He steps on the floor, expressionless. He wins the jumpball, expressionless. He jogs quietly into place in the high post, expressionless.
This is Shavlik Randolph's court demeanor. Expressionless. He doesn't smile, he doesn't get excited and he doesn't show emotion -- at all.
The ball goes to the high post and the lanky 6-9 forward swiftly pivots to face the basket. With a defender in his face, Randolph offers a quick jab step, like he's about to drive into the lane. As the defender quickly falls back into position, Randolph steps back and shoots a beautiful, high arcing backspinning shot that nestles into the net. No rim, no backboard, no nothing. All net.
Look at his face -- see if he's going to show a look of being fired up, a smile, any sort of expression. Nothing. Again, expressionless.
He bodies up with the opposing team's power forward, a burly 6-7 kid that is content on using his strength and size to ram the Raleigh schoolboy under the basket. But Randolph endures each forceful bump with his hips and lower body. The husky forward gets the ball, and shoots an unorthodox jump-hook that is cleanly swatted by Randolph. It wasn't one of those earth-shattering, wall-banging blocks, it wasn't one of those "get the #@&% outta here" blocks and it wasn't something that causes the crowds to stand up and pump their fists -- it was a Shavlik Randolph block -- smoothly executed, perfect timing and just enough force to knock the ball off it's path and start the break for his squad.
This is virtual Shavlik Randolph -- execution, precision, polish and no emotion.
On the offensive side again, a teammate shoots a three-pointer, Randolph crashes the boards, swipes the rebound from slightly above the rim and lays in the short two-footer with a flick of his wrist.
At halftime, about three recruiting writers and a few college coaches go over to check his halftime stats. 18 points? He went to the free throw line a few times, he grabbed some rebounds and got the stickbacks and drained one three-pointer, but it didn't seem like he had 18 points.
But this is what to expect from him. Quiet scoring, not too many loud dunks or anything -- just nice interior moves with a soft touch, some three point balls and precision from the charity stripe.
The second half was about to start and Randolph walks on the court with a different look. A total spike. I guess he ran some water through his hands and his hair to cool down in the locker room and now he's sporting an old school Billy Idol, or a Kevin Bacon even.
The fresh hairdo must have energized the star as he came out with a bang in the second half. The point guard gets the ball to a wide open Randolph on the left baseline. Expecting to see a soft lay in, he surprises with a loud two-handed power jam over two late arriving defenders. Scan the onlookers for coaches to make "oh my lord" eye contact with. You'll find some.
Again, on the other side of the ball, Randolph continued to endure the physical play from the brute power forwards on the opposing team, and he continued to rack up the blocked shots. Glancing at the notes, he had nine slashes in the blocked shots column. He had seven rebounds and he now had 28 points. It was still very early in the second half. Randolph continued to finish strong around the rim with authoritative dunks, soft shots and he even hit some fadeaways with pressure -- one with the foul as he fell to the floor.
Was this new second half attitude the coach's influence from an aggressive halftime talk or was it Shavlik's influence as he saw coaches from Florida, Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State circling the courts like sharks? Who knows, but all eyes were on him. This was one of many demonstrations of the complete game of Shavlik Randolph. He ended the game with 41 points, 13 rebounds, 13 blocks and guess what?