We want to take a minute and look back at Stickdog's track record. We're
pretty convinced that he's as good as anyone is at figuring out who's for real
and who's not, and we think he could carve a nice niche out if he pursued this professionally .Â We greatly admire his ability to judge talent. Here are some of his comments from the past - and not so distant past.
(From the TOC): Felton was the class of the tournament. The Stewart twins are no slouches,
either...Cooke and Stoudemire are pros. Cooke needs an outside shot and Stoudemire needs some polished post moves, but both
are pros...Roberson is GREAT, but he seemed to need the ball a lot. ...Fraser and Sumpter are also players, but each has limitations. Fraser's is offense. Sumpter's is perimeter
offense...Dockery spent most of Sunday with Duke's staff. IMO, he is the best PG fit with Duke, although I think Deron Williams, Elijah
Ingram and Gerry McNamara are all underrated. And Jarrett Jack isn't far behind,
either...Redick showed a very improved overall game.Â
- Michael Thompson - quick athlete with a nice frame and good shot blocking and rebounding instincts. He is a fine student and a great kid from a great family, and he is looking to sign early. He needs to develop strength as well as a more mature post game. He has the physical potential to become a true college center, and he has two more years to develop before college. He has a great work ethic and he takes academics seriously. When I saw last year, his team did not involve him much offensively and he made his living on the glass and fighting on the blocks. Unless he has improved a lot in a few months, he isn't ready today to make an impact at the college level, but he has good court awareness and instincts as well as good hands. He already has a fine frame, a long reach, good athleticism and agility. Plus he isn't allergic to staying close to the basket and fighting for position.Â
- Sean Dockery 6'2" Sophomore Guard
This extremely young and slight prospect has incredible range and great court awareness. Sean is a very adept ball handler with legitimate NBA three-point range. A cocky but heady player, Dockery can pass or go to the hole, but is best at hoisting up the bomb.Â
- Anthony Roberson 6'0" Sophomore PG
Frank Burlison rates Roberson the #1 guard in high school regardless of class. I wouldn't go so far, but Anthony has incredible talent and two full years in which to improve his already mature game. As a sophomore, he compared favorably to Duhon's performance as a junior. In fact, he plays a lot like Duhon in that he sets up his teammates first and uses his excellent scoring ability in strategic bursts. Of course, he sometimes tosses up long threes seemingly on a whim, but nearly 50% hit bottom. Roberson is a quick and crafty defender who can generate turnovers. He has a very pretty shot from both the floor and the foul line. He likes to penetrate and either dish, go strong to the hole or pull up for the 10-12 footer which usually drops. Of course, he could use more height and strength, but he's already one amazing high school performer.
- Chris Duhon 6'2" Guard
Chris was very deservedly named the MVP of the Las Vegas Big Time Tournament as he was, by far, the most valuable player on the winning team. He scored 19 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 7 assists in the championship game. He averaged 18 ppg for the tournament. Duke and Kentucky coaches followed his every move, and his performance proved their wisdom. Chris is a leader, a gamer, a winner, a coach on the floor and a player's player. He doesn't monopolize the ball like so many lead guards, and yet he always makes his teammates better. The decision making of his team improved noticeably whenever he entered the lineup, even if he was playing off the ball. In this tourney, he defined clutch. Whenever his team was in trouble, he would come up with a steal, lead an easy break or hit a big three. Perhaps it was Chris' unbelievable unselfishness that caused me to question his performance last year. After watching seven games this year, believe me, I am fully convinced of Chris' talent. He is the exceptional player who can seemingly dominate play at any time, but who defers to and involves his teammates until critical situations in which his teammates look to him.Â
A quick inventory of Duhon's skills: Langdon-like range, Amaker-like steadiness and leadership, Dawkins-like defense and explosiveness (almost), and Hurley-like ability to run the break. He rifles assists inside in the half-court set, and throws the alley-oop. He has very quick hands and feet on defense. He can slice through the lane and throw down the dunk or finish in traffic. He hustles for rebounds and loose balls and recovers from broken plays by canning a three or completing a no-look pass. Three of six from 3 point range was a bad game for Chris.Â
Is he the perfect guard? Well, not quite. He's not the strongest player, and can be overpowered by very physical guards. He doesn't play very rough defense under the basket, and though he fights for rebounds, he's no Thomas Hill. He sometimes forgets to follow his usually accurate shot, expecting it to always fall. He sometimes seems hesitant to penetrate--he carves defenses up rather than breaking them down. He's not strong enough to finish consistently in heavy traffic. However, he is a great open floor defender and he has a very good interior and midrange scoring ability. From beyond the arc, he may be the best shooter in his class, and he shreds tight presses with ease. He has the capacity to single-handedly add 10 or 15 points to a lead in a couple of minutes of play.Â Â
Would Chris be a good fit with Duke? Absolutely. Remember, Jason Williams played WG with his AAU team as a rising senior, and Duhon played off the ball quite a lot both last year and this year. Duhon has the unique ability to direct the game even if he is off the ball. He and Williams could compliment each other perfectly. In my opinion, both players would be lead guards even if they were on the court at the same time. Because of their different skills, Williams would be more of a penetrating lead guard while Duhon would be counted on for more perimeter scoring. However, to simply say that "Duhon would slide over to shooting guard" would be to miss the point of Duke basketball - which is to take advantage of the unique skills of each team player. The Dawkins and Amaker analogy does not work here because Duhon's game actually combines many of the skills of Dawkins and Amaker. Whether as a point guard, a lead guard, a shooting guard or just a guard, rest assured that Chris Duhon would carve out a niche at Duke as easily as he carved up the competition at the Big Time..