Friday, September 5, 2008

Are tri-captains good for Duke basketball?

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski announced this morning that he has named senior Greg Paulus and juniors Jon Scheyer and Gerald Henderson as team captains for 2008-09. The move came just a year after Krzyzewski said he'd learned how using so many captains can dilute the abiility of those captains to lead.

That was the reason then lone-senior DeMarcus Nelson served as the lone team captain last season. Using multiple captains is a tough thing to make work but, this season, the coaching staff had no way around it.

Scheyer and Henderson must take charge of the 2008-09 Duke team. They made that clear after the way they played during the 2008 NCAA Tournament against Belmont and West Virginia with Nelson struggling during the postseason of his senior year.

Henderson took the ball and saved the game going coast to coast in the final seconds against Belmont. The play had Henderson's skill, athleticism and ability to complete a huge play came wrapped up in one neat package. That physical ability to seize a moment is something Duke has been missing for awhile.

Also, Scheyer, who physically faded down the stretch of a good freshman season, put together a strong, consistent sophomore season coming off the bench but playing all the hard minutes and making more than his share of heady plays.

It got sticky for the staff because Paulus is now a senior. Paulus essentially took a demotion as a junior when he wasn't named a captain after serving with Nelson and Josh McRoberts, as a sophomore.

Paulus, the team's best 3-point threat the past two seasons, deserved the gig this season on the strength of time served alone. He's also an athlete who has had that responisbility before as a longtime quarterback and point guard. At Duke, however, even with that kind of experience and a willingness to take his lumps, he hasn't always been a good fit in that role.

We'll see how it works on the court. Assuming freshman Elliot Williams lives up to his billing, sophomore Nolan Smith gets enough time on the court to get comfortable, and redshirt junior Marty Pocius actually is healthy enough to earn minutes, the Duke backcourt will again be crowded. The three captains and the three guys likely to come off the bench will have to earn what they get.


Anonymous said...

It does seem strange that K wouldn't make Paulus the lone captain. With one captain, there's no question who the leader of your team is. Plus they haven't had much (for Duke anyway) success in the past with multiple captains.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Not sure what that is but maybe it is because Paulus is not a great leader or he thinks this team will not go far and want the younger guys to get the leadership exp so that it is not new to them when they are better next year.

Anonymous said...

Look, I'm the biggest Duke fan you'll ever know and a 97 grad of the University, so these are not the remarks of a hater. But I can't help but relay my disappointment with you guys for characterizing Henderson's contributions and fitness to be a captain as a product of his athleticism and skill, while saying Scheyer made "heady" plays during a strong sophomore season. These sort of divergent comments are repeatedly made by white commentators when describing black and white player respectively.

No need to make a big deal of it, just take a second to examine what you write and why you write it. Thanks for listening.

Lake, T97

PantherHeels said...

Coach K is notorious for saying one thing and doing another. In addition, not one of the players named to be captain for the Dook Basketball team is worth the Charmin extra soft they wipe their butts with. It will be extremely pleasurable watching THE NORTH CAROLINA TARHEELS destroy and dismantle them, 2 maybe 3 times this season.

Gwyn said...

I agree with Lake A, it does seem to be yet another instance of a white man lauding a black athlete for being athletic while a white athlete gets complimented for cerebral attributes. It is subtle racism, no doubt.

As to the poster who calls himself pantherheels I have to shake my head at your lack of basketball acumen. Henderson is a good player who has the potential to be great, Scheyer is a solid player who could eventually be very good, and Paulus usually plays well and sometimes very well. Most teams would love to have all thee of those guys. Too many Tarheel fans are arrogant and obnoxious. It is so annoying.

Anonymous said...

Did Carolina get to the final NCAA game? Did the Carolina coach wear Kansas shirt at the final game? If I were a Carolina fan I would be worrying about the coach and the basketball team, not telling another team what to do.

And Carolina had better get ready for some FOOTBALL!!

About the article, I would rather have seen Paulus be captain by himself. He is a leader and an excellent player. Coach K has his reasons, I am sure. Paulus could care less. He is always ready to play DUKE BASKETBALL.