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8 DUKE

Nov. 17, 2008
Nov. 17, 2008

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Nov. 17, 2008

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8 DUKE

More Muscular In the Middle, The Blue Devils Are at Last Built for The Long Haul

KYLE SINGLER canbarely remember the last time he took two months off from seriously playingbasketball, but that's what Duke's sophomore forward did this past summer whenhe returned to his home in Medford, Ore. Aside from an occasional pickup gamewith his buddies, the most strenuous thing Singler did was lift his fork to putaway his mom's spaghetti. "I wanted to take time off, get refreshed,"he says. The respite was necessary following a season in which Singler and theBlue Devils seemed to wear down at the finish. They lost three of their lastfive games, including a 73--67 loss to West Virginia in the second round of theNCAA tournament. "There were moments late in the season where I wanted todig deeper, but there wasn't much left," he says. "After the season, Iknew I had to change something."

This is an article from the Nov. 17, 2008 issue

That something washis body. Since the end of last season, Singler has put 20 pounds of muscle onhis 215-pound frame, and he worked especially hard on adding strength to hislegs and hips. His metamorphosis reflects a larger one taking place in theprogram as a whole. The Blue Devils have been pushed around for the past twoseasons—West Virginia outrebounded them 47--27—but now they're bigger, strongerand, best of all, older. "You can pace yourselves when you have a veteranteam, but we haven't been able to do that," says coach Mike Krzyzewski, whotwo years ago coached a team that included no seniors and just one junior."Kyle plays as hard as anybody, but because we didn't have any depthinside, he had to play more minutes than he should have guarding people whowere bigger."

With his abilityto score inside and out (he made 51 three-pointers last year and was the team'ssecond-leading scorer), Singler is the kind of versatile power forward who hasbeen a staple of Krzyzewski's teams. (Think Danny Ferry, Christian Laettner andShane Battier.)

Krzyzewski is alsohoping for big seasons from junior guard Jon Scheyer, who was the team's sixthman last season, and from junior swingman Gerald Henderson, a dynamic athletewho shot 47.4% from the field but just 31.7% from three-point range. Shoring upthe front line is Miles Plumlee, an agile freshman center who Krzyzewski saysis the team's best shot blocker.

The mostsignificant change will be at point guard, where sophomore Nolan Smith willreplace Greg Paulus, a three-year starter. The Blue Devils could have usedSmith's ability to pressure the ball last season, but he was not ready tohandle the responsibility. Like everyone else on this team, Smith is older,wiser and stronger. And now that Duke's legs are built for a marathon, the BlueDevils can be expected to go a longer distance this season.

STARTING LINEUP

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POS.PLAYERHT.CLASSKEY STATS 
PGNolan Smith6'2"Soph.5.9 ppg1.3 apg
SGJon Scheyer6'5"Jr.11.7 ppg3.9 rpg
SFGerald Henderson6'4"Jr.12.7 ppg4.7 rpg
PFKyle Singler6'8"Soph.13.3 ppg5.8 rpg
CMiles Plumlee*6'10"Fr.15.8 ppg6.9 rpg
KEY RESERVE
GGreg Paulus6'1"Sr.11.4 ppg3.2 apg

RETURNINGSTARTER
*HIGH SCHOOL STATS

NONCONFERENCESCHEDULE

Nov. 10-11
Presbyterian*

Nov. 16
Rhode Island

Nov. 23
Montana

Nov. 28
Duquesne

Dec. 2
at Purdue

Dec. 6
at Michigan

Dec. 17
UNC-Asheville

Dec. 20
Xavier (in East Rutherford, N.J.)

Dec. 31
Loyola

Jan. 7
Davidson

Jan. 17
Georgetown

Feb. 19
at St. John's

*2K Sports Classic(also Georgia Southern, Houston; winner advances to play in New York City)

Key Game
The Blue Devils' decision to make Greg Paulus a reserve and start Nolan Smithat point guard will get a good road test against a scrappy Boilermakers D ledby Chris Kramer.

Coach
Mike Krzyzewski (29th year)

2007--08 record
28--6

ACC record
13--3 (2nd)

NCAA tournament
Second round

my SI
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Big changes at Duke could bring the Blue Devils back to national powerhousestatus, writes Seth Davis.

PHOTOBOB ROSATOSize Matters Singler, who wore down guarding bigger foes last year, is now 20 pounds heavier.