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View Full Version : Duke's next 'steely' attitude player?



dukestheheat
06-28-2007, 06:21 AM
Ok, a few past players on the team provided an aggressive, almost steely attitude that seemed to give the team an aura, not of entitlement, but of aggressiveness and almost invoked some fear in other teams (of Duke). This provided an extra push for our team and willed us to win, I believe.

A couple recent ones to note:

Christian Laettner,
Nate James, and
Shane 'Captain' Battier.

We need this type of player on the team, again. I believe that we've missed that for several years running now.

Who do you see as Duke's next impact player in terms of providing an aggressive spark and willing the team to win?

dth.

johnnydakota
06-28-2007, 07:25 AM
JJ? Last year, they were sooo young. It will be interesting to see.

johnb
06-28-2007, 08:24 AM
I might split "steely" into subcategories:

A. Street cred: don't come over the middle, or I'll $%#*! you up. E.g. James, Jones, Brand, etc. Hard to win without at least one, and the bar is high since most guys at Duke would take on this role if they could, but someone like Wojo or Scheyer or Grant Hill just aren't physically designed for that role.

B. Superstar psychological intimidator: Laettner would be the prototype, and McRoberts might have been a somewhat paler (though they're both pretty pale) imitation.

C. Ubercaptain on a team that is filled with great players. Battier would be the model, but other guys have probably take this role but may be less visible than those in categories A or B.

D. The best player on the floor every game: This player is steely (e.g. JJ and maybe Jason Williams), but the role is less to intimidate/undercut the other team or intimidate/encourage teammates but rather to play at such an insanely high level that he influences every game.

dukerev
06-28-2007, 09:13 AM
What you're describing in "steely" and "attitude" and the four categories thereof in the previous post all seem like "leadership" to me. Of course leadership, even effective leadership, comes in different categories. Paulus is a leader. By virtue of class and experience, McClure and Nelson are leaders. I think, though, that Lance Thomas is going to be a huge factor in leadership on this year's version of the Devils. Not only will we see a bigger impact from him on the floor (please, Lance, stop with the slapping fouls!), I think that his locker room and practice presence will make a big difference for this team.

Jaymf7
06-28-2007, 09:18 AM
I think, though, that Lance Thomas is going to be a huge factor in leadership on this year's version of the Devils. Not only will we see a bigger impact from him on the floor (please, Lance, stop with the slapping fouls!), I think that his locker room and practice presence will make a big difference for this team.

Your Lance call was unexpected. Of course, it would be huge if Lance made leaps forward this season. What have you based this prediction on?

Classof06
06-28-2007, 01:24 PM
Singler.

That guy seems to have a mean streak that Duke hasn't really had the past few years. Not only did I notice it, the ESPN guys calling the McD's AA game were saying the exact same thing. That's one of the things that really excites me about Singler, because this team needs to that attitude back...

Clipsfan
06-28-2007, 01:45 PM
I really think that Paulus has that attitude. He's shown it throughout the last couple of seasons, not only when diving into tables but by taking the big shots at the end of last season. I think that this attitude is a large part of why JJ said that Paulus would inherit the mantle of "most hated."

Indoor66
06-28-2007, 02:43 PM
Singler.

That guy seems to have a mean streak that Duke hasn't really had the past few years. Not only did I notice it, the ESPN guys calling the McD's AA game were saying the exact same thing. That's one of the things that really excites me about Singler, because this team needs to that attitude back...

and he hasn't ever suited up with a D on his shirt... Amazing!

dukestheheat
06-28-2007, 03:23 PM
class of '06-

i agree that we need that 'swagger' back. we have not had that in awhile; last year, many of our players seemed to lack confidence and i'm hoping one of the guys can fit that Laettner/James/Battier mold. the others will feed off of it, and maybe it can be Gerald Henderson.

dth.

dukestheheat
06-28-2007, 03:26 PM
clipsfan-

Paulus may take all the 'stuff' that's been dished on him the last couple years, especially last year, and come out this year like a BAD-I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.. I wonder if it instead might be Gerald Henderson?

We need one guys, and that'll help get our swagger back. I know it's there under the surface, if we can just get someone to bring it out.

dth.

Bob Green
06-28-2007, 05:02 PM
I agree with Clipsfan. A healthy Paulus will be the man with the "refuse to lose" attitude.

Bob Green
Yokosuka, Japan

mapei
06-29-2007, 03:27 PM
I know what y'all mean, but personally I'm not a big fan of "attitude" in sports. You can be a competitor and a winner without being a jerk or in-your-face about it, and those are the guys I'm going to root for.

I think (and hope) you're not saying anything inconsistent with that, but there's a fine line when we start thinking a "mean streak" and/or "bad-I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this." 'tude is something to celebrate. Not for me, thanks.

Sixthman
06-30-2007, 07:27 AM
Attitude alone doesn't make your teammates better and doesn't win games. What makes a difference on the court is successful action completed with an attitude. It's an important form of leadership. On the court it breeds toughness and confidence in teammates and demoralizes the other team. Think of Duke coming up court needing a basket and everyone in the house knowing the shot is JJ running the baseline and coming off a screen. It's the made basket that is the key, but the attitude of "you know its coming and you can't stop it" affects the feel and outcome of the game. Think of Duke coming up court needing a basket, and Jason Williams, instead of delaying, immediately changes speeds, drives to the basket, draws the defense and lays off for an easy dunk. The outcome was the key, but the message of "I control the outcome and I don't even need to shoot" is the attitude that demoralizes the other team. Greg Paulus could not be the playmaker wiith an attitude last year because he could not finish. Often when Duke needed a basket, he asserted his influence to slow the attack down, then, with few seconds on the clock tried to make a play and could not. THIS CHANGED AT THE END OF LAST YEAR, AS GREG BEGAN TO SHOOT THE THREE. If he can continue to nail the three and if recovery from his injury leaves him with more quickness and agility, he will have the tools to complete the action. Most people think these are big ifs. But Greg has the desire. He obviously wants -- more than anything -- to be the leader of a great team. I suspect he has the toughness and character. I suspect he is a locker room leader. But he wants to be the man on the court, and watching to see him do so, or not, will be one of the great joys of next season. I bleed blue and I'll be pulling for him.

abrhodes
06-30-2007, 08:58 AM
I agree, Greg all the way

cspan37421
06-30-2007, 12:23 PM
I like GP for the same reasons you guys do. But you know who will be fouled late and will have to hit 5 of 6 free throws to send us to the Final Four? As before, he will be named Marty.

ACCBBallFan
07-01-2007, 05:51 PM
Obvious agree on Paulus and his football mentality. Seems like when he got bloodied up by a table or was dragging one arm, he played even better, relying solely on his grit.

Last year he had too many injury problems to deal with and was not the leader people followed. The year before though he showed some of that leadership in huddles, even on a team with seniors JJ and Shelden.

It usually takes a year to develop that steely swagger, but my guess is this year's crop may all have some of it

with Singler a refuse to lose type guy taking on a fellow 5-star quicker guard one on one and not backing down.

Ditto for King who if he can play some defense, will likely be a JJ type gunner.

And also for Nolan Smith who had great preparation in high school and may be a specialist at end of game for defense and FT shooting.

But I really don't expect a lot of PT for Smith or King in year one.

I also think last year's crop are over the one year of deer in the headlights and all have that trait:

Zoubek showed it in the Blue White and then faded into oblivion. This year out of necessity he will get his chance.

Lance has a motor that never quits.

I don't know much about Gerald but at end of year before the Tyler incident he seemed to be a take over type of slasher with the ability to hit the pull up.

and of course to score however many points it was in 20-something seconds shows Scheyer may have it. It sounds like he recognized his needs for improvements and worked on them, particularly a quicker release and willingness to pull the trigger in the first place.

Marty too shows some of it when he was forced to play due to the Henderson suspenssion.

It's been a few years, so I do not expect to see it suddenly out of McClure or Nelson, though neither strike me as a guy who backs down either.

So all 11 have the skill and potential and my guess it is Singler whom they rally around. Lots to expect from a freshman but the comparisons to Bird and Magic with respect to making everyone around them better are inescapable.

Not this season but over his four years, the guy with the most swagger will probably be Taylor King.

Mcluhan
07-01-2007, 06:52 PM
Scheyer seems like the obvious candidate.

ACCBBallFan
07-01-2007, 08:46 PM
Not sure if this used to be premium or not but Beginning today through July 4th, premium content is free at

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Looking ahead to his freshman season, Smith hopes that he can bring some swagger back to the Duke program.

“I just want to bring back that swagger that they are used to having,” says Smith. “They’ve always had that one or two guys that could get it done. They had players this year, but they just didn’t get it all together like they wanted to. So now with Taylor, Kyle and myself coming in we can help.
“Kyle can just flat out play, Taylor’s a shooter and myself we’re just coming in winners. Hopefully those close games that they lost this year, they won’t be losing next year.”

With his campus arrival only a few months away, Smith is busy readying himself for life in the ACC. There are areas of his game that he knows need work, but it is no surprise that he’s confident in his abilities to get the job done and that bodes well for his future.

"I’m going to work on my ball handling and getting stronger,” said Smith. “I just want to get in shape so I can lock up on defense and get after it pushing the ball on offense and scoring. It really doesn’t matter to me whether I play the one or two, whichever Coach K wants me to play, I can do it.”

dukestheheat
07-02-2007, 06:40 PM
ACCBBallFan-

I read Smith's comments with interest: he's noting that Duke has lost swagger and I do agree with him.

This begs the obvious question, and that is 'where'd he hear that?' I'm guessing he's gleaned it himself, or heard it from other players out there. Could be K?

I like Smith. He's going to push really hard for minutes at PG and I just love his guts and athleticism.

I'm more excited going into next year. Now if I can just not kill myself kiteboarding this summer I'll be around for the fall when the water's too cold for ME to get in it.

dth.