Brian Zoubek had never seen a game in Cameron Indoor Stadium before stepping out on the court Saturday evening for the annual Blue-White Scrimmage.
The freshman won't forget his first experience anytime soon. The 7-footer led all scorers with 27 points, shooting an efficient 11-for-15, and he also added 10 rebounds and three blocks.
"I hadn't been down here for a game before, so it was unique with the crowd and the atmosphere, but I really loved it," Zoubek said. "The crowd really helped me out, and I really got pumped up for the game."
The Haddonfield, N.J. native scored seven points during a 17-2 run that helped the Blue squad come from behind to defeat the White team, 28-23, in the first of two 15-minute scrimmages.
With the game tied at 16, he utilized a strong drop-step to power his way down the lane for a right-handed layin. On the Blue team's next possession, Zoubek ran the court, taking a feed from sophomore David McClure for another easy basket.
"The kid who stood out the most obviously was Zoubek," head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Guys looked to him. I thought he showed a great spirit. He was demonstrative."
Zoubek was not the only freshman to impress the parent-weekend crowd, though. Gerald Henderson, Lance Thomas and Jon Scheyer all turned in solid performances in their Cameron debuts.
"We played very poised, especially the freshmen," said sophomore Jamal Boykin, who grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. "They really took their time, they made good reads. They didn't rush plays and played pretty good."
In the first half, Thomas, a 6-foot-8 forward, scored 10 points while showing he can play both inside and out. He nailed a number of midrange jumpers, muscled in some baskets in the post and ran the court well.
"The strength of our team right now- and it could be our entire season-is our big guys," Krzyzewski said. "All four of them are good players."
Scheyer, who has assumed the ball-handling duties while sophomore point guard Greg Paulus recovers from a foot injury, had five assists while turning the ball over just twice.
Although Krzyzewski said playing the point has detracted from Scheyer's ability to score-the freshman missed on all five of his 3-point attempts-he said the freshman is gaining invaluable experience that will help Duke in the long run. It will enable Paulus to play fewer minutes as he works himself back into game shape and provides the Blue Devils with an additional ball-handler they would not have developed had Paulus been healthy.
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Henderson chipped in eight of his 14 points in the second scrimmage, as he led the White squad to a dominating 34-17 victory. In addition to displaying a nice mid-range game and athleticism, Krzyzewski said he was impressed with Henderson's perimeter defense.
"A real good thing for our freshmen is that they haven't come in and said, 'Well he's an upperclassman, and I'm not going to compete against him,'" Krzyzewski said. "They're not waiting in line. That's easier for this freshman class than last year's because there aren't those seniors. All four of those kids can play and will play."
Overall, Krzyzewski said he was pleased with what he saw from his young team, which is deeper and more athletic than recent Blue Devil squads. But Krzyzewski added that without Paulus, many players could not take full advantage of their strengths.
"It's going to be fun trying to see how we put this whole damn thing together," Krzyzewski said. "I'm excited about it. We haven't had to do this for a while, and it's good."
Although there is still no timetable for the return of sophomore point guard Greg Paulus from a left foot injury, Krzyzewski said he is progressing nicely and could play games later in November. "It's been good for him in learning," Krzyzewski said of Paulus' time off. "He has seen his team, he knows his team. As a point guard, he knows some of their weaknesses and strengths now."... Several of the members of the 1986 Final Four team, including Mark Alarie, Jay Bilas, Johnny Dawkins and David Henderson were in Durham this weekend and were honored at halftime of Saturday's game.