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Patrick Yates
12-08-2007, 03:26 PM
As we all get into the love fest for today's game, which is well warranted, I just wanted to take a few moments to talk about where this team can go. I know that this season still has a lot of games to play, and I think the team is much better that I had anticipated. I now beleive we are at least a solid threat to reach the FF, whereas before the season, I did not have that belief.

Still, the future is so bright for Duke, both as a team and for the individual kids themselves. During the game today, I really liked when one of the announcers talked about the things that certain players needed to improve. It was not a knock, rather it was more in the vein of "this would make the kid a stud" type of thing.

Singler: Strength. Seriously, that is all he needs. 10-15 lbs of muscle would make him brutal. It would make him more explosive, and even better able to finish in the paint. He would no longer be vulnerable to physical defenders, and he would be better able to defend physical low posts. But that is it. Everything else will improve just by him playing. He looks great, but he could be even better.

Thomas: Strength, shooting. He looks better than last year, but again, 10-15 lbs would make him a beast. He may never approach Kyle's skills or instincts, but he could be a McCleod type of player.

Smith: Strength. This was the comment that set off this post. He had a fantastic game today. Just imagine him with 10-15 lbs of muscle. Whereever Demarcus went last summer, to that SEAL trainer, Nolan needs to spend his summer there. With a stronger upper body, he might become unstoppable. By his Jr year, he could be the best PG in college ball.

Paulus. He is what he is. He is close to maxing out his natural gifts.

Zoubek. Strength, hands, feet. Today was Zoubek's best game as a Devil. The only knock is his body. With more strength, many of his problems will go away. Stronger hands would be less prone to losing the ball, or getting it knocked away. Without this fear, I think he would be more assertive with the ball, negating any foot problems. The right strength program will improve his balance, power, and explosiveness.

Scheyer. Shoot faster. Seriously, this is all I can find that's wrong with him. 5-10 lbs wouldn't hurt.

King. Getting in shape. I don't know that he necessarily needs to get bigger, just more conditioned. I think that would make him a stud. Ironically, he also needs to work on his FTs.

Henderson. All he needs to do is work on passing the ball off the dribble. Everything else is great.

The best thing is, no one needs a lot of work, or to drastically overhall their games. In recent years, it has been possible to look at numerous of our players and say this kid needs to shoot 1000 jumpers this summer, or that kid needs to be dribbling a basketball everywhere he goes, or yet another kid needs to LIVE in the weight room.

That is not the case this year. For the kids who need strength, they only need marginal gains. It is not like anyone needs to gain or lose 20-30 lbs, which requires a tremendous summer to accomplish. No one needs to overhall their shooting motion, or drastically improve ball handling, or passing, or defense.

The improvements I listed are mere tweaks. Sprinkles on a sunday, if you will. When I look at this team, I can actually see kids who are hungry, who almost certainly will make the adjustments that they need to make. As good as we look this year, and we do look better than we have looked in a few years, we can be so much better.

Previously, I had whined and moaned that the Monroe miss might have drilled us out of a chance to win it all next year. I no longer believe that. With minimal personal improvements accross the board, all of which are easily achievable, Duke might have a great year next year, even by our lofty standards.

So, I will sit back and enjoy this year, a year in which we are better than I had hoped. But everytime I watch the team, I see the ability to be great.

Patrick Yates

Saratoga2
12-08-2007, 03:34 PM
I agree with your post although I think Nolan has a great gift of speed and quickness. Maybe his strength is not such an issue, especially if getting stronger would slow him down. He is a player that Duke has really needed over the last few years, terrific at penetration and then able to finish when he does penetrate. He also can hit his foul shots. This in a package where the guy is a very good defender.

NYDukie
12-08-2007, 03:37 PM
New poster here today but in reading the above post it would seem the upcoming Pitt game will be a good barometer of where we stand. A top 10 team (they are up 5 w/ 5 min to go at Washington) with bulls upfront (typical Big East team) with good gaurds in Fields and Ramon unlike Wisconsin. Will be very interesting and a great test for this team to see where they truly stand early in the season.

Ben63
12-08-2007, 03:45 PM
You are dead on. And...

Zoubek: He has the physical tools to be a dominant inside post presense. He won't be like Shelden Williams, but he could be. SW was only 6' 9 and Zoubek is 7' 1. If SW had that body he would have gone top 3 in the draft with his shot blocking ability. You are correct saying he need to work on footwork. With that he would make leaps and bounds as a player.

Smith: What a bright spot he was today. If he has more games like that, he would not only help the team but Greg Paulus. Paulus struggled some last year b/c of a lack of a dependable backup. With Smith playng like he is, Paulus can rest on the bench and be ready for tight end of game situations, a luxury he or K didn't have last year.

I hadnt expected much from Duke this year either after last year. I guess I didn't see Singler or Smith producing this much and didn't expect Nelson or Henderson to improve as much as they did. Taylor Kings is a complete surprise.

Im looking forward to an excellent season. I already have Feb 6 circled on my calender.

Ben63
12-08-2007, 03:47 PM
New poster here today but in reading the above post it would seem the upcoming Pitt game will be a good barometer of where we stand. A top 10 team (they are up 5 w/ 5 min to go at Washington) with bulls upfront (typical Big East team) with good gaurds in Fields and Ramon unlike Wisconsin. Will be very interesting and a great test for this team to see where they truly stand early in the season.

Ill be in attendance for the Pitt Oklahoma St. game next Saturday. Full scouting report on Monday.:)

NYDukie
12-08-2007, 03:52 PM
Ill be in attendance for the Pitt Oklahoma St. game next Saturday. Full scouting report on Monday.:)

I'll look for it. We know what type of Duke team we will be seeing all year and a team like Pitt is going to be the one we will all question whether we can handle when it comes tourney time. IMO it will be a battle of wills, one that Duke usually wins.

It will also be the second time they will play a top team with tough inside play that will help them prep for UNC later in the season w/ Tyler/Stephenson/Thompson

Patrick Yates
12-08-2007, 04:21 PM
I agree with your post although I think Nolan has a great gift of speed and quickness. Maybe his strength is not such an issue, especially if getting stronger would slow him down. He is a player that Duke has really needed over the last few years, terrific at penetration and then able to finish when he does penetrate. He also can hit his foul shots. This in a package where the guy is a very good defender.

I agree that his speed is his greatest asset at this point, but he is must get stronger. With approximately 10 lbs on him, he would be even better. That amount of weight, if acquired through a smart exercise program, would not slow him down at all. If anything, it would make him more explosive. It would also help him get off shots better, and absorb contact. He doesn't need much, but a little more strength would make him into a superstar.

Patrick Yates

dukerev
12-08-2007, 05:20 PM
PY, I don't disagree with your assessment of Zoubek. However, I do think that a healthy foot and being in better game shape (which hopefully will come by the end of the year) will make as much a difference as more strength. Furthermore, I think that with every game Zoubek develops a bit more game-sense as to what basketball is like on this level.

I also don't sense that you are saying that our guys need to become muscle-bound, only a bit stronger.

Experience in game situations is the big thing I think our young players need more of as much as anything else.

Ben63
12-08-2007, 05:27 PM
I also don't sense that you are saying that our guys need to become muscle-bound, only a bit stronger.

But couldn't you make an argument for that in every college basketball player in the country?? Stronger always helps so long as the player is not too muscle bound

RelativeWays
12-08-2007, 05:29 PM
The one thing I love about this team is its versatility. Singler and Dmarc have off games offensively and King and Smith step up with the scoring. We could never get that last year. Duke is really only going to get better.

CatchTheFox
12-08-2007, 06:32 PM
But couldn't you make an argument for that in every college basketball player in the country?? Stronger always helps so long as the player is not too muscle bound

Well, I think the original poster was saying that strength was the most important improvement these players could make to their game to make them more competitive at their position. I don't think many people on this board would say that DeMarcus or Henderson need to hit the weight room. Furthermore, though Scheyer probably could add some weight, it doesn't mean he needs it more than he needs to look for his shot more often.

Zoubek, Singler and Thomas all could add weight just so they can improve their game against some of the other strong, wide-bodied bigs in the country. That's all.

dukestheheat
12-08-2007, 09:18 PM
Patrick,

I agree with you and Saratoga as well on Smith; we've needed that type of player and can you imagine having to guard him??! He's a bullet!

But, I am not sure if he needs to gain more weight (in terms of muscle mass). Certainly the extra muscle would make him even more explosive but I wonder if the idea with Nolan right now is just mental: clearly, today he's turned a corner on assertiveness with the ball and with his defense. He had to have had that type of play at Oak Hill.

And right now he's the one guard on Duke that has at least one full year of defending and offending Mr. Lawson down the road; Lawson makes that team go and with him neutralized, or slowed to less of what would be an average game for him, Duke may have the edge in that game.

We'll see and this is just going to be a great ride.

GO DUKE!

dth.