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jsimmons
03-04-2007, 07:10 PM
Just a couple of quick thoughts on the season heading into the post season. I will be interested to hear your thoughts as well.

- I cant tell if Josh should go pro. If he goes down I think his play has taken away some of the potential NBA guys might have see nin him. Secondly If he stays do you think he will be starting once this new class begins to gel. Josh continues to underachieve, and seems to have a ****iness about him that I dont understand. He hasnt played to a degree that would allow ****iness. He seems to be in slow motion when he inbounds the ball, and seems to care more about making a flashy play, than finishing a play.

-I dont see how Paulus will be starting once Nolan is comfortable in the offense. I would be surprised if he is starting once conference play begins. He is outsmarted more than outplayed, and that is something that worries me. He makes bad passing decision still, and hasnt seemed to progress much this year. His defense has continually declined, and isnt fast enough to keep up with the elite guards in the conference. He reminds me of Duhon. Consistent poor decisions on offense, and defense that is shaky at best.

-Henderson will continue to develop and will be very key next year. His offense will be a much needed pick me up, and is a tough match up for other teams.

-McClure brings nothing to the table offensively. He has to work more in the off season if he is to play next year.

Cant wait to hear your thoughts.

Fish80
03-04-2007, 07:14 PM
Are you a tar heel?

wiscodevil
03-04-2007, 07:15 PM
Just a couple of quick thoughts on the season heading into the post season. I will be interested to hear your thoughts as well.

- I cant tell if Josh should go pro. If he goes down I think his play has taken away some of the potential NBA guys might have see nin him. Secondly If he stays do you think he will be starting once this new class begins to gel. Josh continues to underachieve, and seems to have a ****iness about him that I dont understand. He hasnt played to a degree that would allow ****iness. He seems to be in slow motion when he inbounds the ball, and seems to care more about making a flashy play, than finishing a play.

-I dont see how Paulus will be starting once Nolan is comfortable in the offense. I would be surprised if he is starting once conference play begins. He is outsmarted more than outplayed, and that is something that worries me. He makes bad passing decision still, and hasnt seemed to progress much this year. His defense has continually declined, and isnt fast enough to keep up with the elite guards in the conference. He reminds me of Duhon. Consistent poor decisions on offense, and defense that is shaky at best.

-Henderson will continue to develop and will be very key next year. His offense will be a much needed pick me up, and is a tough match up for other teams.

-McClure brings nothing to the table offensively. He has to work more in the off season if he is to play next year.

Cant wait to hear your thoughts.


mole. and you don't know a lot about basketball. other than that, i'm with you 100%.

jsimmons
03-04-2007, 07:17 PM
Actually I am not a mole but thanks. Thats why I posed the question,,,what did I say that was wrong? I am trying to have a discussion here.

highlandangel
03-04-2007, 07:21 PM
I think one of the biggest problems in my opinion with the post was your point about McClure. Offense isn't just getting the ball in the basket - it's being in position for screens, rebounds, hustling, on both ends of the court. Quite frankly I would consider McClure one of the most valuable players this season, not on the stat sheet, but game in and game out he has played with more heart and hustle in EVERY game then many players in the conference this year.

jtholland
03-04-2007, 07:22 PM
my email says alumni.duke.edu, and I think he's spot on. Although I think Paulus will play some next year, he might be fighting for his job, and McRoberts should have gone last year if he cared about his money/career. He has no post moves to speak of, and no jumper. How will he score in the league?

That being said, I'm more interested in figuring out how we can still cause some damage this year. Other than to Tyler's nose.

Constantstrain 81
03-04-2007, 07:22 PM
There is no big man in the conference with more responsibility on him than Josh. He plays big minutes, handles the ball, rebounds, has to try to create his own shots from all angles (still his weakest point), and has to totally anchor the defense. He might be more important to our defense than Shelden was last year. Only the consistent mid-range shot and the consistent post move remain (that will have to wait until the summer). He is a warrior. He had back surgery last summer, got little work in, and has been showered with expectations all season long. Yet, he is still showing up and doing everything.

Paulus not starting? He is the team's leader. His shooting and leadership is evident in everything he does. All this with the heavy weight of expectations and poor comments from everywhere (even from his own Duke fans). Instead of appreciating Greg and his leadership - sometimes we tend to spend all of our time comparing him to other famous Duke players that he is not. He is Greg Paulus and he will usher in the next great era of Duke Basketball. Heck, he might even do it this year.

I am proud to be a fan of Duke and this two young lions. Injuries, the toughest schedule in the league, huge expectations, the youngest Duke team in 60 years, and the huge "pay-back" that every team wants for us -- all that and we finish 8-8 (Win Va Tech, Va, and FSU and we are tied for first - all were winnable games lost at the last second).

I am looking forward to the tournaments.

dbowen
03-04-2007, 07:22 PM
I'm sure you'd love to hear my comments; but this board would not appreciate the profanity and other comments I would use to reply to your rediculous post.
This is a young team and that's something we'll have to live with.
Attacking Josh and Greg (Both young sophomores OH, By The Way) will not make this team any better and will not make our fan base any better.
Sorry if this seems a little harsh, but you need to go find a closet because you've just labeled yourself a fair weather fan.

jsimmons
03-04-2007, 07:25 PM
highlandangel
Member Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 9

McClure

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think one of the biggest problems in my opinion with the post was your point about McClure. Offense isn't just getting the ball in the basket - it's being in position for screens, rebounds, hustling, on both ends of the court. Quite frankly I would consider McClure one of the most valuable players this season, not on the stat sheet, but game in and game out he has played with more heart and hustle in EVERY game then many players in the conference this year.


- He reminds me of Battier in his first couple of years. Somone who could play D, rebound and play scrappy. But if you remember the older he got the more offensive production he contributed. I hope McClure is the same way, he has a way to go, but it would be nice to see him continue developing a total game.

dukie8
03-04-2007, 07:33 PM
There is no big man in the conference with more responsibility on him than Josh. He plays big minutes, handles the ball, rebounds, has to try to create his own shots from all angles (still his weakest point), and has to totally anchor the defense. He might be more important to our defense than Shelden was last year. Only the consistent mid-range shot and the consistent post move remain (that will have to wait until the summer). He is a warrior. He had back surgery last summer, got little work in, and has been showered with expectations all season long. Yet, he is still showing up and doing everything.

Paulus not starting? He is the team's leader. His shooting and leadership is evident in everything he does. All this with the heavy weight of expectations and poor comments from everywhere (even from his own Duke fans). Instead of appreciating Greg and his leadership - sometimes we tend to spend all of our time comparing him to other famous Duke players that he is not. He is Greg Paulus and he will usher in the next great era of Duke Basketball. Heck, he might even do it this year.

I am proud to be a fan of Duke and this two young lions. Injuries, the toughest schedule in the league, huge expectations, the youngest Duke team in 60 years, and the huge "pay-back" that every team wants for us -- all that and we finish 8-8 (Win Va Tech, Va, and FSU and we are tied for first - all were winnable games lost at the last second).

I am looking forward to the tournaments.

you can't be serious if you think that mcroberts has more responsibility on him than any other big man. do you know who dudley is? who thornton is? please.

you are right that paulus is the leader and that is a big problem with this team -- there is no leadership. he has become a very effective shooter this year but, unfortunately, his main roles are to run the offense and guard the other team's pg and he has been very underwhelming in those regards.

Duke15304
03-04-2007, 07:59 PM
You gotta be kinding me, Greg will def start next year, his d is suspect, but he is leader, he runs our offense well, and he is becoming a scorer, i even see him more vaulable next year when he wont have to score w/ Gerald, JonMcroberts and Nelson being improved(hopefully) and singler and King. i am not going in w/ high expatations from the freshman b/c dominate freshman dont come around often, but singler does look like a scorer, and King has a fast release, anyway, greg will be able to dish, and his shot will be there more, so yea your a loser, have a nice day

Constantstrain 81
03-04-2007, 08:07 PM
I respect your thoughts - but I stand by my thoughts. Dudley and Thorton are big, but they are not "big" men. They don't guard big men, pick up the defensive slack, and carry the weight of expectations that big man have. This is not to suggest that Dudley and Thornton are not excellent players - simply to repeat that Josh has had more responsibility heaped on him than them. He is 19, coming off of back surgery, captain of the youngest Duke team in 60 years, and playing against teams waiting to revenge themselves on Duke for 16 years of misery. He has held up remarkably well. He has to play multiple roles on offense and defense, watch his fouls, play major minutes and ... he has no place to hide. We need him everywhere, all the time. That is what I mean by responsibility. He has stepped up. Whether he goes pro or not, I don't know. I'd love to see him stay another year and play after a summer of preparation.

Greg is a leader. Being a leader is not always wins and losses. It is a matter of perspective. Imagine being 6'1", captain of the Duke team and having all of the huge expectations heaped on you, having the national press and your own fans publically question you throughout - and yet you keep coming. You stand in the huddle and have all of those young kids looking at you and you have to deliver with calm, steady leadership. That has been Greg these last 10-12 games. Keeping the team on track, even with losses and pressure - that has been Greg. That is leadership. His assists are down 5.9 to 3.9 this year on a team that averages 20 points less a game. His scoring is up - hitting big shots over and over again - this from a short white guy that everyone expects to take the shot. Yet he does it.

I think we just need to be supportive and positive - these young guys are doing a great job. Anyway - we'll talk next year this time about Greg. I'll put my money on him.

Thanks for listening.

BGDR
03-04-2007, 08:14 PM
I also don't see Nolan Smith coming in and starting at point over Paulus, a junior who has been starting for the last two years. Nolan Smith is a combo guard, in the mold Daniel Ewing. He is not a pure point. Eventually he'll turn out to be a solid player for us. But given the depth that we will have in the backcourt next year I am not even sure he will be able to crack the regular rotation and get significant PT as freshman.

He reminds me of Duhon. Consistent poor decisions on offense, and defense that is shaky at best.

If you think Duhon's defense is shaky, then I don't know what good defense is. Duhon was a great defender in college and very solid in the NBA. His defense is the main reason why he's been getting starts for the Bulls over Ben Gordon for the past two seasons.

mapei
03-04-2007, 08:23 PM
I think Greg will and should start next year. His D is not great, but he has grown as an offensive PG and as a scorer.

Likewise Josh, whose play seemed to deteriorate a little late in the season but, in the first half or so of ACC play, he was spectacular. I don't see him as a great pro, and I think he has lots of room to grow still, but I do see him as an effective Duke starter and probably all-ACC if he stays.

McClure brings plenty to the table. He isn't a big scorer, but he's among the more valuable players this year.

What little I've seen of Nolan Smith doesn't particularly impress me as a potential starting point guard. Maybe a 2-guard or a sub at PG.

I don't buy that this is a particularly young team by today's college basketball standards. UNC is just as young, Texas is as young, I think, lots of teams are - because their good players go pro before their senior or even junior (and sometimes sophomore) seasons. It's young by Duke standards, and by historic standards, but it's not all *that* much younger, if at all, than lots of other teams that do well. No excuses.

duke98
03-04-2007, 09:08 PM
Well, on Thursday, at least.

I'm making the conscious effort to clear my mind of all blown leads, dropped passes, hard fouls, and everything that has *not* made this our favorite season ever. Because now that the jockeying for position is over, it's time for the real season to start.

First, the ACC tournament. Let's tell Sidney Lowe thanks (for beating Carolina once in embarrassing fashion, and giving me something to fall back on when they beat us) but no thanks (for not beating them a second time, and preventing them from winning the ACC), and send NC State to an early offseason on Thursday. And we'll take it from there.

Next comes the NCAA tournament. We'll probably be a four or five seed -- our lowest since I don't remember when. But think of it this way -- as a 1 seed, we've fallen to our share of four seeds in the past few years. Wouldn't it be great to pull the upset this time?

I'm not trying to be unreasonably optimistic, as I'm sure many will accuse me -- I'm just trying to be a fan. The postseason has started, folks.

Next play.

Game on.

jipops
03-04-2007, 09:13 PM
The title of this thread says end of season thoughts but the entire thread is dedicated to thinking about next season.

For one thing the season isn't actually over, the most important part of it is about to begin.

But in looking back I'm actually pretty happy with how things have turned out so far given everything that had to be overcome. Let's go back to the very beginning of the season:

--McRoberts was coming off a summer of back surgery.
--Paulus was coming off a wrist surgery and later a foot injury
--Nelson had spent the entire summer working out for the purpose of staying injury free for an entire season.
--McClure was coming off majory knee surgery

What did this mean?... none of these guys had the opportunity to focus on weaknesses in their games in the off-season and all four are the only players in rotation that are not freshmen. I don't think many people have understood this. The fact that we have been able to end the year with such a terrific RPI rating and get into the tournament after playing in such an experienced league is a very proud accomplishment. Naysayers only see on paper that we have a bunch of McD All-Americans but the actual level of skill available to put on the floor is not at the level of most of the other ACC teams. Sure we have guys with potential, but potential doesn't win games. For example, Kevin Durant doesn't have the potential to be a great college player, he IS a great college player. Tyler Hansbrough doesn't have the potential to be a great college player, he IS a great college player. Singletary, Dudley, Thornton, Wright, Gordon, are all very good ... see where I'm going with this?

So again, the fact that we have still been able to still win 20+ games after playing in one of the toughest non-conference schedules and THE toughest ACC schedule is something to be very, very proud of. This team has grown leaps and bounds from where it started. Take a look at Gerald's play and confidence. How about Paulus' scoring ability? See how Zoubek has become a decent stopper when posted one-on-one? How about the ability to pull out must win games on the road?... i.e. handling pressure, something this team did not do well early on.

Now hopefully we can squeak by State without Henderson (this could be rough), then we can see what else this growing team can accomplish.

Chicago 1995
03-04-2007, 09:16 PM
You gotta be kinding me, Greg will def start next year, his d is suspect, but he is leader, he runs our offense well

Runs our offense well? Huh?

dukie8
03-04-2007, 10:03 PM
Runs our offense well? Huh?

some people really really don't get it...

FewFAC
03-04-2007, 10:25 PM
I can't speak to Josh's draft status as a lot of it depends on who leaves early or stays. Regardless, I suspect he can and will be a solid professional, the type of professional where Duke fans are once again scratching our heads wondering why we did not see that type of productivity from him in college.

I doubt Nolan Smith plays the 1G, but unless a real 1G materializes on campus from somewhere, the chances of him outplaying Paulus are slim to none simply because of the decisionmaker. Smith could run circles around Greg and not get the nod at Duke. I will be interested in his mental makeup because HS seems likes a vacation for him.

And yeah, McClure is a highly valuable player, especially on a team with serious defensive deficiencies.

dukie8
03-04-2007, 10:37 PM
I can't speak to Josh's draft status as a lot of it depends on who leaves early or stays. Regardless, I suspect he can and will be a solid professional, the type of professional where Duke fans are once again scratching our heads wondering why we did not see that type of productivity from him in college.

I doubt Nolan Smith plays the 1G, but unless a real 1G materializes on campus from somewhere, the chances of him outplaying Paulus are slim to none simply because of the decisionmaker. Smith could run circles around Greg and not get the nod at Duke. I will be interested in his mental makeup because HS seems likes a vacation for him.

And yeah, McClure is a highly valuable player, especially on a team with serious defensive deficiencies.

this team has "serious defensive deficiencies?" other than paulus, what are they? this is one of the top defensive teams in the country and is on pace set a duke record for least ppg against.

FewFAC
03-04-2007, 10:50 PM
this team has "serious defensive deficiencies?" other than paulus, what are they? this is one of the top defensive teams in the country and is on pace set a duke record for least ppg against.

I probably overstated that a bit, but I could make a really strong case as to why the defensive deficiencies at the 1G have created such inordinate strain on the defense as to affect the offense in such a way that the coaching staff opted for a slow-down, half-court offense to reduce defensive possessions as a method of managing the deficiencies.

While the defensive stats are nice, they are also quite easily manipulated.

dukeisawesome
03-04-2007, 11:13 PM
I was thinking about it today and this season wasn't all that bad. First off, I will say I have high expectations and I don't really see the point in making excuses. Coach K has built the best program in the country at Duke and, no we shouldn't take it for granted, but nor should we be happy about "average" seasons.

We had 9 losses if I'm not forgetting any. Eight were in conference and 7 out of those 8 came to teams seeded ahead of us who you would expect to make the NCAA tournament. FSU was our only bad loss. Then, out of conference we lost to #20 Marquette. If you look at both polls, 7 out of 9 of the games we lost, the team is currently ranked in one poll or the other. So, FSU and GT are the only un-ranked teams we lost to. Then, also consider we beat #20 Air Force and #10 Georgetown.

So those are the facts. It's not a great season cause we did lose 9 games, but it's not all bad either. This actually surprised me looking at the full picture. Our offense looked inept at times early in the season, yet even playing as poor as we have by Duke standards, we are still not a bad team. And, we're certainly better now than we were early in the season.

Our major weaknesses from my perspective are lack of penetration from the point guard position, lack of an inside game, and lack of quickness. Gerald Henderson is quickly becoming a great wing player, Scheyer and Paulus are solid three point threats, and we play good team defense. The lack of quickness and penetration could easily be solved next year if Nolan Smith pans out, but I think we definitely need someone who can help Paulus out against quicker guards. An inside game probably isn't going to happen for us anytime soon, but most teams don't have that. It's unfortunate that McRoberts is such a disappointment and doesn't seem to be improving.

I think if this team can avoid quicker guards in the tournament, we could make a run, but even if we don't, at least things aren't so bleak as they sometimes appeared this season.

Also, just wanted to add that I think Coach K needs to re-think the recruiting strategy a bit. I think part of the reason we are lacking athleticism is K is shying away from the super athletic players who might leave early based on potential. I think the program might need to sacrifice some 4-year players to get some top notch athletes. Also I had a horrible thought today that GH could decide to go pro if he wants too, but I really hope he doesn't.

ice-9
03-05-2007, 01:45 AM
On balance, it's not a bad season but not a good one either. Our RPI rating is high for a good reason; we beat some good teams and lost to only good teams. The season could have gone a lot worse -- i.e. I would consider finishing out of the top 25 as a major disappointment -- and it certainly could have gone better.

For me, the major disappointments are
- McRoberts not being a force offensively, and occasionally making bad decisions
- Paulus' inability to penetrate or defend against athletic point guards
- McClure's and Thomas' inability to consistently finish strong around the basket
- Nelson not developing more savvy -- sometimes I'll be amazed by his athleticism and other times I'm cursing at the TV for his mistakes
- Not much visible development from Zoubek or Pocius
- Agonizing team turnovers
- Poor free throw shooting

Turnovers and poor free throw shooting are particularly hard to swallow. High turnover is usually a sign of a team that is not well coached or a team that is low on basketball IQ. As for free throw shooting...there's no reason for this team to be bad at it, especially for Nelson and McRoberts.

For me the major positives of the regular season are
- Good win-loss record despite the challenging schedule--the losses at FSU, Vtech, and UVA could have easily gone the other way and we beat a lot of good teams this year
- Good overall team defense
- Consistent effort
- Paulus becoming an offensive threat in the second half of the season
- Thomas, McClure and Scheyer becoming solid contributors
- It's too early to tell whether Henderson's recent assertiveness and success on the offensive end is temporary or permanent but it's looking good these past few games

I think people are disappointed because for the first time in a long time, this Duke team is clearly not among the nation's elite. Even if we played UNC ten times, one gets the feeling we'd be lucky to win two or three games. Personally I think we will overachieve this year if we get past the Sweet 16.

In looking to next season on McRoberts and Paulus:

- McRoberts will not go pro. The draft next year is going to be very strong, and McRoberts' draft stock no doubt has slid a lot. McRoberts' best chance for a high draft pick is to work hard this summer on developing a post game and reliable mid-range jumper and dominating the hell out of everyone next year. I am worried though because for long stretches during many games this season he can be the weakest link--for example, in the first half against UNC he was awful and single-handedly handicapped the team's offense. The loss at Marquette is another example. What will Coach K do next year when there will be alternatives to go to? What if Henderson becomes a stud? Will Coach K keep starting McRoberts even when it's obvious he's not deserving? If McRoberts doesn't improve significantly over the summer, would he have the playing time necessary to prove that he is worthy of a high draft pick?

- Paulus will definitely start next season and will likely start at the end of the season -- as long as he continues to shoot the way he's been shooting. Paulus has fantastic court vision but his main problem is that he isn't able to blow by a long defender. He usually needs a screen and even then athletic defenders are still able to get by and get in his face. But when Paulus is able to shoot the way he shoots, that opens things up for him. So I'm not that worried about Paulus, and there's no pure point in next year's class anyway.

I actually agree that Coach K should rethink his recruiting strategy. I think many of his principles -- man-to-man defense, overplaying passing lanes, help defense, fewer players getting more minutes, motion offense, etc. -- rely on superior talent. By superior talent I mean a combination of athleticism, basketball IQ, shooting, etc. The problem is that superior talent nowadays go to the NBA or go to schools like Texas and Memphis. The talent that Duke has been recruiting, while good, aren't particularly superior compared to those of other top schools. So I think one of the critical conditions that have made Duke so successful in the 80s and 90s no longer exists today.

VaDukie
03-05-2007, 04:32 AM
The only problem K has with recruiting is that over a two year period, the 5 players he signed have been largely MIA.

Humphries - transferred after signing
Livingston - goes pro after signing
Deng - goes pro after one season
Nelson - hurt most of first two years
McClure - hurt second year

There's no problem this Duke team has that more veteran play wouldn't solve. We're taking bumps this year but the future looks very bright.

johnnydakota
03-05-2007, 05:28 AM
Constantstrain81 is spot on. Neither Thornton nor Dudley has had to be a press breaker, direct the offense, or be the only real post defender. Josh is second in the conference in rebounding and blocks, in addition to the ball handling and passing. His scoring has dropped off only in the last couple of weeks. Gee, maybe 37 minutes per game, with all of those jobs, has worn on him. Some fellow Duke fans just want someone to blame, and when they do, they really pile it on. As was stated, until recently Josh was spectacular, including scoring double figures in 15 of 16 straight. Unfortunately, it's often what have you done for me lately. Don't forget, last year Josh was awesome in both the ACC and NCAA tourneys. Remember to give back the credit if that happens again.

devildownunder
03-05-2007, 06:22 AM
I probably overstated that a bit, but I could make a really strong case as to why the defensive deficiencies at the 1G have created such inordinate strain on the defense as to affect the offense in such a way that the coaching staff opted for a slow-down, half-court offense to reduce defensive possessions as a method of managing the deficiencies.

While the defensive stats are nice, they are also quite easily manipulated.



there is some truth in this. I've always thought that average margin of victory, shooting percentage and percentage of possessions that result in points (or points per possession to weight 3pt/2pt/fts differently) were more effective barometers of defensive production than points allowed.

I'm waaaay too lazy to crunch those numbers. Anyone have them handy?

jimbonelson
03-05-2007, 10:38 AM
Also With Coach Ks Recruiting We Lost Boteng And Boykins Via Them Not Getting Enough Playing Time And Sickness. I Dont Think Either Of These Two Would Have Became Superstars But They Both Played As Freshman And Would Have Been A Big Help This Year

FewFAC
03-05-2007, 06:16 PM
there is some truth in this. I've always thought that average margin of victory, shooting percentage and percentage of possessions that result in points (or points per possession to weight 3pt/2pt/fts differently) were more effective barometers of defensive production than points allowed.

I'm waaaay too lazy to crunch those numbers. Anyone have them handy?

I am not exactly a Pomeroy fan, but the tempo-free stats (http://www.kenpom.com/sr.php?y=2007&team=Duke) are as good as any. Maybe the goduke stats (http://goduke.statsgeek.com/basketball-m/seasons/season-stats.php?season=2006-07) cover all the basics too.

dukemsu
03-05-2007, 08:03 PM
As I look back at the season, I find myself remembering the flashes of brilliance we've seen (G's offense yesterday, the major improvement in rebounding, the overall sound defensive effort) and trying to forget the frustrations (the alarmingly inconsistent FT shooting, Josh's up and down play, and all the other symptoms of a painfully young and inexperienced team).

The seeds of a really strong team are there. A lot has to go right (Lance and Zou getting stronger, Greg being totally healthy, Singler being an at least Dunleavy as Freshman contributor) but this could be a really good team next year. But this thread's about this year-and it's not over yet!

dukemsu

Dukefan4Life
03-05-2007, 10:31 PM
As the year comes to a close a few things stand out in my mine. first we need a stopper in the back court! a guy who can defend the PG spot and not get burnt alot of the time! I am hoping the addition of NS next year will be the guy to do that, we also need a goto guy! a guy who we can count on taking the shot when we need it! right now we just dont have that guy! i think singler could be that guy! I sure hope we land PP i hear he is a killer on the boards and will provide us with some inside scoring! I think next year we will be a better all around team, still young but better than this years team

DukieUGA
03-06-2007, 10:44 AM
i think that Duke can be extremely good next year. Imagine if everybody improves as much from this year to next as they did from last year to this year. Since Duke loses no one this year to the graduation (assuming Josh doesn't go insane and declare for the draft) improvement from this group alone would put Duke high atop the most of the competition. Add in some nice recruits and i see no reason why Duke wouldn't be a legit Final Four contender.
As i've noted in other places 4 of the guys need to add substantial amounts of weight through muscle: Zoubek - 15-20 lbs; Thomas 15-20 lbs, McClure ~10 lbs; McRoberts ~10 lbs. I don't think McRoberts should or would want to gain a whole lot of weight but he does need some more power in his legs to establish lower in the post but he would lose some quickness and agility if he were to gain lots of upper body weight. Paulus, Nelson, Henderson and Scheyer should all work to improve their ball-handling. Nelson, McClure, McRoberts and Thomas need to seriously improve their shooting form, especially from the FT line. Z, LT, McClure and McRoberts need to develop better inside moves and presence on the offensive side as well. There's lots of things to work on, probably no more than in most years. But the bright side is that everyone COULD be back, and probably should be back, so as each individual improves their game, it should improve the collective team game as well.
This year ain't over yet and it'll be interesting to see if these guys can muster some internal fire and really excede expectations in the tournaments. I think that a pair of solid showings in the ACC and NCAA tourneys that fall just short of being truly exceptional will be a strong motivator for this group's off-season program. If they continue to play in the tourneys as they have lately, they'll be fine, but i wonder if that would really put the fire in them that they need to improve dramatically over the summer.