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GW's Thoughts On Duke

Most college basketball followers are familiar with the talents of Duke forward Kyle Singler, but during today's chat with reporters, Gary Williams said the Blue Devils have another player who deserves more national attention.

"They also have a player, (Gerald) Henderson," Williams said. "It's kind of funny when they put up on the screen in any nationally televised game, when they list the national player of the year candidates, Henderson should be a player of the year candidate. He's done a lot of great things for Duke in a lot of areas. And he's currently playing for the No. 2 team in the country, so he's been very beneficial to their team in terms of what he's given them as a rebounder, as a guy that can score inside, as a guy who's a better shooter this year and another ball-handler that they can put out on the court."

Henderson, a 6-foot-4, 215-lb. junior swingman, is averaging 14.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. He is shooting 44.9 percent from three-point range and 50.8 percent from the field. To round things out, Henderson also has tallied 18 blocks and 29 steals.

Speaking of defense, Williams expects to see a typical Duke performance on Saturday. The Blue Devils lead the ACC in scoring defense, which Williams attributed in large part to the fact that "they try to suffocate you."

"In other words, they don't let you get open passes," Williams said. "You have to beat them off the dribble or whatever if you want to be successful. They stay after it. The thing I've noticed this year is they're a little deeper. They're more willing to go to their bench then maybe in previous years."

Emblematic of that depth is the role senior guard Greg Paulus has accepted this season. Paulus started for Duke at the point during the past three seasons, but this year, he's come off the bench while sophomore Nolan Smith has run the show.

Williams praised Smith for his quickness and penetration skills and said Paulus has the best long-range shooting ability of any player on Duke's roster.

"Not many teams have the luxury of not starting a Paulus," Williams said. "You know, if you have a Paulus on 90 percent of the teams in the country, he starts. So that's how good they are. And to have a guy like Paulus who accepts that role after starting for three years, you know, there's not a lot of guys where that wouldn't afffect how they played. A lot of times, they wouldn't be real happy coming off the bench, but Paulus has accepted his role and it makes them a better team by him doing that."

By Steve Yanda  |  January 23, 2009; 12:03 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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