Tag Archives: greg paulus

Paulus will pursue his football interests at Syracuse

gpDURHAM, N.C. – Duke graduate Greg Paulus announced his intention to continue his academic career and pursue his football interests at Syracuse University on Thursday. Paulus, a four-year letterwinner on the Duke basketball team, graduated with a degree in political science with a certificate in markets and management last weekend.
 
As a member of the Blue Devils’ basketball team, Paulus played in 139 career games and is one of only 20 players to start in 100 contests at Duke. He is also one of 59 Duke players to score over 1,000 career points, ranking 41st all-time with 1,193 career points. Paulus finished his career ranked among the all-time Duke leaders in three-point field goals (8th, 210), three-point field goal attempts (9th, 527), three-point field goal percentage (T-6th, .398), assists (9th, 468) and steals (14th, 172).
 
A two-time team captain, Paulus received numerous athletic and academic honors. He was a third team All-ACC selection as a junior and made the All-ACC Freshman team in 2005-06. He also was selected to the ACC All-Tournament team as a freshman. His work in the classroom led to being named an ESPN the Magazine third team Academic All-America in 2008 and 2009. Paulus was also named Academic All-District and ACC All-Academic twice in his career.

The Duke Blue Devils men’s team celebrate their 2009 accomplishments

poaulussThe Duke Men’s Basketball Awards Banquet was held this past Friday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium and serves as a season ending celebration.  For those in attendance there is that feeling of being a part of the team as you listen the seniors give emotional and personal speeches.  The voice of the Blue Devils, Bob Harris, got the evening started and he soon gave way to Athletic Director Kevin White.

White made it quite clear that Mike Krzyzewski had been a big factor when he interviewed for the job and ultimately left Notre Dame.   It was clear that White realized K’s accomplishments as he presented him with the Amos Alonzo Stagg trophy.

Krzyzewski took to the podium, where he acknowledged appreciation for the crowd that gathered and looked out adoringly to his family, introducing each and every one in one fell swoop.  His family has always played a big role in the awards banquets, coming up with themes and video highlights features for the seniors and assigning each their own individual song.

Just in front of Krzyzewski’s table sat the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Champions trophy and he let everybody know of how proud he was of that accomplishment.  We should all recognize that Duke won thirty games against a schedule ranked number one in the RPI and that, when the chips were down after a loss to Boston College, masterful adjustments led to the ACC crown and a number two seed in the NCAA Tournament.

This was, after all, a new staff with the addition of Nate James and the departure of Johnny Dawkins to Stanford.  Not only did Dawkins leave, but so did Mike Scragge, the head of basketball operations.  K’s son-in-law, Chris Spatola, took over that job and Chris Carrawell came aboard as well and both may be in line to coach one day.

The point is that Duke persevered by making changes before and after the season.  With a team that had no dominant center and a point guard by committee, this w,as in my opinion, one of Coach K and his staff’s finer jobs.  Had the average fan been given the opportunity to take the aforementioned thirty wins, ACC title and Sweet 16 going into this season, I’m pretty sure they would have said, fine by me.

But Krzyzewski knows that it takes players to perform and he was quick to thank them for the experience of coaching them and this was genuine adoration, not just coach-speak.  He then gave way to his assistant coaches who handed out individual awards where Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Gerald Henderson were named MVP’s.

Coach Collins was his perpetually exuberant self as he handed out each award, and Wojo limped to the stage on a crutch due to recently suffering an ACL injury in a pick-up game.  Nate James made his first appearance and some of the players mentioned how good it was to have a guy like him around.  Heck, Coach K even called him “Nate Dogg,” as the crowd let out laughter.

But despite funny cracks all the way around, it may have been Marty Pocius who stole the show.  He alluded to the fact that his first roommate left for Arizona State and then his second to California and wondered out loud, is it me?  He then mentioned that both went a long way west to get away.   Pocius then stated that he was assigned a walk-on for a roommate the next season.

Marty also joked of his language curve and how hard it was for a Lithuanian to learn English.  “I’d be sitting around in the locker room and be listening to a joke and everybody would start laughing.  By the time I caught up with it and laughed they had moved on to the next joke.”

After each senior spoke, Krzyzewski would finish up with some comments and introduce the next one in line.  When he came to Dave McClure, he stated that he just got a text from Matt Christensen with his well wishes.  This again brought a laugh from the crowd for Christensen had a longer stint at Duke than, well, anybody.  McClure’s injuries made it seem like he was here for almost as long.  Even Pocius jokingly referred to him as “Uncle McClure.”

But when Dave was at the podium flashbacks of one of the most selfless players in Duke history filled my head.  They, of course, showed that awesome shot to win the game versus Clemson a bit later in his tribute video.

When it was time for Greg Paulus to have his turn, Krzyzewski showed the highest admiration, reminiscing on when he recruited him and how tough he was.  While he certainly didn’t mention some of his detractors, he made sure that all knew that during Greg’s four years that Duke went 112-28, which averaged out to 28 wins a season.

Paulus was grateful for the comments and walked off the round stage with the dignity of a champion, an ACC Champion.   It’s not often that a three year starter can accept a new role for the betterment of his team, and Paulus gave his heart and soul to Duke during his four years.

During some of the awards, a hoot or holler if you will, rang out for Gerald Henderson to stay.  But those in the know realized that the talented “G” or Hendo was just hours before he was to announce that he would be entering the NBA Draft.

I suppose some would have liked to hear a farewell speech from Gerald, but this night is traditionally set aside for seniors.  While I certainly hope Henderson will return, my sources say he is likely gone and Duke fans should not hold that against him for he served the royal blue well.

Maybe that’s why Krzyzewski didn’t really talk as much about next season as he has in past events, but maybe he just wanted these kids to enjoy their championship.  Before the hall of fame coach made his final trip to the podium, the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Champions banner fell from above and K stood under it to applause from the diehard fans who were there.

He then called his team up and, once they settled together, the championship trophy was hoisted high by Brian Zoubek as the circular stage turned so all the crowd could see.  It was a proud moment for all and the smiling faces of the players, the fans and family alike is what makes this event special.  Quite simply, it was a celebration of accomplishments, and the history books will always have Duke crowned the 2009 ACC Champs.

Men’s Banquet Photo Gallery is located in the menu to your right.
2008-09 Duke Men’s Basketball Award Winners (courtesy GoDuke.com)

Swett-Baylin Award (Most Valuable Player): Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler
Dr. Deryl Hart Award (Top Scholar-Athlete): Greg Paulus
Glenn E. “Ted” Mann, Jr., Award (Reserve Contributing Most to Team Morale): Elliot Williams
Coach’s Award (Player Exemplifying the Commitment and Values of Duke Basketball): Lance Thomas
Iron Dukes Award (Most Minutes Played): Jon Scheyer
Bill Krzyzewski Captains’ Awards: Gerald Henderson, Greg Paulus, Jon Scheyer
Best Field Goal Percentage Award: Gerald Henderson
Best Rebounding Average Award: Kyle Singler
Best Free Throw Percentage Award: Jon Scheyer
Most Assists Award: Jon Scheyer
Best Defensive Player Award: Gerald Henderson
Gopal Varadhan Senior Manager Award: Joey McMahon, Griffin Tormey
Harry Rainey Spirit Award: Elise Rose
Charles Hogan Memorial Band Award: John Roelofs

Tri MVP’s named during the Duke Basketball Awards Banquet

Team celebrated the 2009 ACC Championship
Team celebrated the 2009 ACC Championship

DURHAM, N.C. – The trio of Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler shared the Swett-Baylin Award for Most Valuable Player at the annual Duke Men’s Basketball banquet on Friday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Henderson, a Wooden Award All-America and first team All-ACC choice, also received the Bill Krzyzewski Captains’ Award, True Blue Award for most charges drawn (20), the Best Field Goal Percentage (.450) and Best Defensive Player.

Scheyer, the ACC Tournament MVP, also received the Bill Krzyzewski Captains’ Award, the Iron Duke Award for most minutes played (1,214), the Best Free Throw Percentage (.836) and the Most Assists (102). He has recorded the best free throw percentage in all three of his seasons at Duke.

Singler, a second team All-ACC selection and 2K Sports Classic MVP, had the Best Rebounding Average with 7.7 rebounds per game. It is the second straight season he has posted the top rebounding average.

Senior Greg Paulus was named an Academic All-America for the second straight year and received the Dr. Deryl Hart Award as the top scholar-athlete. He has been named the top scholar athlete in each of the last two seasons. He also received the Bill Krzyzewski Captains’ Award for the second time in his career.

The Glenn E. “Ted” Mann, Jr., Award, which is given to a reserve who contributes the most to team morale, was delivered to freshman Elliot Williams. The Coach’s Award for a player exemplifying the commitment and values of Duke Basketball was given to Lance Thomas.

Three other awards were handed out Friday night. Joey McMahon and Griffin Tormey received the Gopal Varadhan Senior Manager Award, Elise Rose was given the Harry Rainey Spirit Award and John Roelofs was the recipient of the Charles Hogan Memorial Band Award.

2008-09 Duke Men’s Basketball Award Winners

Swett-Baylin Award (Most Valuable Player): Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler
Dr. Deryl Hart Award (Top Scholar-Athlete): Greg Paulus
Glenn E. “Ted” Mann, Jr., Award (Reserve Contributing Most to Team Morale): Elliot Williams
Coach’s Award (Player Exemplifying the Commitment and Values of Duke Basketball): Lance Thomas
Iron Dukes Award (Most Minutes Played): Jon Scheyer
Bill Krzyzewski Captains’ Awards: Gerald Henderson, Greg Paulus, Jon Scheyer
Best Field Goal Percentage Award: Gerald Henderson
Best Rebounding Average Award: Kyle Singler
Best Free Throw Percentage Award: Jon Scheyer
Most Assists Award: Jon Scheyer
Best Defensive Player Award: Gerald Henderson
Gopal Varadhan Senior Manager Award: Joey McMahon, Griffin Tormey
Harry Rainey Spirit Award: Elise Rose

Greg Paulus answers questions about his future – Q & A

Paulus on Senior Day - BDN Photo
Paulus on Senior Day - BDN Photo

Greg Paulus held a media conference today earlier this morning to discuss his future this morning.  Here is a large portion of that session -

Where do you stand at this point and time?

My stance at this time is that I am looking at some different opportunities.  There a some opportunities out there involving football and basketball.  Right now I am trying to get as much information on those situations as possible.  Take it step by step in the process and try to figure out what the best thing for me to do for my future.

When did you start to think about football?  Was it during the basketball season?

No, it wasn’t.  During the season it was always about basketball and Duke and how we could make a run at the tournament.  A few weeks after the season I received some interest from a few people which got me thinking and out there throwing the ball a little bit.  And that’s what kind of sparked it.

You went to Michigan -

I did go to Michigan the other day.  I do not have anything set up f or another visit right now.  There could be down the road. I am trying to gather information on different schools or options.  I do not have any visits set in stone.

On his relationship with Coach Greg Robinson and if that played a factor -

You know, I do have a good relationship with Coach Robinson.  When I was back home in Syracuse I had some friend on the teams anjd went back to practices.  I didn’t have any communication from him until I got up to Michigan.   I had a chance to speak with him and catch up a little bit.  But that was the first communication with Coach Robinson.

Has it been expressed by Michigan that you are welcome to join?

[brief pause]  You know what, I had a great visit with them yesterday and both Michigan and myself are just trying to learn about each other and feel out the situation.  It’s one thing to talk on the phone but another thing to spend a day on the campus and build a relationship with the coaching staff.  But there has been an opportunity given there.

On the possibility of playing at Syracuse -

In reference to Syracuse, I obviously love Syracuse and have lived there a long time, it’s home  and there has been some interest and something I am looking into.  There is nothing set in stone about a visit but I am interested.

On the Green Bay Packers -

A couple of days after the season ended for basketball, there was some interest from the Green Bay Packers and we got in touch and set up some workouts.  Communication came through and that was when I started to throw again.  It was a lot of fun to throw the football around and it was a great opportunity the Green Bay Packers offered  And everyday I went out there and threw it got better and better each day.

On NCAA rules and where and when he can play -

Yeah, there is a number of rules we are trying to follow.  I will graduate in May, which is Mothers Day weekend.  I am really glad to graduate with some of the opportunities that have presented itself, whether that it with another university, there is different things you have to look into.  There is another year of eligibility for me.  The research I am doing is pretty extensive and I find the process exciting.  It would have to be a Division 1-A  program but it cannot be 1-AA.

On other universities -

Yeah, yeah.  There has been some other interest from the universities and other teams and it’s something where I am in the process of building a relationship with those involved.  There are options out there and I am listening to them and trying to learn about those opportunities when they present themselves.

So you will have to play this season and cannot sit out?

That is correct yes.

How may coaches have been in touch?

There have been several other schools that have been in contact.  I do not feel comfortable naming them at this point.

How important is it to find a situation where you will play right away?

I think one of the things when looking at a situation involving a school is that you want to help the program.  You want an opportunity if you help them to go to grad school.  I think that having an opportunity to compete and play right away is very attractive to me.  If this is the route chosen, I think that will be a major factor.

Has there bee contact from other NFL teams?

There has been several other contacts from the NFL.  Once again, I don’t feel comfortable naming those, but there has been several other teams who have been in contact or called.

Any workouts planned?

We are in the process of trying to gather the information to work something out.  If there is an NFL team that calls and wants to see me throw.   I’ll be glad to get out there and show them what I can do.

On  the Blue Devils offer to play wideout -

You know what, I’m a huge, huge fan of Coach Cutcliffe.  I am a big fan of him and what he is doing and have a lot of friends on the team.  If I play the game of football, I can only see myself as a quarterback and that’s one of things I want to do if that is the best option and in my heart that’s what I want to do – be a quarterback.

On the media interest -

I’m a little surprised.  There have been some really great opportunities that have come up in the last couple of weeks and I am very appreciative of all those things which have come my way.  I know that the Duke coaching staff here and some other people.  It’s an honor to have an opportunity to continue to play and kind of keep that going.  It’s been a dream not only to play Duke Basketball but continue towards a professional level.  If you could being the professional ranks would be another dream come true. To have all these opportunities is very exciting and I feel fortunate because of them.   So it is surprising but it’s also exciting.

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Duke drops the Seminoles 81-78 on Senior Night

Greg Paulus said farewell to Cameron - BDN-Photo
Greg Paulus said farewell to Cameron - BDN-Photo

Duke remained in the hunt for the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season championship by defeating a pesky Florida State team 84-81 in their last home game of the 2008-09 season.

Once again, Gerald Henderson stepped up big during a key stretch to help his team win.  With Florida State up 76-74 after a Toney Douglas three point shot, “G” drained a three point shot from the corner with 1:41 left in the game to give Duke a one point lead.

After a Toney Douglass miss, Henderson drove into the lane, drew the foul and hit two free throws with 57 ticks left on the clock.

Down three, Douglas missed a three on the other end.  Henderson grabbed a long rebound, drove the length of the court ahead of the Noles defense and hit a layup while fouled.

Henderson hit the free throw giving Duke a five point lead with 29 seconds left.  Duke rode out the final seconds for a 84-81 win, pushing their conference record to 11-4 setting up the regular season championship game against rival North Carolina in Chapel Hill this coming Sunday.

Florida State was scorching hot from the field, hitting 47.1% of their three point attempts and 50% from the field.  Toney Douglas lead all scorers with 27 points to go with his 7 assists.  The Noles also got double-doubles from Uche Echefu and Soloman Alabi.

Singler and Williams battle for a rebound - BDN Photo
Singler and Williams battle for a rebound - BDN Photo

After going into half time trailing 40-34, the Blue Devils erupted for 50 second half points, lead by Henderson with 21 points, 10 rebounds and a team high 5 assists.  Kyle Singler had a good game as well scoring 20 points to go with 7 rebounds.

The Blue Devils had to go to their bench early in this game, with Lance Thomas going to the sidelines with a high ankle sprain in less than a minute of play.  The Dukies were already playing without Nolan Smith who suffered a concussion and missed his second consecutive game.

The Duke bench responded by outscoring the visitors bench 33-9.  Of course, Duke started seniors Marty Pocius, Dave McClure and Greg Paulus.  Still, the continued solid play of Elliot Williams provided Duke with some spark.  Williams ended the game with 14 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

The most telling stat is one which has become a mainstay of late.  Duke committed just 7 turnovers, half that of their opponent.  Duke was able to hang on the boards with a tall Florida State team as well as grabbing 36 rebounds to Noles 39.

In a game that had the Cameron Crazies nervous for a good while, Duke protected their turf to go 16-0 in Cameron for the season, tying the 90-91 team for the most wins without a loss in a season.

Duke begins to celebrate as FSU tried in vain to draw a foul - BDN Photo
Duke begins to celebrate as FSU tried in vain to draw a foul - BDN Photo

Duke has now won 256 games in the decade, which is more than any other college program in America.  And to think, many media types want to tell you Duke is down.

Another interesting note is that Duke is 11-1 when scoring 80 points or more, with the only loss being to, you guessed it, the team eight miles down the road who they’ll play on Sunday.

Krzyzewski’s emotion - Coach K continued his emotion of late, encouraging the crowd to chant and firing up his team.  The entire Duke staff looked as if they would run to the scorers table at any minute to go in.  The upper deck stood on several occasions where emotions were running high.  Some were flipping their hats around in rally cap mode, others were screaming in a way that is only appropriate for the team they love.  It was nice to see how so many fans ride right along with the team, grimacing or becoming elated on every little thing.    Anyhow, make no mistake that the staff’s emotion has been critical during the stretch run.

Seniors say their farewells - Duke honored Greg Paulus, Dave McClure and Marty Pocius before and after the game.  For the first time in four years, the seniors came back on the court after a win to give their emotional farewells.  It was a night when one could see Cameron Crazies linger after the game, taking pictures to preserve memories of their four years.  A look around showed one cheerleader sitting on the baseline by herself reflecting on all that she had seen.  Another cheerleader was visibly emotional, fighting back tears as if to say, this has been great and I don’t want to leave.  In the end, all worked out well and the team sent the seniors off in style.  It is worth noting that Nolan Smith, always the clown, had a box of tissues in his hand.  There were plenty of hugs and lots of smiles for all.  It’s hard to believe that the next home game is about eight months away.  BDN will have more on the game later, including a photo gallery if all works out.  So, please check back in.

A quibble- It seems that many season ticket holders have sold their tickets to brokers and some of the locals are not too happy about it.  There have been several sections where opponents have sat near the faithful all season long.  Many season ticket holders have voiced their displeasure.  Not sure what can be done, but I am thankful I don’t have to sit beside the more hostile fans as some do.  I understand fans from other schools want to come in, but generally they are confined to being behind the visitors bench.  The fact that some season ticket holders don’t make sure a homer is in their seats will continue to be a problem if nothing is done.