Ladies and Gentlemen, here comes Mr. Lance Thomas!
When I saw the stat on the screen showing Lance with 10 points, ( and I knew he also had some tremendous boards and blocks,) I was simply in tears.
I f**king LOVE this team!
I was amazed - he moved so much better tonight. VERY impressive step for Lance.
With 10 minutes or so to go, I turned to a friend and said that regardless of the outcome of the game, Lance playing that well is huge. If he can keep working and build off tonight - watch out. I'll take our guys against anyone.
With the caveat that I haven't gone back and checked his game logs, this might have been Thomas's best game at Duke. He was a factor on offense as a post presence. He finished around the basket. On defense, he did what he could to help out. He provided energy and effort. And he gave us a solid 25 minutes in the post.
Lance's progression over the last several games has been impressive. He's doing a much better job of catching the ball and attacking the rim in the same motion, without breaking stride or losing momentum. If we can get 8-10 points and 5-6 boards per game out of him regularly, what a nice bonus that will be.
And how about that sweet pick-and-roll that he ran with Singler in the first half, which ended with Lance dunking the ball in traffic??!! That one had me out of my chair with a hearty "YES!!" and a fist-pump (which scared the cat and sent her scurrying upstairs).
I said this back in late January after the Clemson game:
"In my view Lance has made tremendous progress. If you watch last night's game again, note that his pisitioning is much better, footwork much better, awareness much better. IMO he is close to a light bulb experience. He will soon really get it."
I think he gets it.
In what was quite strange to me, I even found myself calling out "Give the ball to Thomas!"
Visiting team motto at Cameron: Venimus, temptavimus, defectimus (We came, we tried, we failed)
I love the fact that he attacked the rim without his trademark flurry of head fakes. Also, my favorite two plays involving Lance were the shoulder he laid into Hands-Bro while setting a pick and the tomahawk dunk (didn't count as he was called for an offensive foul prior to throwing it down). He played with energy and tenacity. Whether he scores 2 points or 20, I hope there is more of the same to come!
LT has really been a pleasant surprise for me. Defensively, I always knew he was going to be perfect for Duke's system ever since I saw how fast he moved laterally as a freshman, but I am somewhat shocked at his recent scoring efforts. He's making a lot of tough catch-and-finishes that I didn't think he'd be capable of doing for at least a couple more years. I used to think he had a major hands issue, but I think he's proven that while he will occasionally fail to squeeze a rebound, he can be counted on to catch the ball cleanly upon moving into gaps in the defense. There will still be some matchups like Blair for BC that I don't think he'll be able to convert over, but the fact that he can take advantage of average defenders like Hansbrough is a great sign for Duke.
Not that I'm partial-of course I am, I'm a Jersey boy- but it seems to me that when Jersey boys perform, the team soars. From Bobby and Roshown to Dahntay and Jwill, we have done well when Garden Staters are playing well.
I hope Lance will continue this tradition!
No doubt, Thomas and Singler played like they're tired of hearing about how Duke has no inside players. Most of the fans and media are gushing over Duke's three-point shooting, which was spectacular, but they wouldn't have won the game without the contributions inside. Singler's spin move and lay-in against "Happy Feet" Hansborough in the first half was a thing of beauty.
I have to admit i havent seen much in lance since he has been with our team. Most times he looks too wild out there, flying around picking up foul after foul, not scoring or rebounding! but last night i saw a whole new lance! he looked in control, he seemed to have loads of confidence! if lance continues to play this way, WOW what a big plus that will be for our team!
Yeah, they both played well. And yes, Singler's spin move was ridic. But I was very impressed with Singler's defense with Hansborough. He could have easily challenged him more aggressively but I think, I don't know, he realized that he needed to stay out of foul trouble. He's a tough kid.
You just get the feeling that Lance is finally starting to get into that comfort zone. The more I think about it, he's been building towards a performance like last night. Listening to his post game quotes, the overriding takeaway is that the game is simply slowing down for him. He's not picking up as many cheap fouls on defense due to over-aggressiveness, he's not travelling with the ball because he moving too fast for his feet. He's really beginning to settle down.
Not that it guarantees you anything but the kid is a McDonald's AA. You know he has the capabilities to succeed on this level and it's only a matter of time. If Lance can build on this performance with consistency, the rest of the nation better watch out.
Congrats to LT on a phenomenal game.
Thomas single-handedly showed everyone that Hansbrough is a weak defensive presence. Singler also did to Hansbrough what McRoberts never could, take him off the dribble. Oh it was glorious.
...only 5 blocks, or only 5 fouls? Has Clever Hans ever fouled out of an ACC game? Can't remember if he fouled out against Georgetown last March...
Lance had one of his best games against (allegedly) one of the best frontcourts in basketball
His development has been amazing, It is fun to see his development compared to Deon Thompson, the higher ranked recruit and the supposed pro prospect. Thompson obviously has the tools, but just doesn't show up.
Lance is starting to show up, BIG TIME. And he's getting better!
P.S. What happens to the Andre Iguodala comparisons to Lance?