The Christian Brothers Academy (N.Y.) junior quarterback has now become the junior point guard after his football team was knocked out of the playoffs last week in an upset.
"It was the worst game of my career," said Paulus, who didn't throw a touchdown for the first time. "No excuses."
Paulus didn't have much time to reflect on his loss, which he called the toughest of his football career. Basketball practice began this past Monday.
"This was the worst because we had won seven straight sectional titles," Paulus said. "If we did lose, I didn't want to lose with my team. Once we did, it was kind of embarrassing." Paulus' focus will solely be on the hardwood – his first love – for the next few months. Between trying to lead CBA to a state title (they lost in the semifinals last season), he'll also try and catch as many Duke games on TV as possible.
Despite speculation that Paulus wouldn't be thrilled with the recent news that Shaun Livingston committed to the Blue Devils, the heady floor leader's mindset was just the opposite.
"I'm happy about it," he said. "He's definitely going to be a great asset to the program. The way Coach K explained it to me, we'll have different roles. I'm not really worried."
Paulus said that this year he's going to try and get into tip-top shape so that he is able to play full-throttle on both ends of the court. "When I can go 94 feet playing defense and offense at the same rate for four quarters, I'll be happy," he said. "I need to be able to guard quick guys like Chris Paul full-court."
He said that in addition to watching as many Duke games as possible this season, he's also going to keep studying tapes of certain players. One player who he'll take an extra-close look at is John Stockton after taking a bunch of the former Utah Jazz point guard's games last season.
"Stockton is the greatest compliment," Paulus said. "I say give me the shorts."
"Bobby Hurley is one of the greatest point guards in college basketball," he added. "I was only 5 or 6 years old when he won both. But that really makes you want to work harder to be compared to a guy like him. But then again, I want to be better than he was."