H: 6' 2"|
W: 180 lbs
(29 Years Old)
|RSCI: 16 ||
High School: Christian Brothers
Hometown: Syracuse, NY
Although itís certainly too early to begin talking about Greg Paulus as an surefire NBA player, there is no question in anyoneís mind that heís in the perfect situation to develop into one by the time heís done at Duke. Taking the reigns as the starting point guard for one of the top programs in the country almost from day one, there wonít be a more experienced player in big time situations than Paulus should he decide to stay all four years.
In terms of the type of college point guard you want recruited onto your team, you couldnít draw up a better prototype. Smart and skilled enough to run an offense effectively in one of the most pressure packed environments in the NCAA from the moment he become eligible, heís just small and unathletic enough to ensure that he most likely wonít be leaving before that eligibility actually expires. In the meantime, though, he is going to rack up enough wins and enough assists to challenge all the great point guards in Dukeís storied history of terrific playmakers.
Weíre talking about an old-school pass-first point guard with an outstanding sense for running an offense and finding the open man. His ball-handling skills are terrific with either hand, allowing him to use a nice array of speed changes and hesitation moves to get his man off balance and drive the lane effectively. His court vision is superb and his decision making instantaneous, which results in at least one or two highlight reel passes every game; whether itís threading the needle through multiple defenders, throwing a beautiful lob to a cutting big man, or finding the open man spotting up on the wing off a one handed no-look pass. Paulus has almost every pass you would want a point guard to have down pat in his arsenal, and he tries to use most of them every time he steps out on the floor.
On top of that, heís a natural born leader with a great flair for the game, combining outstanding instincts with the type of physical and mental toughness you just cannot teach. Itís not rare to see him stick his nose in for a charge or hit the deck for a loose ball, and youíre just as likely to see him rile up the crowd, his teammates, and himself with his sheer desire to make plays.
On the downside, his flair for the spectacular often led to a fair share of freshman mistakes, many of them unprovoked. Heíll often opt for the crowd-dazzling highlight reel assist rather than stick to the fundamental bounce pass for the easy two points. He was quite turnover prone (3.3 per game) in his first year at Duke, and heíll have to do a much better job of avoiding mental lapses with no seniors in J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams and Sean Dockery to cover for him.
With no true backup point guard behind him this year, his job will be that much harder. Chalk on the recent reports from this weekend on a foot injury that could keep him out for as much as two months, and youíre talking about a huge setback both for him personally but even more so for his team.
As far as his NBA potential goes, the jury is still very much out. Whatís certain is that heíll have to rely on his yet-to-be-built resume rather than on a promise of potential to come later. Paulus is an average athlete at best, showing a mediocre first step and little to no explosiveness once he reaches the paint and attempts to finishes. Itís not rare to see him getting his shot blocked, as he just does not get off the floor quick or high enough to compete with the type of athletes the ACC had to throw at him as a freshman. How that will translate to the NBA is not a simple equation. Heíll have to become even smarter and craftier at driving the lane and finishing, a la Steve Nash, or he really doesnít stand a chance.
Defensively, he is smart, tough and active enough to be above average as a college player, but there will again be questions about his lateral quickness at the next level.
His outside shot will also have to improve by leaps and bounds, as 37% from the field and 31% from the 3-point line probably wonít give a sniff from the NBA if he doesnít improve. On the positive side, his mechanics look solid, even if his release is a bit on the slow side. He seems to have plenty of potential in this area though, as his touch actually looks quite good.
All in all, Paulus will be a very interesting prospect to evaluate when itís all said and done, as you can count the number of true pass-first playmaking point guards coming out of college every year on one hand at best. Racking up as many accolades as he can over the next three years will be in his best interest, and then the battle will only begin for him once the pre-draft camps roll around. He absolutely cannot be ruled out, but heís got his work cut out for him for sure.
Of the five Duke players on this list, none are as important for Duke's tournament hopes as their freshman stud point guard Greg Paulus. Thrown into the fire immediately, Paulus has had his ups and down as you might expect from such a young and inexperienced player trying to lead one of the top teams in the country against the toughest ranked schedule in the country, but has shown the type of flashes of brilliance that make us think that the NBA is definitely in his future. Few players in the country understand passing angles the way Paulus already does at this point in his career. His ability to thread the needle with highlight reel passes make Duke's halfcourt offense extremely tough to predict combined with the excellent coaching and plays they receive from the sidelines. Paulus has had his fair share of shaky moments in terms of ball-handling and decision making, though, something that will likely be tested and attacked on every step of the road to the Final Four if Duke makes it that far. Just how close they get will depend largely on how well Paulus reacts and handles himself, especially in late-game situations where the names on the front and back of jerseys are nothing more than letters stitched on cloth.[Read Full Article]
Greg continued his amazing point guard play in his third and final high school all star game. He started this off by advancing to the finals in both the two on two tournament and the 3 point contest. Paulus ran the pick and roll to perfection with Vernon Goodridge. The duo wound up losing in the finals to Joey Shaw and Chad Millard, as they combined for four quick thee pointers to put the Duke bound recruit's team out. As in the McDonald's game and Hoop Summit, Greg did an amazing job of getting all of his teammates involved, dishing out 10 assists in only 19 minutes of action. What really stood out tonight was Greg's ability to knock down contested three pointers and score when he wanted to. Just like in the two on two competition, he ran the pick and roll absolutely perfectly, doing an excellent job of reading the defense and making the proper decisions. Two things that were a bit different this game were that Greg was actually willing to shoot when open (went 3-4 on three pointers), and he actually had a few turnovers. As far as the turnovers are concerned, the number might be a bit misleading as he was the one credited for the turnover even though his teammates were the ones dropping the passes. Defensively, Greg did a solid, but not spectacular job on Mario Chalmers. He also reiterated to me in our interview many times that he will be attending Duke for four years, therefore fans will have plenty of time to see him before he even thinks of going to the NBA.[Read Full Article]