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  1. #61
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    New York, NY
    Quote Originally Posted by johnb View Post
    K also did a montage of Hurley's whiny face.

    Well, I doubt K did the physical splicing and taping. I'd like assistants to enact my random thoughts, but I digress.

    "Intensity" is difficult to measure since it implies an internal state of mind. Scheyer, himself, is apparently VERY intense, VERY competitive. His wife won't play board games with him. He hates to lose at ANYTHING. He looks calm, but I'd guess his intensity level is similar to K's.

    I don't actually know how to measure intense, but this team does seem to lack the tough guy enforcers who threw their bodies around with abandon (or who threw the other guys around with abandon).

    For whatever reason, Flip is a great player who seems to get abused physically more often than the reverse. And I hope someone's showing him a facial expression video; he just looks so surprised and dismayed that opponents aren't rolling over for a preseason All American. I'm beginning to think that he hasn't fully recovered from his hip surgery. It might have made him more bendy, but the surgeons did have to get to the hip, which did require cutting muscles, and Flip seems to be getting tired more quickly than last year. And when he gets tired, he starts making sloppy shots and sloppy fouls. Plus, he's more of a finesse guy than a center banger.

    Mitchell is obviously tough and a great athlete, but when he drives to the basket--which is his offensive forte--he generally misses the shot if there's an equivalent athlete in his way. Proctor is a finesse guy. Jeremy is terrific for what he does, but he's still a somewhat cool customer.

    McCain is a counterexample. I barely recognized him in his first Duke games. His game face is dramatically different from his TikTok esprit. He's deeply intense, not just because he tries hard during the game, but because he prepares himself through much of the day to mentally focus and to be his best physical self. I don't know if he has the baseline talent and height required to play at an all star level in the NBA, but he has a disciplined, creative, and calmly focused mindset that could lead him to eventually getting into the ballpark (ballpark means in the same general vicinity!) as a Steph Curry. In that way, he strikes me as similar to Battier, who probably didn't physically scare people, but he did win a whole lot of games by visualizing and actualizing and being one step ahead of the reactive guys (which is 99% of us). I think Trajan Langdon might have been like that as well. Redick evolved into such a creature.

    Anyway, this team has no Justise, Laettner, Meagher, or Dennard; guys who'd hurt you. There's no Singler who'd dive into the stands for any loose ball. There's no Johnny Dawkins, a thin blade of a player who wouldn't hurt you but would kill you. There's no Billy King, who could shut down and ruin anybody (he took this talent with him to Brooklyn, where he shut down and ruined the Nets). There's no Nate James or Elton Brand who--I'd guess- would make players think twice about driving the lane; Lively or Williams would be more likely to block the shot, but Brand was more scary.

    But it's important to remember that these alums didn't play on the same team, and K coached over 40 Duke teams, and "intense" doesn't mean mean or physically dominant.

    The side issue is whether our rotation players are so talented that they believe they can coast to success. Or that they aren't willing to make the effort to succeed. Or that a Houston has dawgs while we have skilled Labradors who won't actually bite anybody. We'll see.
    In the roster of tough guys in the lane, how could I forget the careers of Boozer and Dahntay Jones, as well as the guy who created one of my favorite 1-second memories of a Carolina game. I don't know if he maintained his concentration and intensity elsewhere in his Duke career (he kinda looked like he was coasting on athleticism at times), and some might say that "great play" isn't quite the same as "dirty play while losing," but it does depend on what color jersey you prefer. If you don't know which memory, google "gerald henderson blood."

    And maybe Houston has dawgs, but they don't rival Hakeem Olajuwon, who also played for U of H. In February 1995, after moving over to the Rockets, he averaged 29.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.4 steals, and 3.4 blocks while fasting for Ramadan. When asked why he didn't tell anybody, he said nobody asked. I was living in Houston during some of his glory years--he was amazing.
    Last edited by johnb; 02-11-2024 at 03:27 PM.

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