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Next Up - Central

Duke hosts N.C.
Central Saturday in an exhibition game
. Central coach Henry Dickerson
thinks it'll be more competitive than the last two meetings of the schools, and
he could be right. But it'd be a major shock if it were anything
resembling close. As a state-funded school, Central brings more the table
than Shaw, but there is still a world of difference between the two schools.

Yet there could be a lot of emotion in this game from the lacrosse situation,
and emotion is always a wild card.

If nothng else, Central certainly brings a bigger and deeper team than did
Robert Brickey's Shaw. Central has five guys over 6-7, including Jason
Hervey (6-9, 270), and Raheem Oshodi (6-10, 220), and they boast a roster of 16,
meaning they have a full compliment of scholarship players.

Yet we're willing to wager that most Duke fans, including us, have never
heard of any of them.

Central plays in the long shadow of the ACC, and the nation's best basketball
conference makes it hard for any other schools in the region to get much

Duke will certainly try to build on what they showed Thursday, with a number
of solid athletes who can really get up and down the court, and they'll try to
pressure Central's ballhandlers and get the ball in the open court, as they
usually try to do.

Unlike last year, Duke has the athletes to harass Central extensively.
Between Nelson, Dave McClure, Gerald Henderson, Lance Thomas, Marty Pocius, and
Jon Scheyer, Duke can make moving the ball pretty tiring.

Perhaps the most interesting question is how they'll attack the inside.
Against Shaw it was pretty easy, since it was a thin, short team, and even
DeMarcus Nelson wasn't at a mismatch inside.

Duke used the myriad skills of Josh McRoberts to attack from the perimeter,
but with a larger team, they may try him down low more than they did against the
Bears. They'll also certainly want to take another look at Brian Zoubek,
who was at a certain disadvantage against a smaller, quicker set of
opponents. But in both the Blue-White game, and against Shaw, he showed
some signs, not least of all as a rebounder.

But they also can slash with Lance Thomas, Gerald Henderson, and Nelson, not
to mention Pocius, and all four guys can get off the ground.

But then again, this is a very young team and it's a work in progress, so
it's hard to know exactly how things will pan out. But then again, for
coaches and fans, seeing how a young team grows is the best part of the season.