Kingwood Evals: Paulus and McRoberts

Over the weekend at the Kingwood Classic, <I>TheDevilsDen.com</I> sent one of our correspondents to scout some of the future Blue Devils including Josh McRoberts and Greg Paulus.

Greg Paulus:

The first time (of four) that we had a chance to scout Paulus was against the Illinois Fire, a team that plays a very physical brand of basketball. Early on Paulus was lighting up the scoreboard, including one sequence that saw the Duke bound floor general score eight quick points courtesy of a lay-up, a three pointer, and lay-up that resulted in a three point play with the subsequent contact.

Shortly after this scoring outburst, the Fire began the physical play with Paulus, sending a number of players at him. In our admittedly biased opinion, Greg wasn't getting his share of the calls – leading him to become visibly frustrated towards the end of the game.

With 11 seconds left Illinois was winning 60-58. Greg took the ball down and got fouled on a three point shot. He hit two of three to send it in to overtime. He quickly fouled out after that, on a very questionable charge.

Luckily the second game was much less physical, which allowed him the chance to show off a bit more. Paulus seems to a player who shows you flashes of brilliance before going through a rough patch. He conceded as much in the post game in interview when he described his recent play as "up and down".

The second day at Kingwood Paulus found himself matched up against a very talented squad from Team Texas. It was more of the same as Paulus ran the offense and controlled the flow of the game with ease. One thing I noticed was his ability to turn a rebound into a fast break. As soon as the ball came off the rim, Greg turns up court with his head up and looks for open teammates streaking to the hoop. That style will certainly fit in with the Blue Devils when he gets to Durham.

Greg's background as the top prep quarterback in the country allows him to absorb a lot of contact with little effect. And he doesn't get rattled, and always seems to make the correct pass and/or decision with the ball on the offensive end of the floor. The big men at Duke will love playing with this guy during his four-year stint.

You hear a lot of comparisons with any recruit, but the most accurate we've heard lately is that Paulus resembles former Maryland point guard Steve Blake with a better offensive game coming out of high school, though Blake was probably the better defensive player at that stage.

While he's able to defend at a passable level, Greg still needs to work on his lateral quickness, which is good but can get better.


Josh McRoberts

Of all the prospects we saw during the weekend, Josh was the one we got to see the most. At first glance you realize that he's added around 30 pounds to his frame to tip the scales between 235-240 pounds.

Offensively he didn't seem ready to dominate anyone, but did all the little things that helped his team win. When he's along side a big guy who can dominate inside (he's teamed with Greg Oden for AAU ball), McRoberts is able to create a number of match up problems with the opposing big forward.

You can tell the added weight has given him some confidence to play more inside than he had in the past, and he's got a very high court sense. In fact he's one of the best passing big guys we've seen in a long time. Some compare him to Shavlik Randolph, though Josh is already bigger than Shavlik was as a freshman and is a better passer. However Randolph has more offensive moves.

McRoberts is a good rebounder who knows how to time the ball off the rim and use his size and positioning to win the battle of the boards more often than not. When he's not running the high post with Oden, McRoberts shows an ability to score inside, or step out to around 16 feet, though his jumper was lacking on this weekend.

Projecting at Duke shows a player that will benefit playing the big forward slot alongside a guy who loves to mix it up and bang in the paint. Still the Blue Devil style of play will benefit Josh, who can run the floor and is a good athlete for being 6'10. Defensively he can be pushed off the blocks at times, though he's beginning to use his newly found size to prevent that. He'll certainly benefit from practicing against Oden over the next year and then ultimately against the big guys in Durham.


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