The On Deck Circle

The unofficial home of Real Talk

Gary Roberts Wednesdays - Greg Paulus

Posted by Blake Murphy on March 12, 2021

Gary Roberts Wednesdays is a weekly feature submitted by Stu Wilkinson that takes a look at the unheralded, underappreciated, or blue collar legends of sport.

After last week’s discussion of the immortal Gary Roberts, this week I’m throwing a changeup and going with the not-so-immortal Greg Paulus. I feel safe saying that no NCAA basketball player has done more for the sport in the last couple of years than the Duke point guard and former high school quarterback. His tireless efforts to provide fodder for Duke haters after the departures of J.J. Redick and Shelden “The Landlord” Williams have gone mostly unnoticed and underappreciated by the general public, but I feel like this is the time and the place to give him his much-overdue respect.

Paulus arrived on the scene during Redick and The Landlord’s last season with the Blue Devils and was immediately trumpeted as Duke’s next great point guard, leading the ACC in assists. After Duke’s two stars left college to become stars in the NBA, Paulus was expected to step up and ensure that Duke maintained its status as an NCAA superpower. Instead, he managed to end up being the Frederic Weiss to Deron Washington’s Vince Carter during an ACC battle with Virginia Tech.

Paulus followed up his posterization with a phantom flop that made Vlade Divac cringe in Duke’s first opening round NCAA Tournament loss since 1996, a moment of unadulterated joy for the anti-Duke crowd. Like most Duke players, though, Paulus wasn’t ready to give the haters the last laugh. After the lackluster results of his sophomore campaign he came back with a vengeance, cutting his turnovers per game in half while evolving from a leader on a mediocre Duke team to a leader on a good Duke team. He even managed to avoid providing a moment of great happiness to the Duke haters until the recent Duke-UNC game in Cameron Indoor, when Danny Green put him on yet another poster.

So in conclusion, Greg Paulus has been underappreciated by Duke haters everywhere. Whether it’s his phenomenal ability to get in the way when a larger player is barreling towards the hoop, the obligatory mentioning of his high school football career in EVERY Duke game, or just his prototypical Duke scrappiness, Paulus is always perpetuating the stereotype that Duke’s players are the most intolerable in the NCAA. And for that, he deserves our gratitude.

Inside The Numbers
1 Football scholarship offer from Notre Dame
914 Attempts to draw a charge under the basket
42.9% shooting from three point land in 2007-2008
1.23 Assist/Turnover ratio in 2006-2007
1 Chronic case of black eye-it is

Gary Roberts Wednesdays is a weekly feature submitted by Stu Wilkinson that takes a look at the unheralded, underappreciated, or blue collar legends of sport.

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