"I'm sure there might be a day when I'll miss football," said Paulus Tuesday morning at the East practice for the US Army All-American Bowl Game, "but I think basketball is the best choice for me."
One of the reasons basketball has the appeal is the way the game is played in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Every game is pressure packed, the arenas are always full, and the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament is a forum where legends can be made.
"It doesn't get much better than the ACC Tournament and I'm excited that I'll be a part of it," he said. "I 've heard about it and I've watched it. Now I'm going to have a chance to be a part of it."
The relationship with Coach K was the deciding factor in his school choice, but it was a tight call at the end. Six miles from the Duke campus is Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina. Paulus says, "Coach (Roy) Williams is my second favorite coach behind Coach K."
For his high school career in football, Paulus threw for 11,760 yards and 152 touchdowns, all New York records. Some veteran observers of high school talent say that while Paulus may prove to be a very fine college point guard for Coach K, he's definitely missing his calling as a quarterback. Although he doesn't have the prototypical size or the gun of an arm, Paulus does have incredible leadership skills, a high intelligence level and he's tremendously poised.
One of the standouts at the East practice Tuesday was Jacksonville Ed White corner Bryan Evans, who is being heavily recruited by the University of Florida. Evans played tight coverage all day, had a couple of pass breakups and nearly had an interception.
It was a far more confident performance by Evans who admits he wasn't comfortable in Monday's first practice session. While he played superbly in Tuesday's session, he says he sees plenty of room for improvement.
"I could have played so much better," he said. "I gotta do better tomorrow."
One of the highlights at the East practice was Miami Killian's Dee Morley going both ways. As a wideout, he showed what he could do on a go route when he beat five-star corner Justin King of Monroeville (PA) Gateway for a long touchdown pass from Paulus.
"They're just giving me a chance to make plays," said Morley, once committed to Florida but now a commit to the University of Tennessee. "When the ball is up in the air, I think it's my ball so I just go after it."
Three-fourths of the East secondary will be made up of Florida kids with Evans, Morley and Miami Carol City's Kenny Phillips. The fourth member will be King, who is a Penn State commit. At one point in the recruiting process, King had Florida as his top choice.
Phillips said he's narrowed his choices to two: Tennessee and Miami. He said he will make a choice soon but wouldn't indicate who has the lead.
Morley said there should be more Florida players on the East team. He named three whom he thinks should be on the roster, but were somehow overlooked: Pahokee running back Antone Smith, Miami Carol City defensive end Ricky Jean-Francois and Tampa Middleton wide receiver OJ Murdock.
Victor Harris Jr. of Highland Springs, Virginia, is awaiting permission to get on the playing field. His right arm is tightly wrapped because he's got burns from a grease fire. When Harris picked up the pan to get it out of the house, he sustained some burns. Team doctors in San Antonio called Victor's doctor back in Richmond Tuesday to see if they could gain permission to allow him to practice.
"It's killing me to just sit here," said Harris, rated the number four corner and number 24 overall recruit in the nation by Scout.com. "You don't know how bad I want to get on the field."
Harris was a two-way standout for the Springers, who finished 9-2 this season. On offense he average 11.2 yards per carry and scored 26 touchdowns. He rushed for 2,181 yards as a senior after racking up 2,210 yards and 37 touchdowns as a senior.
Harris is a Virgina Tech commit. He will be playing corner for Coach Frank Beamer.
Michael Oher is hard to miss on or off the field. The 6-5, 340-pounder from Memphis Briarcrest has both the size and mobility to stand out. He is surprisingly agile, not just a straight ahead grinder.
Oher has narrowed his choices to LSU and Tennessee. Although LSU Coach Nick Saban departed LSU for the NFL, Oher says that won't make much difference when he makes his final choice.
"LSU was a great school before Coach Saban got there and they'll be a great school now that he's gone," he said. "Coach (Les) Miles showed he can win before he got to LSU. I think he'll carry on the winning tradition at LSU, too."
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is played in San Antonio, Texas., at the Alamodome on Jan. 15, 2005, and broadcast nationally on NBC at 1 p.m. EST. Scout.com is a sponsor, the official selection partner and exclusive on-line partner of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, as well as the associated U.S. Army Combine for underclassmen.