El Guapito Attends the Pfeiffer Game
By EL GUAPITO
Somewhere in North Carolina
Just a few visual observations. Went to the Football game. The Wallace Wade improvements look very good and this Duke team is for real. The no huddle offense is quite fun to watch and it is a treat to watch the future Carolina Panthers quarterback, Thad Lewis, in action. For those of you just tuning in, the Panthers have guys in uniform this year, but are not actually fielding a team and Jake Delhomme is doing his best William Avery (“yes, I know we are playing in the NCAA National Championship, but I am going to forget everything I have ever learned”) impression.
Cameron with the Blue seats looks fantastic! Plus the addition of more student seating is a good idea. I do hope that the graduate students will recycle the Monkey suit, as some things are worth repeating. Harrison Barnes was in attendance for the evening. His mom and sister appeared to have a great time and really enjoyed the signs with pictures of Harrison Ford and “barns.” There were some cardboard cutouts of Barnes with his head superimposed on a Duke uniformed body. How did someone not think these would be taken? They were quickly confiscated by the Duke authorities (with the exception of the former Duke cop who resembled Deputy Dawg, may he rest in peace). Harrison seemed to really enjoy the chants of “Harrison Barnes, Come to Duke” and “Harrison Barnes, This is home!”
The opponent for the evening was Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer is a little Methodist School in Misenheimer, NC. It has a stop light and a Hardees. (“Hardees, Best eatin in town, up and down and all around.”) Most of the team was smaller than 6-6; but the important thing about this night is that the Pfeiffer team was quick and forced a lot of turnovers. The Devils appear to be doing less dribbling out of traffic and more passing. This year, however, they have the size to throw passes and apparently this is the plan to escape the trap. Also, this team can hit free throws, especially the big men (with the exception of Zoubek. Ah, Zoubek . . . “I’m still here, El Guapito!”). That is great as the big men will live on the line. On defense, Duke showed a lot of zone and matchup zone. Although these guys are big, I do nonetheless believe that man to man is not impossible, as the bigs are athletic and long and run well. [Great call. Plus, Lance wasn’t in action for this one, and he’s going to play the Dave McClure Position this season, guarding many opposing perimeter defenders in a matchup or man-to-man look. --Matt]
With regard to individual performances, this is clearly Singler’s team. He has lost approximately 20 pounds, and defends and works almost entirely on the perimeter. His three-point stroke looks better than ever and clearly has decided to look for his shot on every possession. Unlike Henderson, Singler never has showed a tendency to disappear, he just can get tired. Hopefully, not having to bang inside will give him the extra wind necessary for March. Maybe the schizo game Singler has been forced to play will finally end. (“I’m a dude, playing a dude, pretending to be another dude.”)
It has been a very long time since Duke has had a big man with moxie, talent and a natural killer instinct. Sure, Matt the Mormon showed some aggressiveness the very last game of his senior year when he swore off his magic underpants and attacked the referee. McBob had some limited talent and had an awesome grimace when he dunked, but he was lost in the game going on inside of his head. Shavlik Randolph ……. . well, Shavlik had a nifty name. Mason Plumlee (the Greater) has talent, the killer instinct and moxie. He is aggressive and always has the game face on. Finally, a big man that has learned not to dribble first and then drive. He catches the ball and takes it straight to the basket, again and again. Plus, he has the proverbial eye of the tiger. It is also apparent that brother Miles (the Lesser) is inspired by little brother and is showcasing some subconscious sibling rivalry. For some reason, he is just better. I cannot imagine that pickup games over the summer with Marty Clark alone has produced his newly inspired performance.
I watched Ryan Kelly and frankly did not think he did anything spectacular. Then all of a sudden he had 21 points. Kelly will give Singler some needed moments of rest and will be fun to watch develop. His actual talent level appears to be what Joey Beard was “supposed” to have possessed. He rebounds well, gets the junk second chance points and has a nice touch around the basket. He is ready to make it rain, “dollar, dollar, dollar bills, ya’ll.” Andre Dawkins showed a very nice shooting touch and will be extremely important for ball handling. Nolan Smith was very aggressive in his drives and continues to compliment Scheyer well. Look for him to have nights where he scores 21 and other nights were he scores 5 points. His role will be to continue defending on the ball with his quick first step. Scheyer played almost the entire game as he will all season. Although he did not score a lot, he continued his Quin Snyder impression and set up the big men very nicely. Zoubek has lost weight, added a beard, trimmed his hair and still has the same hands. He will continue to be good for 5 fouls and hold the place for either Plumlee in the game for the moment. Lance Thomas had some type of sickness and did not play. Czyk played and saw the most of his minutes for the year. Still a work in progress, but doing his best Danny Meagher impression, he may actually see some playing time against the Gardner-Webbs of the world. [Unlike Nolan Smith, who will be taking some of those games off. --Matt]
Looks like a fun season and a good runup to what is going to be a great future.