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Saratoga2
04-08-2008, 09:25 AM
I'd be interested in what, if anything, Duke fans learned from the game about structuing a team to be competitive in the national championship. Since the game was close throughout, both teams had winning characteristics. What can Duke do to be there in the future?

Lotus000
04-08-2008, 09:32 AM
I'd be interested in what, if anything, Duke fans learned from the game about structuing a team to be competitive in the national championship. Since the game was close throughout, both teams had winning characteristics. What can Duke do to be there in the future?

Keep Coach K, keep getting a gillion McDonald's All-Americans, get another AD who likes basketball, keep graduating wealthy people who donate a lot of money to the Iron Dukes and the basketball program.

markbdevil
04-08-2008, 09:35 AM
We need more players with tatoos.

Jumbo
04-08-2008, 09:36 AM
-Don't get the flu.
-Make your free throws.

Lotus000
04-08-2008, 09:38 AM
We need more players with tatoos.

Our players this year were pretty tatted up, for a Duke team. Sure, it wasn't 'Bron 'Bron or AI style, but still.....

Duvall
04-08-2008, 09:38 AM
We need more players with tatoos.

I don't want to wait. Let's just tattoo the players we already have.

Bluedog
04-08-2008, 09:40 AM
We need more players with tatoos.

haha. POTD! Seriously, it seems like everybody on Memphis has an excessive number of tattoos. And Kansas players had a fair share too. For some reason, Duke players don't typically have tattoos, although G does....Dock had them...even JJ had a bible quote somewhere (although not visible when wearing his jersey). Nolan also has a tattoo. Is that it? Just G and Nolan right now? Dmarc has one too, right?

roywhite
04-08-2008, 09:41 AM
Some championship characterstics that I saw:

good team defense
good inside/outside balance
at least a few players who can dribble drive effectively
players who can finish at the rim
good free throw shooting, esp. in the clutch
good game management by coaches

Duke has some of these elements in place, and we are aware of our deficiencies, lack of inside scoring/defensive presence and some weakness on team defense, both to the inside game, and dribble penetration.

freedevil
04-08-2008, 09:41 AM
Have Roy show up with a Blue Devil sticker on his shirt.

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 10:03 AM
Better atletes. I know many disagree or are sick of hearing it, but if you watched that game and don't believe it, I am not sure what to tell you. Doc

Classof06
04-08-2008, 10:22 AM
Better athletes. I know many disagree or are sick of hearing it, but if you watched that game and don't believe it, I am not sure what to tell you. Doc

I agree. I know it's something Duke fans hate hearing but it's so true.

I also think the mid-range game is something that needs to be addressed. You saw players like Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts with superb mid-range abilities. So many times this year, it looked like Duke was either hoisting up 3s or trying to get layups. There's nothing wrong with that but did you notice that Duke was at its best in February when we had players (Gerald, Scheyer) that really had their mid-range games going? That was a part of Gerald's game that was really starting to blossom until his wrist injury.

Gerald's mid-range disappeared with his wrist injury and that hurt because he was one of only two players (Scheyer) that consistently exhibited a mid-range game for us. If there was one glaring thing missing from Demarcus' game it was the ability to stop short of the rim (and a charge) and hit the short-to-intermediate range jumper. In four years, he just never developed it.

Once teams figured out how to keep us out of the lane by drawing charges and forcing us to rely on 3s, we were playing Russian Roulette everytime we stepped on the floor; luck ran out against WVU.

Troublemaker
04-08-2008, 10:25 AM
We need more players with tatoos.

Ha! Yeah, I can't say I learned anything from last night's game. I was extremely entertained, though.

Acymetric
04-08-2008, 10:26 AM
We need more players with tatoos.

Its funny, I had the same thought looking at all those kids' arms last night.

Jumbo
04-08-2008, 10:27 AM
I agree. I know it's something Duke fans hate hearing but it's so true.

I also think the mid-range game is something that needs to be addressed. You saw players like Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts with superb mid-range abilities. So many times this year, it looked like Duke was either hoisting up 3s or trying to get layups. There's nothing wrong with that but did you notice that Duke was at its best in February when we had players (Gerald, Scheyer) that really had their mid-range games going? That was a part of Gerald's game that was really starting to blossom until his wrist injury.

Gerald's mid-range disappeared with his wrist injury and that hurt because he was one of only two players (Scheyer) that consistently exhibited a mid-range game for us. If there was one glaring thing missing from Demarcus' game it was the ability to stop short of the rim (and a charge) and hit the short-to-intermediate range jumper. In four years, he just never developed it.

Once teams figured out how to keep us out of the lane by drawing charges and forcing us to rely on 3s, we were playing Russian Roulette everytime we stepped on the floor; luck ran out against WVU.

Here's the part of this argument I've never understood. Who wouldn't consider Gerald, Markie, Scheyer, Smith, Singler, etc. to be excellent "athletes?" Gerald and Markie, in particular, could go leap for leap, bench press for bench press and stride for stride with any wings in the country. Next year we lose Markie but gain Williams and Czyz. Duke might not have a guy who is 6'10" with major hops and speed, but otherwise, Duke has plenty of "athletes," regardless of ones specific definition of that term. (I realize Paulus is not particularly quick or a good leaper and that he's slated to play a lot, though.)

Classof06
04-08-2008, 11:02 AM
Here's the part of this argument I've never understood. Who wouldn't consider Gerald, Markie, Scheyer, Smith, Singler, etc. to be excellent "athletes?" Gerald and Markie, in particular, could go leap for leap, bench press for bench press and stride for stride with any wings in the country. Next year we lose Markie but gain Williams and Czyz. Duke might not have a guy who is 6'10" with major hops and speed, but otherwise, Duke has plenty of "athletes," regardless of ones specific definition of that term. (I realize Paulus is not particularly quick or a good leaper and that he's slated to play a lot, though.)

I've only seen EW once and have yet to see Czyz so I can't comment on them. Besides Gerald and Nolan, I don't think Duke has any above average athletes (not basketball players, athletes) on a D-1 level. Demarcus would fall within the category of above average but he ain't walking through that door anytime soon. As far as Scheyer and Singler go, they're 2 unbelievably gifted basketball players but "athletic" is just not the first thing that comes to my head when thinking of either player. They're certainly not unathletic but you get my point. I'm not gonna beat a dead horse when it comes to Paulus but let's just say he's not the fleetest of foot. Lance and Zoubek clearly don't stand out athletically.

I don't think Duke is unathletic; in fact, I think Duke is sufficiently athletic to be successful. You can't be unathletic and rely on the drive-and-kick like we did and I don't think a lack of athleticism is what ultimately did us in. But when you look at some the elite teams in America and look at Duke, I see a noticeable disparity. And that disparity didn't used to be there.

Obviously those Final 4 teams are more athletic than 99% of the teams in Division 1 basketball but even compare this year's Duke team to past Duke teams and there's a gap as well.

Beyond the lack of height, Duke was exposed when the games got increasingly physcial (Pitt, Miami - I was there, WVU to a degree); what types of teams thrive when the game gets physical? Athletic teams. Last night's game was extremely physical and Memphis was the athletically superior team (though not by much); they didn't win but we can all agree that they probably should have.

Say what you want about the flu but teams that are athletically superior put Belmont away without a problem. Who was in fact the difference for us in the Belmont game? Our best athlete.

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 11:06 AM
Jumbo,

Don't worry, I do not intend this to be a bash GP thread, but your last parenthetical comment is crucial. I love GP's heart and hustle but do you honestly think he could guard any of the point guards in the final four? Our defensive system requires ball pressure, and if the point gets beat, someone helps. Kyle is not a shot blocker so who helps when Greg gets beat? If GP's minutes remain or increase we will be limited. Nolan, G, and Markie are all excellent athletes, and two of the critical aspects of athleticism are natural strenght and vertical. Jon and Kyle are good but not great athletes. Whatever athletic shortcomings they have can somewhat be overcome by smarts and skill, but not totally. The college game has unfortunately evolved into an NBA like game, and that game is played at or above the rim. Doc

Troublemaker
04-08-2008, 11:06 AM
Here's the part of this argument I've never understood. Who wouldn't consider Gerald, Markie, Scheyer, Smith, Singler, etc. to be excellent "athletes?" Gerald and Markie, in particular, could go leap for leap, bench press for bench press and stride for stride with any wings in the country. Next year we lose Markie but gain Williams and Czyz. Duke might not have a guy who is 6'10" with major hops and speed, but otherwise, Duke has plenty of "athletes," regardless of ones specific definition of that term. (I realize Paulus is not particularly quick or a good leaper and that he's slated to play a lot, though.)

I do question whether Duke has enough overall team quickness to play our style of D, which requires a lot of quickness, at a championship level. I think over the second half of the season, opponents scored on our defense with pretty good efficiency. We discussed the reasons why, and my belief was that as opposing offenses became more in-sync over the course of the season, they started to better take advantage of weaknesses in our defense. I think one of those weaknesses might be overall team quickness to play Duke's style of defense. And while it's possible that it all boils down to just one spot on the floor, that spot seems to be making a big difference. Overall, I think it's accurate to say that Kansas and Memphis have more quickness than Duke, and therefore it's easier for them to play great, championship-level defense.

weezie
04-08-2008, 11:08 AM
I don't want to wait. Let's just tattoo the players we already have.

Better yet, let's all get tatoos of K on our shoulders.

Rudy
04-08-2008, 11:10 AM
Athleticism counts but isn't everything. When the US national team with great athletes went out to play in the world and lost, it was because they didn't shoot as well as the other teams. There are all sorts of ways to win. The reason college basketball is more entertaining to me than the pros is because of things beyond athleticism: team play, heart and the emotional roller coasters that teenagers and early twenty-somethings are.

Singler is more athletic than the critics here admit. Did you notice how Duke put away games when they were ahead at the end? Put Kyle out front, clear the middle and let the other team's big guy try to stay with him.

Jumbo
04-08-2008, 11:12 AM
Jumbo,

Don't worry, I do not intend this to be a bash GP thread, but your last parenthetical comment is crucial. I love GP's heart and hustle but do you honestly think he could guard any of the point guards in the final four? Our defensive system requires ball pressure, and if the point gets beat, someone helps. Kyle is not a shot blocker so who helps when Greg gets beat? If GP's minutes remain or increase we will be limited. Nolan, G, and Markie are all excellent athletes, and two of the critical aspects of athleticism are natural strenght and vertical. Jon and Kyle are good but not great athletes. Whatever athletic shortcomings they have can somewhat be overcome by smarts and skill, but not totally. The college game has unfortunately evolved into an NBA like game, and that game is played at or above the rim. Doc

You comments about Paulus are fair. While I think there's no sense rehashing them every week, he certainly struggles on the defensive end. The same cannot be said about Singler or Scheyer. Scheyer, in particular, is a fantastic wing defender, and has shut down many an "athlete," from Ellington on three occasions to Thaddeus Young last year. I have no worries about his being quick enough to stay with any wing. And the same goes for Singler guarding fours.

Jumbo
04-08-2008, 11:13 AM
I do question whether Duke has enough overall team quickness to play our style of D, which requires a lot of quickness, at a championship level. I think over the second half of the season, opponents scored on our defense with pretty good efficiency. We discussed the reasons why, and my belief was that as opposing offenses became more in-sync over the course of the season, they started to better take advantage of weaknesses in our defense. I think one of those weaknesses might be overall team quickness to play Duke's style of defense. And while it's possible that it all boils down to just one spot on the floor, that spot seems to be making a big difference. Overall, I think it's accurate to say that Kansas and Memphis have more quickness than Duke, and therefore it's easier for them to play great, championship-level defense.

Except over the last few games, the defense improved. Defense certainly wasn't the problem against West Virginia. We know Greg is a problem at the point, and we know we don't have a shot-blocker down low. But otherwise, I don't see "quickness" being a problem.

Jumbo
04-08-2008, 11:14 AM
The reason college basketball is more entertaining to me than the pros is because of things beyond athleticism: team play, heart and the emotional roller coasters that teenagers and early twenty-somethings are.

Man, how could you watch the Spurs win the title last year and believe that team play and heart aren't incredibly important in the NBA, too, and that athleticism was super-important?

Duvall
04-08-2008, 11:19 AM
Man, how could you watch the Spurs win the title last year and believe that team play and heart aren't incredibly important in the NBA, too, and that athleticism was super-important?

That's a fair point, but I'm not sure that the Spurs can really be described as "emotional roller-coasters."

Rudy
04-08-2008, 11:23 AM
Man, how could you watch the Spurs win the title last year and believe that team play and heart aren't incredibly important in the NBA, too, and that athleticism was super-important?

Well, I will watch some of the playoffs, especially the finals. I am handicapped, too, since my home team is the Wizards. (It would be nice to see how far they can go if and when their three big guns--Butler, Jamison and Arenas-- are all healthy at the same time.)

Jumbo
04-08-2008, 11:26 AM
That's a fair point, but I'm not sure that the Spurs can really be described as "emotional roller-coasters."

No, I'm just tired of hearing college basketball referred to as the bastion of team basketball and the NBA as the culprit for all that is wrong with the game. If anything, I think both divisions of basketball are trending in the opposite directions.

gw67
04-08-2008, 11:29 AM
I note that Davidson made the Elite Eight and, IMO, outplayed the Champion. No one would accuse them of being particularly athletic although their point guard routinely beat Collins of Kansas off the dribble. Being athletic is great but basketball skills are still needed along with good offensive and defensive schemes. The four teams in the Final Four were the most skilled basketball teams in the NCAA this year. They were well rounded teams who had good size along with outstanding perimeter play. Each team also had one or two exceptional players who were capable of scoring no matter how athletic the opposition. IMO, Duke has sufficient basketball skills and athleticism to be very good next year but the team is not well rounded nor does it have an exceptional player although Singler and Henderson have the potential to be dominant college players, IMO.

gw67

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 11:29 AM
Jumbo,

Jon plays excellent defense but I would not describe his performance in Cameron as "shutting down Ellington". Ellington had 16 or 18 in Cameron and in the game at Chapel Hill he missed wide open shots. As for Kyle, like Jon he has good enough athletic ability but still gets overpowered, partly from being a freshman with less strength and partly from playing out of position. Jumbo, what is your assessment of Jon, GP, Kyle's natural strength and vertical? I realize that is not everything, but it is important. Doc

Troublemaker
04-08-2008, 11:32 AM
Except over the last few games, the defense improved. Defense certainly wasn't the problem against West Virginia. We know Greg is a problem at the point, and we know we don't have a shot-blocker down low. But otherwise, I don't see "quickness" being a problem.

Duke only played six games post-NC-State-in-Raleigh. And included in those six games were Clemson, who shot 51%, and Belmont, who took advantage of our defense for most of the game. Our initial defense against WVU was good but we didn't defensive rebound well. Of course, we were stricken with the flu in the tournament, so throw out the Belmont and WVU games, but then we're only left with a 4-game sample, one of which was the Clemson game. Defense is going to remain a concern of mine going into next season.

I agree that it's basically PG defense and no shotblocker, but those are "athletic" things.

6th Man
04-08-2008, 11:36 AM
I learned last night that I would love to have any one of the Kansas big men. They are at least 4 deep and they all have very good talent. I had not watched Kansas much this year, but they are very deep, athletic, and big. I think that is a pretty good combination. I have no doubts Kansas and Memphis were the two best teams in the country after watching the Final 4. I was thinking about Duke playing them and Kansas would have had a field day down low. They are also excellent at stealing the ball. The one thing Duke would have done to Kansas is turn them over. Kansas for a great team makes horrible passes and sometimes bad decisions. Overall, we would get outrebounded badly and they are so good defensively, we would not have gotten a lot of good looks. To me, you need a pretty strong inside guy and some really fast guards to win a championship. Singler and Thomas give it all they have, but they are way out of position. They should be 3's and 4's. The more I watched the tournament the more I became proud of the season Duke had. They should have been a sweet 16 team at least, but overall, I can tell this team won on determination throughout the year. The makeup for this team was not on an elite championship level.

Troublemaker
04-08-2008, 11:37 AM
No, I'm just tired of hearing college basketball referred to as the bastion of team basketball and the NBA as the culprit for all that is wrong with the game. If anything, I think both divisions of basketball are trending in the opposite directions.

I think the NBA product has been superior for a few years now ever since the rule changes to promote more offense.

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 11:38 AM
gw67,

Your assessment of Davidson is accurate, but one problem, they still lost. Doc

jipops
04-08-2008, 11:41 AM
No, I'm just tired of hearing college basketball referred to as the bastion of team basketball and the NBA as the culprit for all that is wrong with the game. If anything, I think both divisions of basketball are trending in the opposite directions.

Anybody who has been watching any of the Western conference games would find the brand of basketball being played much more aesthetically pleasing than many of the college games we've seen lately. Anytime the Suns or the Lakers I very much want to block out the time to watch just for the pure enjoyment of seeing good basketball. I could lump many other teams in there as well.

Yeah, the nba ain't perfect, that's for sure. But people who aren't paying attention to it are the ones giving it a bad rap.

Jumbo
04-08-2008, 11:42 AM
Jon plays excellent defense but I would not describe his performance in Cameron as "shutting down Ellington". Ellington had 16 or 18 in Cameron and in the game at Chapel Hill he missed wide open shots.

That's why I wrote "on three occasions." In the first three meetings between the two, Ellington shot a combined 6-for-27. Ellington missed a couple of open looks in the game at UNC, but those came later in the game, and he had to work extremely hard to even get open in the first place. Jon was fantastic defensively on him -- go back and look at that post-game thread. The interesting thing about the game in Cameron was that Jon didn't guard Wayne nearly as often as in the past.


As for Kyle, like Jon he has good enough athletic ability but still gets overpowered, partly from being a freshman with less strength and partly from playing out of position.

You got it. Kyle didn't get overpowered nearly as much when he was at the four. That happened when he was at the five. Next year he'll spend less time at the five, and he should be stronger.


Jumbo, what is your assessment of Jon, GP, Kyle's natural strength and vertical? I realize that is not everything, but it is important. Doc

None of the three have great verticals. Kyle and Greg have decent strength; Jon is wiry strong but needs to add a little bulk. Kyle and Jon have extremely underrated quickness. Greg is not quick.

Saratoga2
04-08-2008, 11:43 AM
Some championship characterstics that I saw:

good team defense
good inside/outside balance
at least a few players who can dribble drive effectively
players who can finish at the rim
good free throw shooting, esp. in the clutch
good game management by coaches

Duke has some of these elements in place, and we are aware of our deficiencies, lack of inside scoring/defensive presence and some weakness on team defense, both to the inside game, and dribble penetration.

I thought the good team defense was particularly evident in the way they stopped dribble penetration. Rose has few opportunities but Kansas was also slowed a lot.

I agree that both teams had the inside games with several people on each team that could play defense, rebound and also finish at the rim.

Kansas had good free throw shooting but alas, Memphis lost their knack just when it was critical.

Mamphis also seemed to lose composure coming down the stretch. Until then they looked excellent. The poor foul, the steal in the corner, the lack of a foul at the end and no time out taken in the last two critical situations. Kansas seemed to be smarter at the end.

I would add team speed and athleticism, size of the guards on Memphis and to some extend Kansas were also important.

Jumbo
04-08-2008, 11:45 AM
gw67,

Your assessment of Davidson is accurate, but one problem, they still lost. Doc

If Chalmers' shot rims out, Memphis is the national champion. If Richards' shot goes down against Kansas, the Jayhawks don't even make the Final Four. Both games were essentially even. That's why I talk about the randomness of March a lot.

MChambers
04-08-2008, 11:45 AM
Singler and Thomas give it all they have, but they are way out of position. They should be 3's and 4's.

Name one Final Four team that had someone as big as Thomas or Singler playing the 3.

Answer is none. The problem is that they are both college 4s, just like Luol Deng and Shane Battier. They'd be 3s in the NBA, but that's not what we're talking about.

We need a 5, and the only one on the roster is Zoubek. If Zoubek can improve to play 25 minutes, the size issue is addressed, as far as I'm concerned.

As Jumbo says, however, we don't have a real shotblocker (although Zoubek does affect some shots inside) or a quick point guard (unless Nolan earns more playing time).

6th Man
04-08-2008, 11:49 AM
Name one Final Four team that had someone as big as Thomas or Singler playing the 3.

Answer is none. The problem is that they are both college 4s, just like Luol Deng and Shane Battier. They'd be 3s in the NBA, but that's not what we're talking about.



Mike Dunleavy

CDu
04-08-2008, 11:51 AM
If you believe that the teams in the Final Four are exemplary of the "recipe" for making the final for and the championship game, then my conclusion would be that Final Four teams need to have a strong post presence multiple threats/ways to score, and an impact playmaking point guard. It doesn't hurt to be able to play stifling defense both inside and outside. We have the multiple threats/ways to score, but we lacked the other two.

If you look at Pomeroy ratings, it should have been clear that Kansas was a favorite to win it all. They had the #1 defense in the country and the #2 offense. In the final four, Kansas played defense on a level that I haven't seen this year. They held UNC to their lowest output of the season. They followed that up by holding Memphis to one of their lowest outputs of the season (in terms of regulation). And they did this despite playing up-tempo, which resulted in more chances for their opponents to score than, say, a UCLA or Washington St would allow. They won the rebound battle against two teams that typically win the rebound battle against their opponents. They were really impressive defensively. Offensively, they had a pretty poor shooting night. For some reason, the threes just weren't falling. For a team that shot 40% from three point range on the season and averaged nearly seven made threes per game, 3-12 is a pretty poor output for them. Despite that, they were right there with probably the other best team in the country at the end.

Memphis was the #4 offensive and defensive team in the country. They had a dominating post defense and incredibly lanky athletic defenders at every spot. They also had a premier playmaking guard in Rose. They could score off the dribble with Rose and CDR, and they had an emerging talent in Dozier. And they could really overwhelm you with length and athleticism defensively at EVERY spot on the floor.

Our liabilities compared to teams like these are in that we don't have a presence to protect the basket or dominate the boards like the others and we have a bit of a liability athletically at point guard. And we differ from Kansas and Memphis in that Kansas had phenomenal size and/or athleticism at every spot on the floor. This can potentially be overcome, but it's a reality that we have to face. Memphis had phenomenal size AND athleticism at every spot on the floor. We lack that menacing presence in the paint, and we don't currently have the quick/explosive point guard. Hopefully, at least one of our options in the post (preferably two or three) emerges as a consistent presence. And hopefully Scheyer and/or Smith can emerge as a good option at point guard to allow Paulus to continue to shift more to the shooting guard role, where he seems more suited at this point.

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 11:52 AM
Jumbo,

I almost hate to type this, but here goes. I am not an Obama supporter, but let's follow his theme and have an honest discussion about the relevance of race in basketball. Trivia question, how many white starters on either champion/runner-up team in this decade? I count 8 out of 80 players with no more than one starter on any championship team. We can talk all day about all the athleticism theme, but we are skirting the issue and black players dominate the game. In the NBA it is more obvious, and the college game resembles the NBA more each year. To paraphrase Larry Bird, it is a black man's game. By disclosure, I am a white middle aged guy who was a D-1 athlete, high school bball player. My comments are not "racial" as this is a compliment to the black athlete. Doc

rsvman
04-08-2008, 11:54 AM
gw67,

Your assessment of Davidson is accurate, but one problem, they still lost. Doc

So what? A couple of bounces one way or the other, they win. They better manage the last 10 seconds, maybe they win. The game was too close to settle the argument by saying "they still lost." In a one-and-done, the better team doesn't always win, and the guy's point is still valid despite the fact that Davidson ultimately lost the game.

All this talk on and on about how much better Memphis and Kansas were than Duke is getting ridiculous. Take Memphis out of Conference USA and put Duke there instead. You don't think Duke wins that conference? Tennessee beat Memphis and got handled easily by Louisville, who then lost to UNC, whom we beat. Texas beats Kansas, but loses to Memphis in a blow-out. Wisconsin beats Kansas State, which beat Kansas during the regular season, but Duke beat Wisconsin by something like 26 points.

You just can't put that much emphasis on one game. Period. And although Memphis certainly had some top-notch talent, I, for one, would start Singler over Dozier any day of the week, to name just one example.

CDu
04-08-2008, 11:57 AM
My comments are not "racial" as this is a compliment to the black athlete.

Umm, this sentence is a contradiction in and of itself. If you comment is based on complimenting an entire RACE, then your comment is, by definition, "racial."

Dukiedevil
04-08-2008, 11:57 AM
Both of those teams had a lot of TALL athletic guys. I think Duke has plenty of athletes, we just don't have 3 6-10 guys who can jump and run. I do think Zoubek can turn into a Sasha Kaun type player though. Maybe not quite as athletic, but close...

I would also love to have a player like Rose. He dominated this tournament and I don't think he was quite over being sick on Sunday. He looked much less confident than he did against UCLA (which has some of the best defensive guards in the country).

I was also extremely impressed with the mental toughness those teams had. Other than the free throws, both teams kept hitting huge shots and playing great D. Awesome to see such great execution and play at that stage. I don't think Duke is at that level right now, though I don't think we're that far from it. The coaching was also excellent. Lot's of in-game adjustments that changed the ebb and flow of the game. Really just a game played at a really high level. I think Memphis was the better team (by a hair), but got out-executed at the end.

In short, we are missing an elite PG and a couple of large bangers (or at least a Boozer-Sanders combo platter). We could use some more height instead of continually recruiting 6-7 and 6-8 guys for the post.

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 12:01 PM
CDu,

Citing facts about racial representation and complimenting achievement is not racial. Doc

Dukiedevil
04-08-2008, 12:02 PM
Name one Final Four team that had someone as big as Thomas or Singler playing the 3.

Answer is none. The problem is that they are both college 4s, just like Luol Deng and Shane Battier. They'd be 3s in the NBA, but that's not what we're talking about.

We need a 5, and the only one on the roster is Zoubek. If Zoubek can improve to play 25 minutes, the size issue is addressed, as far as I'm concerned.

As Jumbo says, however, we don't have a real shotblocker (although Zoubek does affect some shots inside) or a quick point guard (unless Nolan earns more playing time).

Chris Douglas-Roberts is 6-7 and Brandon Rush is 6-6.

Kyle and Lance are both listed (generously) as 6-8

roywhite
04-08-2008, 12:04 PM
Jumbo,

I almost hate to type this, but here goes. I am not an Obama supporter, but let's follow his theme and have an honest discussion about the relevance of race in basketball. Trivia question, how many white starters on either champion/runner-up team in this decade? I count 8 out of 80 players with no more than one starter on any championship team. We can talk all day about all the athleticism theme, but we are skirting the issue and black players dominate the game. In the NBA it is more obvious, and the college game resembles the NBA more each year. To paraphrase Larry Bird, it is a black man's game. By disclosure, I am a white middle aged guy who was a D-1 athlete, high school bball player. My comments are not "racial" as this is a compliment to the black athlete. Doc

How many black players were on the 2004 Argentina Olympic team that won the gold medal against a very strong international field?

Troublemaker
04-08-2008, 12:06 PM
CDu,

Citing facts about racial representation and complimenting achievement is not racial. Doc

It's racial but not racist. By definition, a discussion about race is a racial discussion. It's just nomenclature.

CDu
04-08-2008, 12:07 PM
Both of those teams had a lot of TALL athletic guys. I think Duke has plenty of athletes, we just don't have 3 6-10 guys who can jump and run. I do think Zoubek can turn into a Sasha Kaun type player though. Maybe not quite as athletic, but close...

No disrespect intended to Zoubek, but he'd have to get a LOT more athletic to be close to as athletic as Kaun. Kaun is a pretty good athlete down there. He jumps pretty well and runs fairly well. His problem is that he's not as good as Jackson or Arthur, who were just better players at his position.


I would also love to have a player like Rose. He dominated this tournament and I don't think he was quite over being sick on Sunday. He looked much less confident than he did against UCLA (which has some of the best defensive guards in the country).

I think that UCLA's guards were somewhat overrated defensively. They play fantastic team defense, but can be exploited (especially Collison) individually. Memphis' style is perfect to attack UCLA, because they avoid the screens that allow UCLA to trap and cause havoc. Thus, they could isolate their superior one-on-one talents and exploit UCLA. Kansas's defenders (Chalmers, Rush, and Robinson, especially) were, in my opinion, better one on one defenders. Also, Kansas had something else that UCLA didn't have: an intimidating presence in the paint. Individually, Kansas didn't have a Dorsey-like shotblocker, but all of their bigs protect the rim really well. They help really well, and use their length and athleticism to challenge shots. UCLA is both shorter and less athletic in the paint, and thus less intimidating.

Given that Rose really came on down the stretch, I don't think sickness was a huge issue. I'd have expected him to wear down down the stretch if sickness was a problem, as fatigue should have set in. But instead, he got better down the stretch. Perhaps it was nerves instead? I still think it was more Kansas's defense than anything else.


In short, we are missing an elite PG and a couple of large bangers (or at least a Boozer-Sanders combo platter). We could use some more height instead of continually recruiting 6-7 and 6-8 guys for the post.

Completely agree. Imagine if we had the talents of Williams or McRoberts (ignoring any potential personality issues) to start at the five spot, with Zoubek, Thomas, and McClure to rotate and provide spot minutes. And imagine a Duhon at point guard. With those two guys, I'd argue we would be the team in the Final Four, not UCLA. And I'd even argue that we'd be the team to beat, as I think a healthy Singler and Nelson, along with our wealth of really good wing players, would give us the big advantage.

As has been mentioned, anything is possible in a one-and-done format like the NCAA tournament. But life is a lot easier if you have those pieces.

Lotus000
04-08-2008, 12:08 PM
CDu,

Citing facts about racial representation and complimenting achievement is not racial. Doc


Well, it is racial, but I don't see anything wrong with it myself. Black athletes are more athletic than white athletes, especially in games like basketball and football. What's wrong with saying that?

I can't believe I just replied to this, because this thread is about to dissolve into some sort of 8th circle of Hell anyways.

CDu
04-08-2008, 12:09 PM
CDu,

Citing facts about racial representation and complimenting achievement is not racial. Doc

Actually, it is racial, pretty much by definition. It may not have the negative connotation of racISM, but it is most certainly racIAL. Perhaps you meant it's not racist?

MChambers
04-08-2008, 12:12 PM
Mike Dunleavy

I meant this year, since we were talking about what we learned from this year's championship.

In any event, I'd say Kyle is beefier than Dun-Dun was in college. Lance is probably about the same size, but without the perimeter skills.

Dunleavy was an unusually big college 3, by recent standards.

Troublemaker
04-08-2008, 12:15 PM
Well, it is racial, but I don't see anything wrong with it myself. Black athletes are more athletic than white athletes, especially in games like basketball and football. What's wrong with saying that?

I can't believe I just replied to this, because this thread is about to dissolve into some sort of 8th circle of Hell anyways.

No, it will not. Let's just act like adults and everything will be fine.

dkbaseball
04-08-2008, 12:18 PM
That's why I talk about the randomness of March a lot.

So do I after trying to bet the tournament for the first time this year. Every verity you want to hang your hat on eventually got exploded in this tournament, right down to the last game when the emerging conventional wisdom about the "length" of Memphis exploiting smaller guards failed to carry the day.

In trying to draw lessons from the tournament, the only thing I'm tentatively exploring (beyond the obvious, such as the need for inside-outside balance) is that whenever I detect anything that smells like a coaching principle, run far and fast in the opposite direction. I think coaches have a tendency to forfeit the necessity for thought in favor of principles that they can always rely on, e.g., always give 100 percent; we try to perfect what we do, not worry about the opponent; if you've got a team that you want to run, don't slow them down with a timeout.

A few weeks ago Pat Forde was talking about coaches he had gotten into it with, and when asked about any who took criticism well and tried to learn from it, the one guy he mentioned was Bill Self. After seeing so many coaches go down in the flames of their own principles, I'm thinking maybe Self was the guy who kept his brain engaged throughout the tournament -- a necessity born of previous underachievements, perhaps.

But basically, I come out of this college season feeling like I know less about the game than I ever did. And with no particular reason to be pessimistic about Duke next year.

Turk
04-08-2008, 12:20 PM
Here's a mishmash of ingredients for a championship / FF team:

1. At least 3 juniors / seniors getting major minutes (do not need to be stat monsters, however). Both Kansas and Memphis fit. UNC, UCLA were a bit younger, and of course the Devils even more so...

2. Three scoring threats - Memphis had Rose and CDR but didn't get enough out of Dorsey and it hurt. Kansas had Rush, Chalmers, and their inside guys, including that sexy Chaka Kahn (sorry, couldn't resist... I'll try harder next time). Duke had plenty of offense till the threes stopped falling, and then there wasn't much of a Plan B...

3. At least one can't-miss NBA lock. I think Memphis and Kansas had two apiece. UCLA and the Holes have a couple as well... Ah, so there you go: all the people who think K can't recruit any more have landed on this one hard... Most people would say GH is probably going to play in the League, and maybe Kyle if / when he gets a bit stronger, but I don't think most impartial observers would call them locks at this point in their careers.

4. A balanced ability to play a variety of styles - both Kansas and Memphis adapted and could play fast or slow, inside or out. Unfortunately, this season Duke was exposed when it came time to play a game in the 50s or 60s and go slam-dancing down in the paint. Sometimes it is possible to out-hustle, out-quick, and out-jump a bigger or more physical team, but rarely ever in late March.... If nothing else, Coach K has proven beyond any doubt how to define roles and play in a way that gets most out of the players. No worries there....

As the eternal optimist basking in 25 years of excellence during Coach K's tenure, I believe the glass is 3/4 full... By the way, having all these pieces does not guarantee a FF, let alone a championship, but merely allows a team to seriously consider the possibility...

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 12:27 PM
Guys,

Sorry for the typo, of course I meant racist, not racial. I was trying to be so careful with my words that I missed the most important one. Argentina's team is composed of guys who have played together for a long time, and the international game is quite different than the college/NBA game. Doc

bhd28
04-08-2008, 12:29 PM
Except over the last few games, the defense improved. Defense certainly wasn't the problem against West Virginia. We know Greg is a problem at the point, and we know we don't have a shot-blocker down low. But otherwise, I don't see "quickness" being a problem.

Is it possible that quickness isn't a problem because Duke plays guys out of position? Jon is a 1 or 2 who plays as a 2 and 3. Kyle is a 3 who plays 4 and 5.

What it seems to me is that Jon is quick for a 3, but way undersized. He is average for a 2 and a bit below average for a 1.

Kyle is quick for a 4 and VERY quick for a 5. But he is of average quickness for a 3.

So our quickness at those positions is good (when playing small ball), but those guys are undersized at those positions and can get taken advantage of in other ways. Sometimes it works to our advantage (1st UNC game) and sometimes it doesn't (2nd UNC game or WV).

Duvall
04-08-2008, 12:37 PM
Is it possible that quickness isn't a problem because Duke plays guys out of position? Jon is a 1 or 2 who plays as a 2 and 3. Kyle is a 3 who plays 4 and 5.

In what sense is Singler undersized for a college 4? Scheyer's problem at the 3 isn't his size, it's his strength. And even then his length makes up for a lot.

Jumbo
04-08-2008, 12:41 PM
Is it possible that quickness isn't a problem because Duke plays guys out of position? Jon is a 1 or 2 who plays as a 2 and 3. Kyle is a 3 who plays 4 and 5.

What it seems to me is that Jon is quick for a 3, but way undersized. He is average for a 2 and a bit below average for a 1.

Kyle is quick for a 4 and VERY quick for a 5. But he is of average quickness for a 3.

So our quickness at those positions is good (when playing small ball), but those guys are undersized at those positions and can get taken advantage of in other ways. Sometimes it works to our advantage (1st UNC game) and sometimes it doesn't (2nd UNC game or WV).

I don't buy it. Kyle is a natural college 4. No one would dispute that. Jon didn't play the 3 this year -- Nelson and Henderson guarded threes much of the time. And he's fine guarding twos, as well. Don't forget that he's 6'5".

Scoring Point
04-08-2008, 12:54 PM
Chris Douglas-Roberts is 6-7 and Brandon Rush is 6-6.

Kyle and Lance are both listed (generously) as 6-8

FWIW, Douglas-Roberts appears to be more like 6-5. The cameras showed CDR and Rush side by side several times last night, and Rush was clearly taller. Rush also clearly looked several inches shorter than teammates Darnell Jackson (listed at 6-8) and Darrell Arthur (listed at 6-9), so 6-6 for him seems legit. CDR certainly did not look 4 inches taller than Rose (listed at 6-3 though seems a little bigger), either.

Coach K has actually described Kyle as being a legit 6-9. I'll take his word for it. FWIW, with the obvious exception of Markie (listed at 6-4, but probably 6-3 tops, in shoes), I believe our staff has generally been pretty conservative with listing heights, at least in recent years.

bhd28
04-08-2008, 01:12 PM
I don't buy it. Kyle is a natural college 4. No one would dispute that. Jon didn't play the 3 this year -- Nelson and Henderson guarded threes much of the time. And he's fine guarding twos, as well. Don't forget that he's 6'5".

and

In what sense is Singler undersized for a college 4? Scheyer's problem at the 3 isn't his size, it's his strength. And even then his length makes up for a lot.


Whew... it is good to know I worried needlessly about this team's size, strength, and quickness. But it sounds like that is not a problem and we will be one of the top 1-2 teams all year next year and win the NC. Whew. I feel better. :)

6th Man
04-08-2008, 01:13 PM
I originally called Singler and Thomas better suited for 3 and 4. Singler has some skills that would allow him to be a 3, but I do understand he is more of a 4. Actually, I'll call him a 3.5. :rolleyes: Really, I was just trying to say in no way shape or form, should they be 5's and Duke expect to win it all. I just don't see it happening. Lance's skillset is definitely more 4 range. Just watching the Final 4, all teams had very good legit 5 players. Dorsey was probably the worst of the bunch and just imagine him in Duke's lineup.

Classof06
04-08-2008, 01:47 PM
I originally called Singler and Thomas better suited for 3 and 4. Singler has some skills that would allow him to be a 3, but I do understand he is more of a 4. Actually, I'll call him a 3.5. :rolleyes: Really, I was just trying to say in no way shape or form, should they be 5's and Duke expect to win it all. I just don't see it happening. Lance's skillset is definitely more 4 range. Just watching the Final 4, all teams had very good legit 5 players. Dorsey was probably the worst of the bunch and just imagine him in Duke's lineup.

Very well said. I've said since November that Kansas was the best team in America and a huge part of why I said that was that they had the deepest front line in America. You take any one of Kansas' four big man (Arthur, Jackson, Kaun or Aldrich) put them on Duke and we make it to the Elite 8, no questions asked (IMO).

This is why I think Kansas might've been the only team in the country that could beat Carolina because they could afford to continually throw bodies at Hansbrough. Jackson and Kaun each get 2 first half fouls? No problem, bring Aldrich (Freshman McDs AA) right in and pair him with Arthur down low. When Kaun is struggling to get minutes and he played like he did against Hansbrough, you know you got it good, Mr. Self.

As good as KU's guards are, they won the NC because of their front line. Same with Florida; Noah, Horford and if need be, Richard and Speights.

dyedwab
04-08-2008, 02:25 PM
is that its very similar to the one we had two years ago...except then, we were talking about athletic wings....now its athletic big men.

Basically, what we saw in the Final Four was 4 teams that seemed to be more complete than everyone else....

...we need some players to improve at their position and some freshman to be really good at others in order to win the NC....same as virtually every other contender

Saratoga2
04-08-2008, 02:46 PM
FWIW, Douglas-Roberts appears to be more like 6-5. The cameras showed CDR and Rush side by side several times last night, and Rush was clearly taller. Rush also clearly looked several inches shorter than teammates Darnell Jackson (listed at 6-8) and Darrell Arthur (listed at 6-9), so 6-6 for him seems legit. CDR certainly did not look 4 inches taller than Rose (listed at 6-3 though seems a little bigger), either.

Coach K has actually described Kyle as being a legit 6-9. I'll take his word for it. FWIW, with the obvious exception of Markie (listed at 6-4, but probably 6-3 tops, in shoes), I believe our staff has generally been pretty conservative with listing heights, at least in recent years.

We we get to see with Rush and Douglas-Roberts when they go to the draft camp. It will be interesting, but you are right, Rush looked the taller of the two.

Saratoga2
04-08-2008, 02:49 PM
Very well said. I've said since November that Kansas was the best team in America and a huge part of why I said that was that they had the deepest front line in America. You take any one of Kansas' four big man (Arthur, Jackson, Kaun or Aldrich) put them on Duke and we make it to the Elite 8, no questions asked (IMO).

This is why I think Kansas might've been the only team in the country that could beat Carolina because they could afford to continually throw bodies at Hansbrough. Jackson and Kaun each get 2 first half fouls? No problem, bring Aldrich (Freshman McDs AA) right in and pair him with Arthur down low. When Kaun is struggling to get minutes and he played like he did against Hansbrough, you know you got it good, Mr. Self.

As good as KU's guards are, they won the NC because of their front line. Same with Florida; Noah, Horford and if need be, Richard and Speights.

Florida took two, primarily with the front line, which was talented and deep as you point out. Kansas had depth as well. Memphis didn't quite have that depth but was a big team nontheless.

glutton
04-08-2008, 03:26 PM
Well, it is racial, but I don't see anything wrong with it myself. Black athletes are more athletic than white athletes, especially in games like basketball and football. What's wrong with saying that?




I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that, but I'm also not sure it's a fair assessment. The problem is that the "black players are better athletes" argument is kind of self-fulfilling; enough people believe it, including players, that it certainly affects young kids who are deciding which sport to pursue. If you were an athletic white kid, having heard over and over again that white kids aren't as good at basketball, there's a good chance you might decide to play soccer or lacrosse.

As someone mentioned earlier, international basketball competition shows that it's not strictly a racial issue.

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 03:43 PM
glutton,

Some of what you say is true, but we are not talking international basketball where the rules are different, players are older and play together for longer periods of time. For better or worse, the college game has developed into an NBA- like game where physical play tends to dominate. The better athletes who are stronger and have more vertical tend to be more effective. The fact remains that the vast majority of great college and pro players today are black. Do you disagree with the idea that black players are usually more athletic than their white counterparts? If race is not a factor why is it that 90% of the starting players of the Nat. Champship and runner up teams over the past eight years are black? Doc

glutton
04-08-2008, 03:57 PM
glutton,

Some of what you say is true, but we are not talking international basketball where the rules are different, players are older and play together for longer periods of time. For better or worse, the college game has developed into an NBA- like game where physical play tends to dominate. The better athletes who are stronger and have more vertical tend to be more effective. The fact remains that the vast majority of great college and pro players today are black. Do you disagree with the idea that black players are usually more athletic than their white counterparts? If race is not a factor why is it that 90% of the starting players of the Nat. Champship and runner up teams over the past eight years are black? Doc

You could make the analogous argument that white athletes are better at throwing footballs, since the vast majority of pro quarterbacks are white. But is that because white players make better QBs, or because the existing racial disparity in positions encourages white players to play QB, and black players to play RB and WR? As another example, I don't think you'd say that being black is a disadvantage when it comes to playing hockey, even though it's a predominantly white sport. The difference is more in opportunity and which kids are taught/encouraged to play it.

I don't disagree that black basketball players tend to be more athletic than their white counterparts, I'm simply arguing that race itself is not the only reason for that.

Troublemaker
04-08-2008, 03:59 PM
glutton,

Some of what you say is true, but we are not talking international basketball where the rules are different, players are older and play together for longer periods of time. For better or worse, the college game has developed into an NBA- like game where physical play tends to dominate. The better athletes who are stronger and have more vertical tend to be more effective. The fact remains that the vast majority of great college and pro players today are black. Do you disagree with the idea that black players are usually more athletic than their white counterparts? If race is not a factor why is it that 90% of the starting players of the Nat. Champship and runner up teams over the past eight years are black? Doc

All of that is a given. There are more blacks than whites who play American basketball and football because of various cultural and physical reasons. However, that does not translate to "having more white guys on your team puts you at a disadvantage," not that you were suggesting that. If a white guy can play, then he can play. Singler and Scheyer can play, for example. Duke could start 5 white guys but if they were all athletic and skilled, then Duke would be an outstanding team.

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 04:01 PM
As I said, I agree with some of what you say, role models, opportunity, etc. I do not think I ever said that race is the only factor, but it is a significant factor in today's game. Doc

Troublemaker
04-08-2008, 04:10 PM
As I said, I agree with some of what you say, role models, opportunity, etc. I do not think I ever said that race is the only factor, but it is a significant factor in today's game. Doc

What do you mean when you say race is a significant factor in today's game? Race is not a determinant of how good a team is, for example. If you replaced Zoubek with Kevin Love and Paulus with Jason Richards, then Duke would probably be a much better team despite the white/black ratio on the team remaining the same. I'm not understanding what you are trying to say.

RepoMan
04-08-2008, 04:31 PM
As I said, I agree with some of what you say, role models, opportunity, etc. I do not think I ever said that race is the only factor, but it is a significant factor in today's game. Doc

I find this a fascinating topic. While watching the game last night, I thought, "Wow--this game is being played very fast. There's a whole lot of athletes on the court, with guys constantly taking each other off the dribble etc." Then I noticed that everyone on the court (except Kaun) was black. Then I wondered if the only reason I thought I was seeing something different than I was used to seeing in Duke games was because of some ingrained racial stereotype that black basketball players are faster, stronger, better jumpers, etc (more athletic, if you will) than white basketball players.

In the end, though, I'm not sure it really matters. The observation about race and its relation to athleticism in basketball only matters if you can draw some conclusion from the observation. In other words, are you more likely to win a game if you have more black players? (Doc, is that what you mean when you say "race" is a "significant factor" in the game? Or, do you mean something else?)

I think, clearly, it would be a mistake to conclude that, in general, recruiting more black players will increase your odds of success.

Are there more elite black basketball players in college basketball? Yes.

Does that mean that elite black basketball players are more likely to succeed than their elite white counterparts? No. I mean, you don't really have to look to dig too deep to show that. (Heck, you don't even have to look outside the ACC.)

So, then you are simply left with the issue of, why are there more elite black college basketball players? And, as Glutton mentions, there may be many sociological reason for that. Could there be other reasons? I dunno.

But, I do know that just because Duke has more white guys on its team, doesn't mean it is more likely to lose.

And, I also know that if you picked one white guy and one black guy at random off of NCAA tourney teams, the vast majority of people would conclude that the black player is more athletic, probably without even watching them play.

Interesting stuff.

In the end, though, I think that making any group assumptions based on skin color, regardless of how you interpret what you perceive to be relevant data, is perilous.

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 05:24 PM
Troublemaker,

What is it that you don't get? Sure if you have better white players as you described, you will be better, but the odds indicate you will be less likely to be successful in the NCAA tourney or the NBA. Again, how else do you explain the fact that 90% of the starters of the NCAA winner/runner up teams since 2000 are black? Doc

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 05:28 PM
Repoman,

Yes, I am saying that if you have more black players, you are more likely to be successful in the NCAA tourney. History supports that conclusion. 90% of the starters of the NCAA winner/runner-up since 2000 are black and none of those teams had more than one white starter. Doc

Troublemaker
04-08-2008, 06:05 PM
Troublemaker,

What is it that you don't get? Sure if you have better white players as you described, you will be better, but the odds indicate you will be less likely to be successful in the NCAA tourney or the NBA. Again, how else do you explain the fact that 90% of the starters of the NCAA winner/runner up teams since 2000 are black? Doc


Repoman,

Yes, I am saying that if you have more black players, you are more likely to be successful in the NCAA tourney. History supports that conclusion. 90% of the starters of the NCAA winner/runner-up since 2000 are black and none of those teams had more than one white starter. Doc

But there's nothing inherently disadvantageous about being white, nor is it advantageous to be black. Your stats are what they are due to complex cultural and physiological tendencies and the interplay between them over several decades of basketball history, and those tendencies don't need to be discussed here because they are irrelevant to how Duke should recruit. Logically, when recruiting, coaches have to evaluate players on an individual level and not by the color of their skin or because they are part of another group. A guy can be white and be a spectacular basketball player, for example. So, your conclusion should not be "recruit more black players," if that's your conclusion, but rather "recruit more good players." There is no insight to be gained from your stats, at least not with regard to how to build a team.

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 06:53 PM
Troublemaker,

I guess we just do not agree but I think you are in the minority thinking in this sense. In today's basketball world, the best programs recruit the best players, and the best players are predominately black. The best players are black for a variety of reasons, one of which is the fact that they are usually better athletes than their white counterparts. I do not think these facts are irrelevant when recruiting players at least not if I was recruiting. Doc

bhd28
04-08-2008, 06:58 PM
What do you mean when you say race is a significant factor in today's game? Race is not a determinant of how good a team is, for example. If you replaced Zoubek with Kevin Love and Paulus with Jason Richards, then Duke would probably be a much better team despite the white/black ratio on the team remaining the same. I'm not understanding what you are trying to say.
Better than if you replaced them with Beasley and Rose?

roywhite
04-08-2008, 07:03 PM
Troublemaker,

I guess we just do not agree but I think you are in the minority thinking in this sense. In today's basketball world, the best programs recruit the best players, and the best players are predominately black. The best players are black for a variety of reasons, one of which is the fact that they are usually better athletes than their white counterparts. Doc

Seems to me that Troublemaker is fairly clear. I don't understand what your point is, as regards to suggestions for Duke's future course. We should not recruit a player like Jon Scheyer or Kyle Singler? That we should evaluate players as we see them, but with one strike against a white prospect?

Has there been a drastic change in race/background of good players over the last 20 years? Duke and Coach K have won plenty of games by recruiting good players, some of whom are black and some of whom are white.

Duvall
04-08-2008, 07:03 PM
http://safeliving.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/codes-wheel.jpg

ArtVandelay
04-08-2008, 07:10 PM
I originally called Singler and Thomas better suited for 3 and 4. Singler has some skills that would allow him to be a 3, but I do understand he is more of a 4. Actually, I'll call him a 3.5. :rolleyes: Really, I was just trying to say in no way shape or form, should they be 5's and Duke expect to win it all. I just don't see it happening. Lance's skillset is definitely more 4 range. Just watching the Final 4, all teams had very good legit 5 players. Dorsey was probably the worst of the bunch and just imagine him in Duke's lineup.

I think you're right that Lance's skillset should ideally be a 4, but have you ever really seen him show those skills? The two guys in the Final Four that made me think "wow, this could be Lance's role if he were better" were Mbah a Moute and Dozier - all three being long, somewhat slender, and quick guys around 6'8" - 6'9". I was salivating watching Dozier put the ball on the deck one possesion and then step back and knock down the three the next. THe problem is that Lance has never shown an ability to do either of those things. I mean, not even a little bit. He is clearly being groomed as a post player offensively, and he has improved in his footwork and positioning in that regard, so I'm assuming the coaching staff must have determined that he will never be a "put it on the deck or pull up and shoot the jumper" type offensive threat.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Lance's size and athletic ability doesn;t seem to suit him well for the 5 either, but he hasn't really shown the offensive ability you'd like at the 4 and the the staff doesn't seem to be developing him that way.

Troublemaker
04-08-2008, 07:17 PM
Troublemaker,

I guess we just do not agree but I think you are in the minority thinking in this sense. In today's basketball world, the best programs recruit the best players, and the best players are predominately black. The best players are black for a variety of reasons, one of which is the fact that they are usually better athletes than their white counterparts. I do not think these facts are irrelevant when recruiting players at least not if I was recruiting. Doc

The stats are irrelevant because you can judge athleticism without relying on skin color. When a coach sees Olek Czyz sprint the floor very fast and rise for a finish with his head near the rim, then the coach knows that Czyz is athletic, regardless of whether he is white or black. If you want more athleticism, then recruit more athleticism, which is not equivalent to recruiting more blacks.

Troublemaker
04-08-2008, 07:19 PM
Better than if you replaced them with Beasley and Rose?

No, but that's because I think Rose is a better player than Richards. But not because he's black.

dukie8
04-08-2008, 07:30 PM
All of that is a given. There are more blacks than whites who play American basketball and football because of various cultural and physical reasons.

i don't think that this is correct. whites are 66% of the us population and blacks are 13%:

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

i cannot find data on the racial numbers of grade school and high school basketball and football players but i have a very hard time believing that, in the aggregate, more blacks than whites play these 2 sports pre-college because whites so far outnumber them and nearly every town -- white or black -- has both sports for youth.

i also have a problem with the notion that there are a lot of white guys who could be great basketball players but who happen to choose lax, hockey or tennis due to cultural reasons. pretty much every boy is exposed to basketball in the us because it is virtually free, is very high profile (in terms of tv or role models), is social and doesn't take a lot of pain to play (like say, football, where you get killed in most practices, or an endurance sport, which requires extremely painful workouts to improve). if you are a good athlete in high school and can play multiple sports well, basketball inevitably is the one that you gravitate to for these reasons. if you can play it really well, then you eventually get rid of the other sports to focus on it. i'm sure that there are exceptions (probably mostly in football) where guys ditch basketball for another sport, but the vast majority of the time it is the other sport(s) that get ditched for basketball.

the other thing to do is to look at the nba and see the dearth of white players. a couple of months ago at work we were bored and looked at who the best us-born white players are in the nba. it's not pretty. no all stars and very few players other than backups or role players. dunleavy may be the best of the lot.

i'm not taking either side of this discussion because i think that you can win with white or black players -- it's just that the white players that you can win with (eg, laettner or hurley) are much rarer and i think that some misinformation has been stated here.

weezie
04-08-2008, 07:36 PM
Hate to interfere with the discourse but I finally got to see the KU vs. holes game on rebroadcast this afternoon. About the only thing I could see missing from the Kansas offense was the guy running out during a play to toss a bucket of confetti on the big white stiff playing center for the Washington Generals.

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 07:37 PM
Roywhite,

I did not say to not recruit Singler or Scheyer , but do not surround them with Paulus, Pocius and Zoubek. Yes, basketball has changed drastically over the last 20 years both in style of play as well as how the games are called. Doc

Troublemaker
04-08-2008, 07:38 PM
i don't think that this is correct.

That's true. I was missing the word "college."

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 07:46 PM
Troublemaker,

I realize Olek is athletic, and I have seen his clips and play. The fact remains that you are more likely to be successful if you recruit a similarly athletic player who is black. I would thinkd that there are quite a number of 6'7/6'8 black guys who are as athletic as Olek and who are ranked higher that would love to come to Duke. Listen, I hope Olek is great and turns out to be a diamond in the rough, but history indicates that he is not likely to be the piece of the puzzle that we need to return to the final four. Doc

MChambers
04-08-2008, 07:46 PM
Troublemaker,

I guess we just do not agree but I think you are in the minority thinking in this sense. In today's basketball world, the best programs recruit the best players, and the best players are predominately black. The best players are black for a variety of reasons, one of which is the fact that they are usually better athletes than their white counterparts. I do not think these facts are irrelevant when recruiting players at least not if I was recruiting. Doc

that a reporter asked Coach K when he got to the Final Four for the first time whether he had made a conscious effort to recruit black players, and he said, no, he had made a conscious effort to recruit Polish players, but he couldn't find any that were smart enough to get in Duke.

Can we end this debate?

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 07:50 PM
MChambers,

And the date of that quote? The game has changed and Mike knows that better than you or I. Doc

Karl Beem
04-08-2008, 08:06 PM
Roywhite,

I did not say to not recruit Singler or Scheyer , but do not surround them with Paulus, Pocius and Zoubek. Yes, basketball has changed drastically over the last 20 years both in style of play as well as how the games are called. Doc

You have a problem with the athleticism of Pocius?:eek:

Chard
04-08-2008, 08:09 PM
Troublemaker,

I realize Olek is athletic, and I have seen his clips and play. The fact remains that you are more likely to be successful if you recruit a similarly athletic player who is black. I would thinkd that there are quite a number of 6'7/6'8 black guys who are as athletic as Olek and who are ranked higher that would love to come to Duke. Listen, I hope Olek is great and turns out to be a diamond in the rough, but history indicates that he is not likely to be the piece of the puzzle that we need to return to the final four. Doc

If we painted Olek black would this help? I think your argument is quickly turning into a joke.

Also, how many of those black players are of mixed racial background? How can you call all of them (your 90% sample) black? Would Battier count or only half of him?

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 08:10 PM
Karl,

Yes I do because although Marty has good vertical, he lacks foot quickness and his hand quickness and strength appear to be average to me. Doc

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 08:13 PM
Chard,

If my argument is such a joke, why are the overwhelming majority of top level college and NBA basketball players black? As for the mixed race question, I only know two, Carlos and Battier but there are not likely many more and that certainly does not change the stats very much. Doc

Karl Beem
04-08-2008, 08:16 PM
Chard,

If my argument is such a joke, why are the overwhelming majority of top level college and NBA basketball players black? Doc

I could bring up nature vs nurture but that would simply confuse the matter. Consider this: how many of the KU and Memphis players could make it at Duke?

dkbaseball
04-08-2008, 08:19 PM
Duke could put a 3/5 white lineup on the floor next year that, while not as big in the post as you might like, would give nothing away to anybody as far as athleticism and aggressiveness in attacking the rim -- Smith, Scheyer, Henderson, Singler and Czyz. I can't wait to see that unit play.

Troublemaker
04-08-2008, 08:22 PM
Okay, guys, let's follow MChambers' suggestion and end the discussion of this sidebar racial topic. The reasons are twofold:
(1) I don't think the points being made can be made any more clearly. We're just repeating ourselves at this point. So let's agree to disagree.
(2) I'm sensing that it will become uncivil pretty soon.

Let's get it back on topic: "takeaways from the national championship game", if anyone has anything else to say about that.

If it becomes uncivil, I'll lock the thread. Apologies to anyone who takes issue.

dukie8
04-08-2008, 08:24 PM
Duke could put a 3/5 white lineup on the floor next year that, while not as big in the post as you might like, would give nothing away to anybody as far as athleticism and aggressiveness in attacking the rim -- Smith, Scheyer, Henderson, Singler and Czyz. I can't wait to see that unit play.

we haven't seen czyz play so he is an unknown. however, if you think that scheyer and singler match up to the players who were on the court last night in terms of "athleticism and aggressiveness in attacking the rim" then you were watching a very different game than i saw. don't get me wrong, i like their games, but the qualities you just credited them with are not exactly what they are best at.

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 08:24 PM
Karl,

I do not know the details of the KU/MU academics, and I am sure many of them could not get in, but as we all know there is generally more than a little wiggle room in the admissions process with bball. Hey, I am in favor of giving some of these kids a chance. Sean D.'s academics were widely criticized and discussed, and he represented himself quite well at Duke. Doc

doctorhook
04-08-2008, 08:29 PM
Troublemaker,

I certainly understand if you lock it up, but I do think different points about specific players and certain situations are new material and not recycled. I assure you I will not become disrespectful, and I only pursue this so vehemently because of my many years of loyalty to Duke. I honestly feel that if we do not change our recruiting pattern, we will not see the National Championship game for some time. I hope I am wrong about all this. I have been to all of the Duke NC games but one. Doc

dkbaseball
04-08-2008, 08:42 PM
we haven't seen czyz play so he is an unknown. however, if you think that scheyer and singler match up to the players who were on the court last night in terms of "athleticism and aggressiveness in attacking the rim" then you were watching a very different game than i saw. don't get me wrong, i like their games, but the qualities you just credited them with are not exactly what they are best at.

I've seen Czyz play 12 times, and would put him up athletically with most anyone I've seen this year. Disagree about Singler and Scheyer. They both have decent athleticism and are aggressive going to the rim (Singler less so as the season progressed). Smith and Henderson can be excellent penetrators.

But to return to the main point of the thread, I think it's more a matter of chemistry, how the skills on the court come together. As someone pointed out, an open jumper goes in and Davidson, hardly the most athletic team, goes to the final four instead of Kansas. I think Duke next year will have all it needs in terms of raw tools, but it's all about how they mesh.

dukie8
04-08-2008, 09:45 PM
I've seen Czyz play 12 times, and would put him up athletically with most anyone I've seen this year. Disagree about Singler and Scheyer. They both have decent athleticism and are aggressive going to the rim (Singler less so as the season progressed). Smith and Henderson can be excellent penetrators.

a lot changes when the competition goes from your local high school league to the acc. it remains to be seen how athletic he is at the elite college level. melchionni played every monday night at my gym one of his summers (i think after his junior year) against former college players. granted that most played at ivies but he was by far the most athletic player out there every night in terms of quickness, jumping, shooting, etc. he looked like an absolute stud out there.


But to return to the main point of the thread, I think it's more a matter of chemistry, how the skills on the court come together. As someone pointed out, an open jumper goes in and Davidson, hardly the most athletic team, goes to the final four instead of Kansas. I think Duke next year will have all it needs in terms of raw tools, but it's all about how they mesh.

davidson had (1) a pg who led the country in assists and who routinely blew past his more "athletically gifted" defenders of gonzaga, georgetown, wisconsin and kansas; (2) probably the best scorer in the country and (3) multiple big guys who not only could defend impressively the more "athletically gifted" bigs of their opponents, but also, keep their opponents honest on defense by scoring if left alone when too much focus was put on curry. i also would argue that davidson was much more athletic than duke (and most teams) in at least 3 of the 5 starting slots (richards, curry and lovedale). just because they weren't in a bcs conference doesn't mean that they weren't athletic.

Jumbo
04-08-2008, 09:50 PM
Troublemaker,

I realize Olek is athletic, and I have seen his clips and play. The fact remains that you are more likely to be successful if you recruit a similarly athletic player who is black. I would thinkd that there are quite a number of 6'7/6'8 black guys who are as athletic as Olek and who are ranked higher that would love to come to Duke. Listen, I hope Olek is great and turns out to be a diamond in the rough, but history indicates that he is not likely to be the piece of the puzzle that we need to return to the final four. Doc

I am very uncomfortable with posts like this, especially the part I bolded above. As a moderator, I'm torn on whether to move this to public policy, let the thread go, or just lock it. As a poster, I just wish this discussion would stop. It's not trending well.

dkbaseball
04-08-2008, 11:43 PM
a lot changes when the competition goes from your local high school league to the acc. it remains to be seen how athletic he is at the elite college level. melchionni played every monday night at my gym one of his summers (i think after his junior year) against former college players. granted that most played at ivies but he was by far the most athletic player out there every night in terms of quickness, jumping, shooting, etc. he looked like an absolute stud out there.

Czyz caught everybody's attention on the AAU circuit last summer, where the comptetition was above the high school level, talent-wise. In the state finals he played against an extremely athletic team from Las Vegas that just flew up and down the floor and had a top 50 player in the class of '09, Elijah Johnson. Olek still looked like a beast. And leaping at least isn't a subjective capacity; it's quantifiable. I've seen him throw down a left handed jam with his elbow over the rim. If you think he looks like Melchionni athletically after watching him, I'll do something comparable to Cameron's homage to Jumbo.

glutton
04-08-2008, 11:59 PM
I am very uncomfortable with posts like this, especially the part I bolded above. As a moderator, I'm torn on whether to move this to public policy, let the thread go, or just lock it. As a poster, I just wish this discussion would stop. It's not trending well.

That statement made me uncomfortable as well. If you replace "athletic" with "academic" and "black" with "white" or "asian", you've got yourself a statement that most people would find very offensive. I just think we should try avoid those sorts of broad generalizations, and evaluate players individually. By most standards, Singler and Scheyer would be considered pretty athletic.

doctorhook
04-09-2008, 07:09 AM
Jumbo,

I would appreciate it if you would keep it open, and I will be more careful. Doc

RepoMan
04-09-2008, 08:54 AM
Repoman,

Yes, I am saying that if you have more black players, you are more likely to be successful in the NCAA tourney. History supports that conclusion. 90% of the starters of the NCAA winner/runner-up since 2000 are black and none of those teams had more than one white starter. Doc

At the risk of extending a debate that the mods seem to want to end, this is just wrong.

For sake of debate, I will assume that your stats are correct. But, the conclusion that you draw from those stats is logically flawed.

You need to consider the "applicant pool," if you will. Teams that are competing for a national title are recruiting players from a finite pool. For sake of argument, lets say its the top 200 rated players. What percentage of those 200 players do you think are white? I don't have any data, but I would be comfortable guessing that you are in the ballpark of no more than 10%.

So, the fact that the most successful teams have only 10% white players is no big surprise, and it says absolutely nothing about whether black players, inherently, are more athletic than white players.

The real question might be, why are so few white players on the top 200 list? But, that is an entirely different question.

SupaDave
04-09-2008, 09:00 AM
Jumbo,

I would appreciate it if you would keep it open, and I will be more careful. Doc

Well I've sat back and watched most of this discussion and well I just keep waiting for Jimmy the Greek to jump out of my screen and slap me in the face. After that I would like for someone to tell me that I can't play Quarterback... Get my drift?

It may be time to close this thread b/c as a black man I can tell you that I'm NOT predisposed to being a good basketball player. If anything my game is best compared to Wojos.

However - there are kids all over the country who play basketball EVERYDAY - and those kids usually end up being some of the best basketball players. Some go to the local park and others go to prep school. That in and of itself does not make you worthy of Duke and quite frankly - neither should your skin color.

It seems that many user's opinions are based in what they see on TV. Based on some of your logic, there should be at least 10 countries from Africa dominating the Olympics and all other international basketball - but that's not the case is it?

doctorhook
04-09-2008, 09:03 AM
Repoman,

You do bring up another discussion, but my logic is not flawed. Teams with more black players are more successful in the NCAA tourney therefore if a school recruits and has more black players, that team is more likely to be successful in the NCAA tourney. History and statistics both support my conclusion. Doc

roywhite
04-09-2008, 09:18 AM
Repoman,

You do bring up another discussion, but my logic is not flawed. Teams with more black players are more successful in the NCAA tourney therefore if a school recruits and has more black players, that team is more likely to be successful in the NCAA tourney. History and statistics both support my conclusion. Doc

Okay, I'm done with this. This is true nonsense. What does this have to do with Duke basketball...past, present, and future?

Duke tries to get good players who will be a good fit for the basketball program and for the University. Do we need more good players, especially inside players? Looks that way. Are some potential prospects black, and some white? Yes, of course. Let's hope (and our track record would indicate this is the case) that individuals are recruited on their own merits, and not because of their race.

If there is some discussion about why blacks constitute a high number of good basketball players, that's a reasonable topic. But I fail to see how this current discussion relates to Duke Basketball or addresses other issues in a fair way.

SupaDave
04-09-2008, 09:25 AM
Repoman,

You do bring up another discussion, but my logic is not flawed. Teams with more black players are more successful in the NCAA tourney therefore if a school recruits and has more black players, that team is more likely to be successful in the NCAA tourney. History and statistics both support my conclusion. Doc

Ridiculous - it's definitely time to close this thread b/c you sound VERY ill-informed.

For the record, I went to an HBCU (Historically Black College/Univ.) and well it just destroys your logic. PLENTY of black players all over the SWAC, MEAC, SIAC, and CIAA.

SWAC and MEAC teams are D-I in basketball and many of these schools have players that go pro (Ben Wallace, Charles Oakley, and there's more). These teams usually field all black players and have not been very successful in the tourney besides the occasional upset (and when Hampton beat UNC which made me about two inches taller)...

So do your stats include black colleges? Apparently not b/c then the numbers would be ruined right? It would then appear that it's the WHITE players that put the teams over the top.

Your argument is moot and redundant. Next you're probably gonna tell me that Europeans are predisposed to playing soccer...

Johnboy
04-09-2008, 09:30 AM
Repoman,

You do bring up another discussion, but my logic is not flawed. Teams with more black players are more successful in the NCAA tourney therefore if a school recruits and has more black players, that team is more likely to be successful in the NCAA tourney. History and statistics both support my conclusion. Doc

You are confusing correlation with causation. This is so old, there's a Latin phrase describing the fallacy: post hoc ergo propter hoc (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_hoc_ergo_propter_hoc).

Also, I don't think you were careful in that post like you promised.

doctorhook
04-09-2008, 09:41 AM
Dear board,

I sincerely apologize to anyone on this board who I may have offended. My intent was to have a blunt but honest discussion about Duke recruiting. I have this discussion with a number of my black friends, and I suppose in a face to face, private conversation, my opinions are viewed differently. I certainly will stop posting on this topic based on the response from the mods and the board. Doc

SupaDave
04-09-2008, 09:54 AM
Dear board,

I sincerely apologize to anyone on this board who I may have offended. My intent was to have a blunt but honest discussion about Duke recruiting. I have this discussion with a number of my black friends, and I suppose in a face to face, private conversation, my opinions are viewed differently. I certainly will stop posting on this topic based on the response from the mods and the board. Doc

It is the fact that most somewhat understand your viewpoint, however much most of us do not agree, but most do not believe that a skin color can be placed on recruiting statistics.

It's one thing for me to tell my UNC friends they need more Brandan Knights but it's a totally different thing to say they need more black players.