Let me first state that I'm probably one of the biggest Duke fans in here but, I'm also not blind. I have a "devils advocate" side to me.
My best friend and I are big Duke fans (I have to get him on these boards ASAP) and we talk about this all the time, so please go easy in your responses.
One thing I've noticed from Duke (and this may be the reason for losing large leads) is a lack of on the floor leadership. Recently I've actually seen Scheyer show allot of intensity and think this guy could be the next leader.
I think Henderson could be as well, and I love this guy's potential.
However, I look back a bit to Jason Williams and realize how strong of a leader he was at the time he left. He was so dominant and made every guy on the court better. I fully believe if it wasnt for Jason, Chris Duhon would have been lost in many situations.
I remember when Jason was a freshman, playing in a preseason tourney in Madison Square Garden and Duke lost (it was his first or second game I think and I dont remember who they lost to). I remember, along with my buddy that game and how bad Jason looked. He took HORRIBLE shots and made horrible decisions with the ball.
That first season you literally could see him struggle and grow at the same time. His second season (all stats aside) he was becoming dominant. You could just see his leadership ability on the floor. He had a charisma about him and a personality that every Duke fan loves and that every other fan hates. He was a nice leader as a sophmore (even though Duke had other leaders).
I fast forward to Paulus. His freshman year was so nice. I saw allot of potential and thought he may end up with as much potential as Jason. In fact I saw Hurley in him with his assist ability. However, in this sophmore season (all stats aside), he just seems to not be there. I see McRoberts being the emotional one (though not held in check enough) and Scheyer sort of leading the way. Obviously we all love "Mr. Buzzer Beater" but, where is Paulus in leadership?
Paulus was god awful early, but that had to due with not being heathly and adjusting to new teammates, he is playing real well right now and he is our floor leader, Jon also is doing a good job, it seems to me PG is the easiest place to be the leader
Interesting question. Lots of people on here are all about Paulus lately. I'm still not all that impressed and yes I realize he was injured early in the year. I think the strength of this team is the balance, the way we can rely on lots of guys to get it done and different guys step up in different ways each game. I know a point guard and team captain is generally a good choice as a floor leader but I think it's Josh on this team not Greg. Even if he does get a little over emotional at times, Josh is the guy they seem to look to during games. Jon seems to be our most steady and level headed player and I could see him being the leader of this team when he is a Jr or Sr.
Note, before someone goes off on me. I'm not saying that Paulus is awful or anything like that. I don't want to hijack this thread to talk about Paulus' strengths and weaknesses because this thread is about the floor leader on the team.
Just curious... what tangible in-game actions are you guys looking for in a floor-leader? I think it's an interesting question because leadership can be a fairly abstract quality that is difficult to define.
i definitely agree that mc roberts is the most vocal person on the floor, but i also think that he is often very negative and too emotional. i definitely remember reading/hearing in an interview, though i forget where, that dave mclure and (interestingly) lance thomas are emerging as the leaders on the team. i didnt really buy into this right away, but i watched the next game carefully and those two definitely stood out as far as trying to keep their teammates in line.
Coach K has said since LAST season that he wanted Greg to make the team his own and become its leader. It's just most natural for the point guard to take on that role and be the cliched extension of the coach on the court. I think K knows leadership so I believe Greg will be a great leader for Duke his junior and senior seasons when he is an upperclassman.
How many leaders does a team have? If J-Will was the leader of Duke as a Soph, where was Battier? I would say, without a doubt in my mind, that Battier was the leader of that team. J-Will was a dominant player, but I am not completely sure in his leadership. Was he a leader as a Junior? I am sure he was likely the leader of that class, but I don't really remember ever seeing him and thinking... "now that guy is a real leader of men" the way I thought about Shane. Overwhelming talent? Definitely. Ability to take over a game? Sure. But I never really 'noticed' his leadership.
This team... there really isn't a leader yet. I think one of the 3 you mention could become a great leader, but there isn't really one yet.
Josh seems to be the one trying the hardest to be a leader. Think about Jon's quote about BC and how he just kept thinking about how Josh was talking to the guys and saying that they were definitely going to win the game... that there wasn't any other outcome possible. That is a good example of leadership. He also initiates huddles and is an emotional spark (similar to Noah, I think). Those are all good things. On the negative side, he is still 'too emotional.' When he gets frustrated, it still spills over. That is negative leadership. I don't see Josh as a 'calming' influence when things are going bad. If anything, he could possibly make it worse. That said... I think he is improving. He may be the closest right now.
Greg isn't nearly as vocal as Josh and doesn't seem to initiate things. He is, however, the most steady guy on the team. He has had more ups and downs in his game than anyone this year, but you wouldn't guess it from his face and attitude. He is steady... that may work well with Josh's emotion to make a good 'good cop/bad cop' combo.
Jon has potential to be a good leader, he has hit some clutch shots, so if the guys begin to think of him that way, he could become a leader. He also seems like a really 'nice' guy who would be generally interested in his teammates. How they are doing. Jon could develop into a good leader in the next couple of years. Right now? I haven't seen him openly display real leadership yet, but it may be because he sees himself as a frosh. I think it is too early to tell right now with Jon, but he definitely has potential.
I would say this year that we need Josh to be more focused and calm on the floor in tough times and Greg to be more vocal. Hopefully that together will be enough. Overall, though... Coach K has mentioned that you usually have Senior leaders who show the young guys how to be leaders. Unfortunately, most of these guys were only with JJ, Shel, and the bunch for 1 year. They have improved as leaders, but they are likely a year off.
The coaches brother was HR for Cardinal Health and gave the coach surveys used for organizational development. Yada Yada Yada...
He found out that the one player that most of the team looked up to and respected was the guy who got little playing time.
So like what bhd maybe alluding to, the most athletic or best player on the team may not be the leader of the team. Josh might be too emotional, Greg too quite, Schyer too young... the exciting thing is right now, I don't think a defined leader has come out! Which means (IMO) our leader may come out during the tournament. And can you imagine what this team will look like with a true leader on the floor?
I'm getting goosebumps!
Ghost - a.k.a bee -
"fat, happy rats never run mazes"
I'm saying that this team (not Greg) has to step up and someone has to be a leader. Right now if Duke trails with a last shot, even though we all are die hard Duke fans (that's why we're here), you know in your gutt, though you'll never admit it, that you're not very confident. YOu KNEW when Jason had the ball with at least 5 seconds, he had a great chance to score.
I think the Brand,JWill,Battier team was truly exceptional and very unique to today's game.
I think Josh has a GREAT opportunity to be a leader but he's got to keep his emotions in check. When he comes to the huddle extremely upset, he doesnt help his team.
Not only did he say it, he did it. He went out and scored all of the final points to take the game to overtime where Duke would win.
That's what I'm talking about! I love that guy!
I do agree that this years team doesn't have a guy equivallent to Shane/Nate either. I don't think they aren't as good of leaders as J-Will was as a junior, either. Are they as good as J-Will as a Soph? I don't know how I feel about that. I don't feel J-Will had to show leadership then. He just had to play well. I know we don't have a player with J-Will's talent on this roster. As leaders, no one has stood out as amazing either, yet. Hopefully they will develop as leaders. I know some are trying. Josh and Greg are the leaders of this team. Not always effective yet, but there is hope.
Anyways, this is all just my opinion. Maybe J-Will was really "THE" leader on that title team as a Soph. I can only state my opinion. My opinion was that J-Will only became a 'leader' as a Junior... after Shane and Nate left. Of course, you are entitled to your's as well.
Last edited by bhd28; 02-27-2007 at 10:49 PM.
If I remember correctly, Nate was the "quiet leader" of that NC team. Shane was the obvious leader... in fact, I remember Coach K saying that he let Shane give the pre-practice talk before every practice... something that he has never done before, and I don't think he has ever done since. But Nate was, along side Shane, the "quiet leader". With all of the comparisions of Nate with Dave, maybe Dave will be that "quiet leader", if not "the" leader, that the team needs. As posted above, the leader need not be the best player on the team. I really like Dave and his progress this year. Just a pleasant, and unexpected surprise.
as a former duke varsity athlete i might also add that it's a very unique individual who can lead without being one of the best players on the team. it's simply hard to lead without being at the front of the pack.
From what I've seen, Paulus absolutely has "it" when you talk leadership. No matter what has gone on, good or bad, he is always engaged and thinking about what happens next on the floor. Watch him at the free throw line, and he is calling out the defense before he shoots. He doesn't spend a lot of time talking to the refs, he just plays.
He's also there encouraging the other players, doing just what you want from your floor leader.
I think Paulus' rough patch was his turn in the wilderness, like much of Duhon's junior year. I couldn't believe the heat Duhon took that year from fans, yet opposing coaches continually talked about his toughness and leadership. Anyway, I've been really impressed with Greg's attitude this whole year. I think when it's all said and done he'll have had a great career at Duke.
Just my $.02
The next year, Williams was the team's leader, or he tried to be. Trouble was, he had never been in that position before. No one on the team had. As a result, he and the rest of that incredibly talented group failed whenever an opponent was actually able to challenge them -- which wasn't often.
Duke's recent history seems to suggest that a player needs to try, and fail to at least a small degree, for one year attempting to lead before he figures it out and performs extremely well at it the next year.
Some examples: Shane Battier, Chris Duhon (the clearest of them all), Trajan Langdon, JJ Redick. I'm hoping DeMarcus Nelson's name gets added to the list next year -- unless he turns into a great leader down the stretch this year.
One notable exception to this pattern is Grant Hill, who took the reins from Bobby Hurley and led a relatively underwhelming to within a couple of minutes of a national championship in 1994.
Please do not mistake my words here as bashing certain players. I think that the ones I have singled out for praise demonstrated an ability to lead above and beyond even the very good. They were truly great. This is debatable, of course, so hopefully folks will find it worthy of discussion.
Last edited by devildownunder; 02-28-2007 at 03:29 AM. Reason: left out a point I wanted to make about DeMarcus Nelson