While Duke is still waiting for the return of Greg Paulus, who may be back as
soon as the first regular season game, his teammates are doing fairly well
without him, and showing signs of being an outstanding passing team.
Paulus showed signs last year of being an outstanding passer. So did
Josh McRoberts, who racked up six assists against Shaw, while often bringing the
ball downcourt. Marty Pocius also had six assists, and Jon Scheyer,
filling in at point, had four. Dave McClure had three.
And while Shaw is not the best measuring stick - Duke had every conceivable
advantage - it's still clear that this is a fleet, athletic team that can get up
and down the court and move the ball around and which should become a good
defensive team as well.
While passing was very impressive, so was Jon Scheyer's offensive
performance. With a short and shorthanded Shaw team having little choice
but to play a lot of zone, Scheyer lit them up, going 7-10.
As a matter of fact, the team shot very well from the floor, hitting for
56.5% for the game. McRoberts went 5-6, which he should do against a short
Scheyer started, but so did fellow freshmen Gerald Henderson and Lance
went 4-8 and Lance Thomas shot 5-7.
The other starter was DeMarcus Nelson, who shot 5-8 from the floor, but who
also picked up four fouls.
One of the other bright spots for Duke was the all around play of Dave
McClure. After sitting out last season to recuperate from a knee surgery,
McClure shows signs of being athletic and very useful and versatile. After
the game, Coach K said "he can play defense. Heâs a good athlete and a
team player. Heâs solid. He kept a lot of balls alive today and heâs a very
good defender. Because heâs strong, he can cover a number of different
positions. Heâs a good player. He worked really hard this summer down in
Florida and is about 12 pounds lighter and in very good shape. Heâs just a
good, solid player."
Martynas Pocius played 18 minutes, and while he was burned a few times on
defense, he is clearly a better defensive player than he was last year, when his
inability to grasp the defense cost him a lot of minutes.
Brian Zoubek put in 19 minutes and while he didn't have as splashy a
performance as he did in the Blue-White game, he's at something of a
disadvantage against a team as small as Shaw. He did grab 11 boards.
Jamal Boykin played 16 minutes and scored six points.
The only stat which was a negative for Duke was foul shooting, where the
Devils went 10-18.
Defensively, Duke held Shaw to 32.9% from the floor, forced 29 turnovers with
18 steals. The only significant contributors for Shaw were Brandon
Armistead, who shot 8-12, and Damola Obadina, who grabbed 14 boards against a
much taller team.
This team is going to be fun to watch develop. It's extremely young,
with only Nelson older than a sophomore, although he came in with McClure, who
of course redshirted. But they're deep, they're fast, and they pass the
ball very well.
Next up for Duke is N.C. Central, on Saturday. Normally, this would
just be an exhibition game, but with the overtones of the lacrosse case still
lingering, it's an important game in some respects. Regardless of what
anyone thinks of the lacrosse situation, it's a chance to build bridges between
the two Durham schools. That would be important any time, but this year,
it's critical. Let's be good hosts and good neighbors to our fellow
Durhamites and perhaps we can put some of the bitterness in the past.