One of the great mysteries in college basketball is why no one has tried
harder to hire Davidson's Bob McKillop, because the guy is an unbelievably good
coach. Doing what he's done at Davidson is phenomenal. In some ways, it's
more impressive than what Lefty Driesell did when he had Davidson as a Top Ten
team in the late '60s.
Driesell coached Davidson at the tail-end of segregation, and also in an age
when many schools didn't take basketball that seriously. So the
competition for recruits was considerably less, and Driesell, being one of the
earliest relentless recruiters (John Wooden, for instance, rarely even saw high
school players and relied on his assistants), rounded up enough players to take
Davidson to great heights.
He could never do it today. Perhaps the closest comparison would be
Florida's Billy Donovan. Think Donovan could recruit at Davidson?
We're pretty sure the academics have been upgraded since then, but even if they
had not, he could never do what Driesell did. Times have just changed too
So in our book, what McKillop has done there is just incredible, and why
schools like Stanford, or even N.C. State, haven't come calling is beyond
us. The guy is one of the best, period.
His teams are always smart and well-drilled, sharp defensively and
offensively dangerous. McKillop has apparently learned a lot from the
international game, perhaps because he has recruited so well abroad. This
year's team is no exception.
William Archambault, Boris Meno, Andrew Lovedale, Max Palhaus Gosselin, Boris
Meno, Adrew Lovedal, and Can Civi all come from overseas, though in the cases of
Archambault and Gosselin, they could have technically walked to campus (from
Quebec), so they can't really be said to be from overseas.
But so far this season, their best player is from their backyard, as freshman
Stephen Curry, son of former Hornet Dell Curry, has been sensational so
At Michigan, he hung 32 on Tommy Amaker's Wolverines. He scored 27
against Illinois-Chicago, and 29 on whoever Colby College is. But he has
scored at least 15 every time out and is averaging 22 ppg, which is very
impressive. It's also impressive that he was 9-20 from three point
range. That's against Colby, where you could major in cheese for all we
know, but still. You try hitting it at the Y. It's not easy.
Apparently his dad has instructed him fairly well.
And no doubt McKillop is relishing having a more talented-than-usual player
Still, Davidson no doubt understands that playing Duke after a loss is a bad
break. Duke is always particularly intense after a loss, and they're going
to go after Davidson in a big way. Add in that Mike Kryzewski, we're quite
sure, respects McKillop immensely and takes him quite seriously, and Davidson
will not have a day at the beach.
But what Duke needs to work on is hanging on to the ball, which killed them
against an aggressive Marquette backcourt. If you remember, the game was
tied fairly late when Marquette broke it open. Duke was out defended in
that game, out aggressed, if you can say that, and generally outplayed,
certainly at crunch time.
That won't happen this time. Duke will come at Davidson with everything
they have, and the visitors will probably not feel very welcomed. Expect
aggression and defense to take a significant toll on Davidson, if not as a
knockout blow, then gradually as the game wears on.
With taking care of the ball as a priority, Greg Paulus' return to form will
continue to be a big deal. He's taken a lot of criticism, which seems
unkind to say the least for a guy who is still getting into game shape. We
really admire his determination to be, well, a quarterback and to lead his
team. He still needs to learn when to fire and to hold back, but the guy
really knows how to pass. He worked extremely hard over the summer
and then had a setback. Let's hope he can be at full speed soon.
And similarly, we want to see the real Gerald Henderson. There have been
flashes, but he, too, has had some injuries to overcome and has not yet shown
his full range of talents. But even with those limitations, he looks like
the best athlete we've seen at Duke since Corey Maggette, and Maggette is by far
the best athlete we've seen at Duke.