more impact per player so far.

    PS - You can argue that Krzyzewski's willingness to use a deeper rotation drastically effects this debate.

  14. #14
    PS - You can argue that Krzyzewski's willingness to use a deeper rotation drastically effects this debate.
    Can you elaborate? All the teams under discussion were very deep.

    Team / # players averaging >10mpg
    2008 / 10
    2003 / 9
    1997 / 10 (if you count Domzalski, who averaged 9.9mpg)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Berg View Post
    Can you elaborate? All the teams under discussion were very deep.

    Team / # players averaging >10mpg
    2008 / 10
    2003 / 9
    1997 / 10 (if you count Domzalski, who averaged 9.9mpg)
    I'm looking at '07 vs. '02 right now. The 2003 team was deeper than I realized but Dockery, Melchionni and Thompson all averaged 10 minutes or less with Thompson and Melchionni both averaging under 4 mpg. It's not really Krzyzewski's fault but it's harder to compare when 3 of the freshman from one class barely played. Out of the three '07 freshman, King averages the least at 13.1 minutes per game; that's about as many as Shav and more than all '02 freshman except JJ and Shelden.

    I was mistaken in that K actually did use as many players this year as in '02. But the numbers seem to support what I originally said: the '07 class has had a bigger impact because much more is being asked of them at this stage.

  16. #16

    Not so sure...

    Quote Originally Posted by Classof06 View Post
    It's pretty early to make a judgment but up until this point, the one thing I do know is that more is being asked of the '07 class than '02. If you disagree, look at the 2002 starting five sans freshman vs. this year's. You'd have Duhon, Ewing, Dahntay Jones, Horvath and Casey Sanders vs. Paulus, Demarcus, Scheyer, Henderson and Lance. I think the '02 lineup is noticeably better due to size and experience (at this point).
    That is an interesting hypo. I'm not so sure I wouldn't take the '07 team. Sanders and Lance are a wash. Markie and Dahntay are remarkably close in skill set and athleticism (with Markie's offense likely a bit more consistent). I was always frustrated that Ewing seemed to disappear too often, something that certainly cannot be said of Scheyer this season (and his game is a bit more versatile). If those match-ups are a push, it leaves us comparing Paulus-Duhon and Henderson-Horvath. The first match-up is close and debatable. I'll give Duhon the edge for athleticism and defense, but his edge does not nearly overcome Henderson's (and he at times is arguably better than anyone on the '02 team, although still inconsistent).

    I do not mean to take a shot at you, but your email illustrated an interesting phenomenon I have noticed over years of following Duke -- the difficulty of seeing how today's young stars will ever be as good as those of past years. I had the hardest time conceiving that Boozer would fill Brand's shoes. When Shel came along (with a freshman year of terrible footwork), I thought we were doomed. Years later, with Booz dominating the NBA and Shel in the rafters, I can see the folly in that.

    I think we naturally remember our past players at their best, and colored with their complete body of work. It is hard to remember how they looked before they went coast-to-coast at UNC, or they posterized an unlucky kid from UVa, or they donned an NBA uni for that matter.

    For my two cents, I'd say the non-frosh we have are very, very good at this early stage in their careers (and imagine Markie if he had been injury free through his Duke years). Our frosh are very exciting, but it is very tough to argue they have had more of an impact than the Brand or JWill classes.

  17. #17
    But the numbers seem to support what I originally said: the '07 class has had a bigger impact because much more is being asked of them at this stage.
    I'll buy that. And it's a surprising conclusion, one of the interesting twists that led me to start the thread. Forget the recruits' talent levels for a sec. Who'd guess the '07 class would be asked to do more than a class that had to replace Boozer/JWill/Dun?

    Sanders and Lance are a wash. Markie and Dahntay are remarkably close in skill set and athleticism (with Markie's offense likely a bit more consistent). I was always frustrated that Ewing seemed to disappear too often, something that certainly cannot be said of Scheyer this season (and his game is a bit more versatile). If those match-ups are a push, it leaves us comparing Paulus-Duhon and Henderson-Horvath. The first match-up is close and debatable. I'll give Duhon the edge for athleticism and defense, but his edge does not nearly overcome Henderson's (and he at times is arguably better than anyone on the '02 team, although still inconsistent).
    Wow, I can't agree with this at all. Sanders as a senior was far more effective than Lance so far. Playing about the same # of minutes, Sanders had 2X as many rebounds/gm and 9X as many blocks. Dahntay's offense was about comparable to Markie's, but his defense was far more versatile considering he's at least 4 inches taller. Much as I love Paulus, he's nowhere near Duhon: in addition to athleticism and defense, Duhon averaged twice as many assists/gm. No idea why you'd compare Hendo to a 6'10" backup center. The proper comparison is Hendo+Scheyer vs Ewing at the SG/wing spot. There I agree the '07 returners have an edge, but it's not nearly big enough to overcome deficits at the other 4 positions.

  18. #18

    Then we agree to disagree...

    Unfortunately, my internet is not working all that well today and the site I usually go to for stats (Duke Update) seems to have taken down the historical stuff (any site recommendations for stats would be appreciated), so I'll have to do this from this hip.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Berg View Post
    Wow, I can't agree with this at all. Sanders as a senior was far more effective than Lance so far. Playing about the same # of minutes, Sanders had 2X as many rebounds/gm and 9X as many blocks.
    Your stats surprise me, but I'll assume they are correct. Casey is a bit bigger, but Lance may be faster or more versatile defensively (plus the 07s could always bring in Zoubek to bang if he were healthy). Regardless, I say this match-up is a wash because there is no way that either of these guys makes a meaningful difference if we were putting the two non-frosh teams you mentioned on the court against each other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Berg View Post
    Dahntay's offense was about comparable to Markie's, but his defense was far more versatile considering he's at least 4 inches taller.
    I don't think Dahntay had a 7' reach. Markie has guarded just about everyone we have thrown at him with considerable success. I think the year you have referenced was Dahntay's first in a Duke uni. Setting aside what I consider Markie's more polished offensive game, I'll take Markie's D after 4 years of Duke experience. [As a side note, I recently met Dahntay when we were both staying at the same hotel and I'm not sure he is more than 6'5", which means he is probably not 4 inches taller than Markie anyway]

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Berg View Post
    Much as I love Paulus, he's nowhere near Duhon: in addition to athleticism and defense, Duhon averaged twice as many assists/gm.
    Duhon got a few of those assists throwing the ball to JJ. Remember Paulus led the ACC as a frosh throwing balls to the same guy. I agree that this call likely goes to Duhon, but I think it is closer than you suggest. Paulus can make shots (not sure Duhon ever shot 43% from 3 or whatever Greg is shooting) and is much improved defensively. Again, in a head-to-head match-up I don't see either of these guys embarassing the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Berg View Post
    No idea why you'd compare Hendo to a 6'10" backup center. The proper comparison is Hendo+Scheyer vs Ewing at the SG/wing spot. There I agree the '07 returners have an edge, but it's not nearly big enough to overcome deficits at the other 4 positions.
    Well, for one thing, your hypo had Horvath starting (if we are comparing teams, we cannot compare 2 guys to 1 and ignore the 5th man listed). Scheyer and Ewing are a more natural match-up (and a very close one, I think). This leaves Horvath (your fifth starter) against G. Play with it however you like, but the Duhon team simply does not have the perimeter guns to defend all of our 07 returnees. In addition, they have no strong inside presence to overcome this deficit. Of course, this is what makes our team so unique this year.

    My point in initially responding to you was to take issue with your assertion that the 02 returnees were clearly superior to those of 07, and therefore we are asking more of our frosh this year. I am not saying that 07 is clearly better, but they could easily win your hypothetical match-up.

  19. #19
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    I'll give you that Dahntay and Demarcus are a wash, though I still think Dahntay is a tad more explosive. But the Duhon/Paulus matchup is clearly in Duhon's favor, this shouldn't even be an argument. And Casey Sanders was definitely better his senior year than Lance is right now; Casey wasn't a beast or anything but this is another no-brainer.

    I think the '02 team wins because they're simply older. Anyone who watched Duke last year knows the difference that makes. Horvath and Sanders weren't amazing, but they're both good enough to make the '07 returnees pay the price down low. Not to mention, Duhon's ability to penetrate at will on Paulus would give Horvath and Sanders clean looks all night.

    Similar to you, I'm not saying the '02 team would win in a laugher, but experience-wise you're talking about a senior and junior-laden team vs. a much younger team with weakness on the block. That just doesn't bode well for the '07 guys.

  20. #20

    Here are the stats...

    I found the stats on ESPN (comparing 02 to 07 for the players listed). I have a pretty chart in Word, but cannot seem to paste it here (sorry).

    NAME
    GM MIN PTS REB AST TO A/T STL BLK PF FG% FT% 3P% PPS

    Dahntay Jones
    33 30.7 17.7 5.5 0.9 1.9 1/2.2 1.2 0.5 3.1 .470 .749 .398 1.38
    DeMarcus Nelson
    16 31.0 14.3 6.0 2.9 2.3 1.2/1 1.3 0.4 1.8 .516 .623 .438 1.48

    Daniel Ewing
    33 27.9 12.0 3.2 1.4 2.0 1/1.5 1.3 0.2 2.4 .430 .821 .400 1.35
    Jon Scheyer
    16 28.2 11.4 4.5 2.3 1.1 2.2/1 1.0 0.3 1.4 .468 .854 .407 1.45

    Chris Duhon
    33 36.0 9.2 3.2 6.4 3.0 2.2/1 1.9 0.2 1.8 .386 .688 .273 1.16
    Greg Paulus
    16 26.1 9.1 1.9 3.5 1.8 2/1 1.5 0.1 2.1 .455 .867 .408 1.46

    Casey Sanders
    33 17.8 4.6 5.2 0.4 1.2 1/2.7 0.5 1.6 3.1 .563 .474 .000 1.49
    Lance Thomas
    14 17.8 4.0 2.7 0.3 1.1 1/4 0.8 0.2 2.8 .486 .606 .000 1.51

    Nick Horvath
    30 13.5 3.9 2.9 0.5 0.6 1/1.1 0.5 0.4 1.7 .500 .704 .235 1.30
    Gerald Henderson
    16 24.7 13.1 4.8 1.8 1.9 1/1.1 0.9 1.1 1.9 .471 .651 .296 1.23


    Numbers have limitations, but I have a very hard time concluding that there are considerable mismatches at 4 of 5 positions here. The biggest difference is likely Sanders-Thomas, but remember that Thomas has shared time with Zoubek and McClure and those three could negate some of the edge Sanders has. Moreover, I cannot believe anyone will say that Sanders would change a game in a substantial way. In the other mismatch, G clearly destroys Horvath.

    As for the other match-ups, I think they are very, very close.

    Statistically, Dahntay has nothing on Markie (except for slight points edge due to over 3 more shots per game). Markie gets more boards, handles MUCH better, fouls less (while often guarding the opponent's best player) and is a better shooter. I'd take Markie.

    I'd take Scheyer, too. More boards and assists, much better TO ratio, less fouls and slightly better shooting stats. Ewing may have been a touch quicker, but Scheyer is at least a couple of inches larger (and arguably more versatile).

    That leaves us with Duhon and Paulus. As I said, I give this match-up to Duhon, but the numbers give Paulus a significant edge on offense. In significantly fewer minutes, he scores the same, has nearly the same TO ratio, and shoots SIGNFICIANTLY BETTER percentages. On the defensive end, when adjusted for minutes, he gets more steals than Duhon. That said, Duhon's numbers leave out some great stopping power and intangibles. But recall this was Duhon's junior year, considered by many to be a big disappointment. This is a closer match-up than I had thought.

    At the end of the day, I really like our team this year (although I'll admit that this year's stats are pre-ACC for the most part and a bit misleading). I think the difficulty acknowledging what we have goes back to my original point -- that we always look back at our old teams with a special fondness that at times causes us to underestimate our current talent. An interesting debate in any event. Go Duke!

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