Duke opens the season with Columbia and while the Lions are likely
outmatched, they are an experienced and probably cohesive team and those sorts
of teams have to be taken seriously, particularly by a team as inexperienced as
As you might expect from an Ivy League team, Columbia isn't huge. They
list their starters at 6-8, 6-8, 6-5, 6-2, and 6-0.
John Baumann is one of the 6-8 guys, and he was second team all-Ivy last
year. Ben Nwachukwu is also 6-8. Between them they averaged 24.2 ppg
and 11.4 rpg.
Mack Montgomery is 6-5 and averaged about 6 per game in the Ivy League last
year. Brett Lozcalzo averaged about 5ppg and 3 apg. Perhaps the most
interesting player on the team is 6-2 K.J. Matsui.
Justin Armstrong, 6-5, comes off the bench and averaged 10 ppg last year and
hit several game winners.
The Lions are coached by Joe Jones, who has done a really nice job at
Columbia. His career record is 33-48, but the Ivys as you probably know
don't offer athletic scholarships and don't bend much academically. He has
done as good a job there as anyone could do.
He came to Columbia after being an assistant at Villanova, where he helped
recruit the talent Steve Lappas and Jay Wright used to turn Villanova around.
For Duke, the big question is whether or not Greg Paulus will be ready.
His foot injury, which was originally thought to be quite serious, is almost
history, and he may play.
The other questions for Duke will revolve around establishing roles and
rotations. Obviously the captains - Josh McRoberts, DeMarcus Nelson, and
Paulus - are going to get as much time as they can handle.
The rest is still up for grabs, and everyone can make an argument.
Lance Thomas? A critical, fleet, frontcourt defender and slasher, and
maybe more. Dave McClure? An athletic mid-sized player who is a
reliable defender. Brian Zoubek? The monster in the middle.
Gerald Henderson, Jr.? An enormously athletic player who can do whatever he
wants on the court. Marty Pocius? The sky's the limit. Jon Scheyer?
A great shooter and very savvy young player. Jamal Boykin? A strong
defender and a scrappy player who never quits.
Things won't really be clear until the team's weaknesses are clearer and we
see who can step up to address the needs. That'll take a few weeks.
But what won't take long is to see how fleet this group is, and the potential
they have. It'll be fairly obvious we think.