When Duke played Indiana last year in Bloomington, Greg Paulus played 39 minutes-scoring 13 points, dishing out three assists and draining four free throws in the final 43 seconds to put away the Hoosiers, 75-67.
His performance in a hostile Assembly Hall, which helped to earn him co-ACC Rookie of the Week honors, stands in stark contrast to the one he had Tuesday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium in which he played only 20 minutes and had more turnovers than assists.
The sophomore, who has been recovering from a foot injury he incurred during the second day of official practice, said although his foot feels fine, he is still in the tough process getting back into game shape.
"Not doing anything for four or five weeks really sets you back. A lot of the things that we do as a team-that I do-is really based on conditioning," Paulus said. "I have to rebuild my habits, continue running. It's going to take time."
Before Tuesday night's matchup, Paulus spent time with head coach Mike Krzyzewski reviewing game tape from last week in an attempt to identify and correct some of the problems the sophomore has encountered, particularly with turnovers.
In Duke's loss to Marquette Nov. 21, Paulus was in the starting lineup, scoring seven points in 32 minutes, but he turned the ball over seven times.
"I made some mistakes over the weekend, and so we watched the film together," Paulus said. "Being out for so long, you kind of forget the things you used to be able to do, so [Krzyzewski has] tried to point out things from games past, and I've tried to learn from them."
Paulus' statistics through seven games look relatively similar to last year's over the same time span. He is averaging 5.1 points per game this season versus 6.1 last year and has accumulated 30 assists to last year's 29.
But the sophomore is averaging more than four minutes less per game, which has affected the way the Blue Devils play-from keeping 6-foot-11 Josh McRoberts more on the perimeter to freshman Jon Scheyer taking on point guard responsibilities.
Paulus' increased time on the bench, however, has helped him to learn things he might not have otherwise.
"I have learned the different reads and different options, about my teammates and how I can help my team out-as much about the game as possible" Paulus said. "I like to view this as a way to stay involved and a way to learn."
Last season, it seemed as if no one could say Paulus' name without adding that he was a top football prospect at quarterback, throwing in analogies between football and the way he would command the floor. Now, although this injury has supplanted "quarterback" as the modifier of choice for television commentators, Paulus looks to use this experience to become a better player.
And Krzyzewski believes his point guard will make a full recovery.
"When you're off for five weeks, it takes time. He just needs reps," Krzyzewski said. "He'll be there."
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