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Dunk of the Day: Nolan Smith

January 16, 2011



Huge one handed slam over a Virginia player that was the turning point of a game where Duke was feeling the hangover from a bad performance at Florida State during the week.  Duke slept walk through the first 35 minutes or so before finally finding their stride and outscoring Virginia 51-29 in the second half.  Nolan Smith's averages through 4 ACC games:  23.5 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists. His averages prior to the Kyrie Irving injury:  17.75 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists.  He has stepped up his production in the absence of one of the best player in the country against better competition and become the unquestioned leader on the team.   My blue colored glasses tell me Nolan is in the conversation for player of the year with Jimmer Fredette, Kemba Walker, and Jared Sullinger.  I wonder where Harrison Barnes is in that conversation.

12 comments:

Teach said...

russ: Harrison Barnes is clearly drafting off the pack right now, just waiting to make his move.

January 17, 2011 at 12:25 PM
Russ said...

I think he has lost the draft. At first I wanted to blame Roy for not accentuating his skills, now I'm not sure what his best skills are. It was one game, but he looked awful last night. But I guess the whole team looked awful. Still a low IQ team that lacks leadership and still can't shoot the 3.

January 17, 2011 at 11:21 PM
Teach said...

By drafting, I didn't mean the draft--I meant he's letting others take the lead right now. I'd throw the Georgia Tech game out. Whole team just awful. The second half of the Virginia Tech game he showed some great flashes.

Also, the failings of Harrison Barnes are largely exaggerated, and it's the fault of cocky Carolina fans (myself included) as well as the preseason All-American selection. As a freshman, he is averaging 11.7 ppg and 5.3 rpg, which are solid numbers for a freshman and simply mean he'll probably be back in Chapel Hill for another season, which is what most non-UNC fans do not want to hear, because despite Barnes not being the next Carmelo, he has shown that he'll be a good college player.

January 18, 2011 at 12:53 PM
Teach said...

Also, why are we talking about a freshman lacking leadership? We shouldn't be mad at Barnes for not being who we thought he was but for us thinking he was something else. He'll be fine.

January 18, 2011 at 12:55 PM
Russ said...

I know what you meant in regards to the draft, I just meant that he is too far behind the other players to be drafting off anything but still air at this point. I have watched too much NASCAR in my time.

I didn't mean that Barnes should be a leader, just that the team itself has no leadership, which is understandable because the one player who could be has no confidence in his game (Drew) and Graves was kicked off the team. You can't depend on freshman to do that. In the end I think that Barnes will be a good player eventually, but I don't think you can exaggerate how badly scouts and coaches misread his talents, especially in this day and age, Coach K included. He should have never been rated the #1 player in the country. The lack of athleticism alone I think will keep him from being a great player in the NBA. He doesn't have Vince Carter Jerry Stackhouse abilities. 11 points per game is not all that great when you see that he averages 11 shots a game, most on the team, and has the worst eFG% on the team besides Larry Drew.

On whether he stays or not, ultimately I think him staying another year could hurt UNC rather than help. I am talking about recruiting. How are other top recruits going forward going to view that the #1 player in the 2010 class, a player that would have gone Top 5 in the draft if he could come out after high school, can't make the lottery after one year at UNC and has to come back to school? Whether its right or wrong, one and done type players in the future will see this and act accordingly.

January 18, 2011 at 4:38 PM
Teach said...

One and done type players also don't win championships, with the exception of 'Melo. Look at the last five national champions as proof of that: Duke, UNC, Kansas, Florida's repeat, and UNC again. All those teams pretty much featured three and four year guys (with the exception of Marvin Williams who came off the bench), so I don't think UNC needs to worry about losing the one and done players.

The weird truth about college recruiting is that you want one of two type players: the elite player who has to stay longer than first believed, which usually means he's underperforming or was overhyped OR the unheralded player who is a classic late bloomer.

January 18, 2011 at 5:24 PM
Teach said...

I won't defend Barnes' shooting percentage, but I do think it results from the stagnation that occurs when Larry Drew runs the offense. It's clearly time to just give Kendall Marshall the keys and no curfew.

January 18, 2011 at 5:26 PM
Russ said...

As crazy as it sounds coming from a Duke fan, I think one and done players are more important than you think. If one and done players weren't important recruits and Coach K believed he didn't need them, Duke wouldn't be going after Harrison Barnes, Kyrie Irving, and Austin Rivers. And Duke isn't the only top program going after these recruits.

Sure they haven't won a title yet since the rule came into affect, but Oden and Rose were both in the title game. Kevin Love was in the Final Four. Kentucky went to the Elite 8 last year with an all one and done team. Its going to happen soon. You have to keep mind the odds are way against one and done players before they even play a game because there is only a handful of the 4,000 players in Division I that are going to be only one year players. Only 13 scholarship players on a roster can win a championship. Just impossible odds to begin with.

January 18, 2011 at 6:04 PM
Russ said...

If you give me Duke (Irving), Ohio State (Sullinger), Kansas (Selby), and Kentucky (Jones, Knight) against the field to win the championship this year, I like my chances.

January 18, 2011 at 6:15 PM
Teach said...

I'm not saying that they're completely worthless. They can give a program a jolt, but they're like candy, full of sugar and little substance, and wind up leaving a program ragged and full of cavities that must be filled at some point.

And if the odds are impossible, it would be better not to put all your chips on those odds. I just look at the one and dones and those aren't the guys responsible for the ultimate success of several of those teams. Kevin Love and D. Rose came into situations where there were already teams with established success. I mean, how many NBA players with Final Four experience lined up next to Rose in that rookie year? Also, Wall came into a situation at UK where future NBA players were also upper classmen on the team. You can't expect success from one and done players if you continually bring them into a bare cupboard, and you can't have complementary leadership and talent in the cupboard if all you recruit are one and done guys.

You need both.

January 18, 2011 at 6:16 PM
Teach said...

Three of Ohio St's top four scorers, though, are also upper classmen. I don't like UK's chances. And Irving joined a Duke team that's, well, the defending champs. It's not like these guys are joining crap teams and lifting them out an abyss; they're joining established programs with established rosters.

January 18, 2011 at 6:20 PM
Russ said...

I don't argue that Kentucky's method is the wrong way. You will have difficult time winning a championship when every year is like a hockey line change. You absolutely need 3-4 year players with experience, leadership, and continuity to have a successful program long term. But I don't think its right to just say you can't win championships with one and done players. Kevin Love averaged 18 and 10 his one year at UCLA. I just don't see how you take away that production and win 35 games and go to the Final Four. Patrick Patterson was the only upper classmen on that Kentucky team last year. 3 of the top 4 scorers were freshman. If your a Top 10-15 program, I don't see how you can convince your fanbase and boosters that you can consistently win without recruiting the best players in the country. Somehow Gary Williams has figured that out. At this point we are agreeing, just coming from the opposite sides of the spectrum.

Yes they are joining established programs with upper classman. I argue that Ohio State isn't winning without Sullinger, Duke isn't winning without Irving, and Kansas isn't winning without Selby.

January 18, 2011 at 7:54 PM

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