TDD Q&A Session: 2005 PG Greg Paulus

It has been a hectic two days for highly touted point guard Greg Paulus. It was just yesterday that he announced he was headed to Duke to play for the Blue Devils in the 2005-06 season, and he has been fielding questions and interviews from all angles ever since, while at the same time trying to juggle all the hoopla with his school work and football schedule.

Luckily, The Devils Den was able to catch up with the 6'1" playmaker and get his thoughts on how he came to choose Duke and what his designs are once he gets to Durham.

TDD: When did you know Duke was the school?

GP: It wasn't too long ago. You look at all the schools and everything has positives. There aren't many negatives, it's just a matter of what you want in a school. I just felt that Duke had the best opportunities for me and I'm just really excited and looking forward to going to Duke.

TDD: Was it true that Notre Dame was ever your leader?

GP: I don't even know. I know on a lot of Internet sites it's different. I honestly couldn't even tell you because I don't read the Internet. People always speculate and have their opinions and you just have to kind of go with the flow.

TDD: Was there any one thing that made you choose Duke over the other schools you were considering (Notre Dame, North Carolina and Xavier)?

GP: There wasn't one thing. I just figured out that was where I wanted to be. I feel most comfortable there, I fit in well, it's a great system, and Coach K is just unbelievable – as a coach and as a person. There were a variety of things and I'm just really excited right now.

TDD: When did you call to tell Coach K and the staff that you had chosen Duke?

GP: (laughing) About an hour before I announced. I think I called him around 11 o'clock, before his ACC meeting and then I drove up to school, called all the other coaches, and then did the press conference. So it was all in the matter of an hour.

TDD: What was Coach K's reaction when you told him the news?

GP: (laughing) I hope he was excited! He said, ‘Welcome aboard, happy to have you and looking forward to working with you.' There was a mutual respect from me and I just think it's a great honor to get the chance to play for him.

TDD: How has the relationship between yourself and Coach K developed and how big of a role did it play in you deciding on Duke?

GP: We have a great relationship. I have unbelievable respect for him as a coach and as a person. You know, the more I get to know him I think he's an even better person. The relationship is kind of getting scary to the point that he can start a sentence and I can finish it. So, yeah, we do have a good relationship and that's a real plus for me because I come from a close family and I also want to have a close relationship with my coach.

TDD: Do you have any experience playing with or against DeMarcus Nelson and David McClure?

GP: I've met DeMarcus. He was down at Duke for the Tournament of Champions. We went on an unofficial (visit) with my family before and he stopped by with his dad. So I got a chance to meet him and he's a great kid. I'm just looking forward to playing with him.

TDD: Has there been any thought or discussion given to the possibility of you playing in the backcourt with Shaun Livingston should he decide to come to Duke and the two of you were there at the same time?

GP: I'm not sure. Wherever he wants to go is his choice, just like it was my choice. It would be nice to play with a guy like him. I've never seen him play before but I've heard a lot of great things about him. I would like to be the point guard, yes. But whatever Duke needs me to do, I'll do. If that comes about where we're playing together, I just think it's going be a lot of fun to play together.

TDD: Is football something that you're definitely planning on playing in college or is it more just an option that you want to keep open right now?

GP: I'm just going to play in high school right now. I don't want to completely shut the door, but basketball is what I want to do and that is my primary sport. That's what I want to do. I want to be the point guard there, help Duke, and be a contributor.

TDD: Was there any discussion with Coach K about you possibly playing football?

GP: He did kind of have concerns about me playing in high school, but other than that it never came up. I gave him some of my reasons for playing in high school and he understood them. He just encouraged me to play and have as much fun, and try to go out and win a state championship.

TDD: How is your relationship with the current players that you've met?

GP: I met Shelden (Williams) at Nike and he was kind of quiet at first but he started to open up towards the end. I like him a lot too; he's a great kid. He called me up the other day when I committed. He called me like an hour later and congratulated me and welcomed me aboard. That just means a lot and shows the family-like atmosphere that Duke has with its basketball.

Thus far I've met DeMarcus, I met Dock (Sean Dockery), and Lee (Melchionni), and Shavlik (Randolph). But I think the best relationship I have is with J.J. (Redick). We talk about once a week and we've been doing this since the first time I've been down there. We're very similar personality-wise and I think it's going to be a lot of fun to play with him. He can shoot it, and he's going to help me out too because he's going to be a senior and I'll be a freshman and he can teach me a lot of different things. He'll be kind of like a mentor.

TDD: Have you given any thought to what number you'd want to wear at Duke?

GP: Well, I'm 23 in high school right now but I know Shelden has that. I remember talking to him at the Nike All-American Camp, I had a lot of time to spend with him and I like him a lot, and he told he ain't giving 23 up. So I think I'll change it, but I'm not sure yet… Bobby was 11, and they have a lot of retired jerseys, so you never know. Is anybody number 12 right now? I would like that maybe. But right now I'm just really excited, I'm not really paying any attention to all that little stuff.

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