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Friday, February 1, 2008

You Know What? F- - - It, Good For Greg Paulus


I've always kinda been fascinated by the hatred for Duke. I hate them, I know that. And I know all the common gripes about the Dukies. But I'm not really sure why so many people hate them. With Duke-UNC coming up next week, I plan on writing about the rivalry a bit more, so I won't delve too deep right here, but I read the outstanding book To Hate Like This Is To Be Happy Forever, by Will Blythe, and got a much better understanding of the rivalry and realized there was a difference between a UNC fan's hatred and a regular fan's hatred for Duke. And this year, because Duke is such a thrillingly efficient and unique team to watch, I kinda discarded my anger in honor of basketball appreciation.

And that brings me to Greg Paulus. Nobody likes Greg Paulus. If you have ever read my shallow pontifications, you know, basketball appreciation be damned, I hate Greg Paulus. Regardless of my newfound tolerance of Duke, I still hated the guy, probably because he wasn't any good. Amidst the fast-paced, spread the court, drive-and-kick offense and frantic, ball-pressure, we're-getting-every-rebound-even-though-we-are-all-midgets defense, Greg Paulus was still a plodding, turnover-prone, wobbly-ankled bitch. The reality was, though, he hasn't been that bad this season. His turnovers are way down, from over three per game his first two seasons to just 1.5 this year. He shot well from three last year, but is on pace to surpass even that total, while still shooting 42.5 percent. But that got him nothing. People remember him being embarrassed by Eric Maynor in the NCAAs last year (not that particular play), they saw the, ahem, liberal interpretation of a Florida State elbow earlier in the season, they saw this. And, more importantly, they saw that mopey face.

Now, it's no mystery in basketball that a lot of white people like to cheer for white players. I mean, the entire NBA season ticket structure is based on this dynamic. It tends to be more prevalent in middle-aged fans because they came from a time where white players were a lot more common. Or something. I don't know, I have a poster of Allen Iverson on my wall so I'm not really the best source for this. Basically, in most situations, people can relate to a familiar face and as a result, cheer for them. But, when you look at Duke and the hatred for those guys, you realize there's a bit of a twist to that. They might physically look like you, but they aren't a familiar face. Tyler Hansbrough might be. He's the guy down the street always in the driveway working on jump hooks. He could be your friend. JJ Redick is the asshole that dates your sister, cheats on her behind her back and then drops 40 the next day. He's not your friend. And Greg Paulus, well he's the guy you picked on in high school. Look at him. You wouldn't be caught dead hanging out with this guy. Even though he was a star athlete in high school, you didn't know him in high school. No matter what, he looks like the dweeb with asthma that couldn't dribble in gym class and when he steps on the court you treat him like that (it doesn't help that he sometimes plays like the dweeb with asthma that couldn't dribble in gym class). Greg Paulus is the Eli Manning of basketball.

Just like Eli had to follow in Peyton's giant footsteps, look at the Duke point guards of the past. All hated players, by the way. Bobby Hurley; Chris Collins; Steve Wojciechowski; Jeff Capel; Jason Williams; Chris Duhon. All of them either got NBA contracts or great coaching gigs. And as much as they were hated, they didn't back down and succeeded right in their face. It's probably safe to say, Greg Paulus will not be in the NBA and I don't think he'll be a coach. Finally we have someone who we can berate and he'll fail every time! I mean, his back-up, freshman Nolan Smith is even better than him.

That brings us to last night. With Duke down nine at half at home to a miserable NC State team, they needed someone to spark them. It hadn't been Gerald Henderson (who is suddenly really freaking good by the way), it hadn't been DeMarcus Nelson, hadn't been Kyle Singler. Then, out of nowhere, like a scene straight out Revenge of the Nerds, Paulus took over. He found Singler for a three, then hit two of his own back-to-back. A few plays later he knocked down another one, then blew the lid off the place with, perhaps the key play of Greg Paulus' entire career, a fancy, behind-the-head pass to Singler for a dunk. All of a sudden Greg Paulus had swagger (look at that picture above; I swear it's real). He finished with a season-high 22 points, five threes, three steals and six assists with, wait for it... zero turnovers. Duke won by 20. And perhaps most notably, he was jumping around the court, slapping the floor, enjoying the crowd. It was like two and a half years of being hated on and unable to prove the haters wrong had finally ended it one loud, asthmatic exultation. It was a catharsis. After the game the NC State players credited his pressure defense. Gavin Grant said he was trash-talking and throwing elbows! Greg Paulus! He used to ask permission before fouling someone! And like Eli Manning in the playoffs, Paulus showed some confidence. The kind of confidence that makes you think, "Hey, if we keep picking on this kid, he might just succeed in spite of us like all the other guys did." Before, for both of those guys, when fans saw their mopey faces after a turnover or bad play, they saw blood. The pipsqueak is starting to feel the heat. Not anymore.

Paulus is going to feel more heat than he could ever dream of when the Dukies head to Chapel Hill Wednesday. And like I am already, the UNC fans might want to prepare for a world where the Greg Paulus, the nerd, suddenly wants to fight back.

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22 Comments:

  • At February 1, 2008 5:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Act like you even know Greg..

     
  • At February 1, 2008 6:04 PM , Blogger jtom said...

    Yeah, I don't. That's the whole damn point. That people hate him for reasons that are completely superficial and probably the only way for him to earn the respect he deserves is to play like he did last night. Thus... good for him.

     
  • At February 2, 2008 6:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    ain't gonna matter
    Heels by 20
    Paulus is not going to shine vs Lawson and Ginyard
    No post game for the dookies
    How are they going to handle Hansbrough, Thompson, Stepheson, Green?
    McClure, Thomas, Nelson? please...
    and don't think Singler and henderson are goong to win it for them. henderson will be ineffective, taken out of the game by the crowd reaction in response to his attack last year. Nelson will be their key, and he's too small and his ball handling is weak, so he's got no great contribution to make
    SO how will the dookies play, we all know. grab, foul, and feint. The refs will go along with it, but it won't matter
    The emperor ha no clothes. i just hope they are number one when they play the Heels

     
  • At February 3, 2008 1:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    haha... great! I'm a Dukie and a Giants fan & thought the Eli Manning/ Greg Paulus comparison was hilarious. We may not have the big man, but Paulus is stepping it up and playing with heart.

     
  • At February 4, 2008 4:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    go dukies screw the tar heels hansbrough is a ball hog, lawsons hurt Greg Paulus is amazing so screw all the duke haters!!!

     
  • At February 4, 2008 4:23 PM , Blogger jtom said...

    Brilliant. Haven't heard anyone call someone a "ball hog" in awhile.

     
  • At February 6, 2008 4:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    thanks annonymous we many not have a big man who is a ball hog like effin tar heels but greg paulus,jon scheyer and eveybody else are stepping up and playing w/ heart unlike the tar heels who dont know the meaning of team, hey jtom i think we could get along greg paulus is hated for no reasons and if there are reasons their dumb, he deserves respect cause he can play lights out who's
    better DUKE DUKE ill say it a million times screw the UNC BALL hogs were comin for u and by the way annonomyous lawson is hurt if duke loses tonight i can still trash UNC Cant touch this!!

     
  • At February 6, 2008 4:32 PM , Blogger jtom said...

    Um yeah, sort of. Basically if Paulus continues to play like he did against NC State then yes, it's pretty tough to hate on him for being a wimp or whatever. A kid like him needs to do a lot to earn respect, is what I'm saying and, even though that's probably not fair, he's starting to play like he deserves that respect.

    And unlike the other commenters, I am not, in fact, biased to one side.

     
  • At February 7, 2008 3:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    blue devils by 11 how ya like that annoymous i matched your score we handled hansbrough sure he had 28 points but it wasnt enough and lawson was hurt ginyard ha dlike 2 pts and they had like 2 three pointers duke had 13 and all greg paulus and duke haters listeb up he was out of this world last sure he didnt have as many points as ball hog hansbrough but Paulus:18 pts 6-8 3 pt shots, duke had 39 points off three pointers, screw UNC they just got beat so UNC fans haha !!!!!!GO DUKE AND GUESS WHAT NEXT ONE IS AT CAMEROON INDOOR HANDLE THAT!!!!DUKE BLUE DEVILS ALL THE WAY BABY greg paulus shined againist the ginyard, we handled all ur players Hansbrough, Thompson, Stepheson, Green they couldnt handle paulus, scheyer, nelson, henderson, singler, smith, thomas , mcclure they won for us , henderson was effective nelson wasnt weak he was better than any of ur players cept hansbrough who we all know is a ball hog his ball handling was great henderson wasnt taken out by the crowd you may be a duke fan but u dont sound like one so start im leaving a whole page about my obssesion with duke maybe u should instead of trashing their play and favoring their biggest rival with hansbrough about to win a golden globe for acting along with their whole team !!!!!!!!!I LOVE DUKE

     
  • At February 7, 2008 3:56 PM , Blogger jtom said...

    Alright, please don't use my site for biased trash-talking sessions. And if you can't help yourself, certainly don't use that many exclamation and capital letters. And also try to at least make a valid point about the game, that would be quite nice also.

    Thanks.

     
  • At February 9, 2008 9:53 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    its not trash talking im trying to make a point about how good duke is im just tryin to say that if ur gonna be a duke fan act like one everybody said UNC was gonna beat duke im just commenting back on evryones predictions if im not allowed to do that than forget this site

     
  • At February 9, 2008 10:49 AM , Blogger jtom said...

    I really fail to see the point in there, you just seemed to describe the game in a pretty biased and base way and talked about how much you love Duke, which at this point, cannot be disputed. But whatever, I'm not going to turn down a reader I suppose.

     
  • At February 10, 2008 11:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    im going to flat out say my point , my point is that yes i love duke they deserve recognition for their game just like greg paulus does i am upset that nobody gave duke credit against UNC trash talking is part of the game so excuse me for making it a little interesting but now that duke beat UNC everybody has seen or will see how good they are

     
  • At February 15, 2008 4:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    hey jtom nothing to say?

     
  • At February 15, 2008 5:50 PM , Blogger jtom said...

    Haha nah man. I guess I just need to move on. Plus I'm not going to argue with a regular reader either.

     
  • At February 20, 2008 3:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    uh... jtom its woman.....

     
  • At March 5, 2008 2:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Actually, I did know Greg Paulus in high school, and sadly, he was the man. He was a star athlete and nailed hot chicks. You wanted to be friends with him.

     
  • At March 9, 2008 10:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    even tho duke did lose last night, greg paulus was the one who keep them it. I LOVE GREG PAULUS. i think he is amazing!! he got a lot better from last year!

    - bree

     
  • At March 10, 2008 4:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    seriously... y the fuck does evenone have to hate on greg. for all of u who hate him FUCK YOU. i love greg. he is a great player and hes stepped it up since last year and he plays with heart and he desevers respect be he definitaly earned it. and if anyones a ball hog is hansbrough

     
  • At March 23, 2008 7:25 PM , Blogger plainview said...

    I don't understand why you call Paulus a nerd. He was a top-rated quarterback and a star point guard in high school. He was probably as far from being a nerd as possible.

     
  • At June 27, 2008 10:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You are a total ass hole. Im sick of people like you that give no credit to him. You compare him to the guy you would pick on in high school? I would like to see you TRY and pick on him in high school he would probably beat your ass. He was the star quarterback and had a scholarship to play college football at Notre Dame. I also want to know how you can totally dis paulus bring out steroetypes for him but if someone was to do this to a black ahtlete Al Sharpton's ass has to get involved. In short shut the hell up and when paulus has a good year next year and leads Duke in the tourney, I want to see you write an article actually giving him some credit. i know j.j. redick is gone and all, but do you really have to find another "whitey" to hate and replace him? Also i think i would probably fuck your sister and cheat on her too, just because you sound like an asshole and unlike j.j i'd drink a 40!

     
  • At June 27, 2008 10:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You are an idiot. I am sick and tired of people nit picking at Paulus. I think it is ridiculous that you bring out sterotypes to describe him. If Paulus had been black and you compared him to being a gang banging low life in high school that would not fly. I would like to see you TRY and pick on Paulus in high school. The guy was a stud quareteback and point guard and had scholarships to play both sports in collge. He chose basketball obviously. I know J.J. Redick is gone but do you really need to find another "whitey" to replace him? In short what i am saying is to lay the hell off of Paulus. I cannot wait for Duke to be back next year and for all the haters to be surprised and angry when they succeed in the tourney, and when they do i would like you to write another article that ACTUALLY gives Paulus along with Scheyer and Singler and for that matter any other Duke player credit. (Though it is not usually the black players that are hated).

     

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