With Greg Paulus Gone, Who Is Duke's Most Hated Player?

Dannie HaynesContributor IAugust 28, 2009

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 27:  Greg Paulus #3 of the Duke Blue Devils slaps the floor on defense against the Wisconsin Badgers during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 27, 2007 in Durham, North Carolina.  Duke defeated Wisconsin 82-58.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

After four years at Duke, bouncing from starting point guard to sixth man, Greg Paulus has finally left campus, trying his hand at playing football at Syracuse. How will he fare? I’m sure, based on his popularity, no one will care.

Paulus has been one of, if not the most hated player not only on Duke, but in all of college basketball. He inherited that trait once star player, J.J. Redick, finished up his college career and headed to the NBA. Paulus had the unique ability to not only be hated by opposing players and fans, but Duke fans as well!

He just had something about him, that no matter what you couldn’t allow yourself to like the guy. As a Duke fan, his constant poor decision making, and his belief that actually could hit any shot he took was enough to make a hater out of me. I can only imagine how fans of other teams felt.

Now that Paulus is no longer a Blue Devil, will that esteemed title be passed down once again, or will another team attempt to garner the negative attention that comes with having the most hated player in the game.

If the title stays with Duke (and based on how many people seem to hate Duke, it seems likely), here are the players most likely to accept the role as the most hated player on Duke.

It remains to be seen if any of them can have such a profound affect that their predecessors had, but they all have characteristics that will be sure to get under opponents' skin.

Jon Scheyer

With Gerald Henderson gone, Scheyer will be expected to pick up more of the offensive slack. That should frighten opposing teams, as he is a strong three-point and free-throw shooter. Now that he will be the starting point guard from day one, he will have the first choice as to who gets the ball, and won’t be afraid to call his own number.

How will he be hated? Scheyer can be selfish at times, and often gets cocky and takes questionable shots if he feels his shot is falling. Opposing fans will be furious at his ability to seemingly hit any shot effortlessly, while Duke fans will be screaming at him for his decision making.

Sounds like Greg Paulus all over again.

Kyle Singler

He has been a starter ever since he first laced up his shoes for Duke, and has been waiting in the wings to become the face of Duke Basketball. He is a skilled forward, who has a knack for getting the ball in the basket, either by shooting, driving, or dunking.

How will he be hated? For starters, he is extremely streaky, which is a perfect trait to have if you want to infuriate people. Nothing is worse when a player has three points at halftime, and ends the game with 30.

Opposing fans loath the fact that they were able to hold him in check for half the game, while Duke Fans can’t understand why he is unable to consistently put points on the board.

This year should be a coming out party for Singler, the unquestioned best player on the Duke roster. I can hear the boos already.

Brian Zoubek

As one of Duke’s few legitimate post players, Zoubek is the definition of mediocrity.

Standing at 7’1", Zoubek has the height to dominate, but only has career averages of 3.4 points per game, to go with 2.8 rebounds. How is that possible for a seven-footer?

How will he be hated? The only award he has achieved is Academic All-ACC honours. While high marks are important, (especially with Zoubek, because an NBA career isn’t realistic) it would be nice if he could produce award winning basketball.

A starter for Duke only because there are few choices, Zoubek is expected to provide toughness, rebounding, and maybe score from time to time. He drives opposing big guys insane, because his defense isn’t that good, so he resorts to cheap tricks. He drives Duke fans insane, because they know they have no other choice at center.

One day Duke will again have a legitimate center. Until then, well, we have Zoubek.

Nolan Smith

Smith was responsible for sending Paulus to the bench. If he can take his starting position, why not his title as well? Nolan Smith is the Blue Devils best defender, and has the ability to play both guard spots. He is poised to have a strong season at Duke, especially with the lack of guards in the line-up.

How will he be hated? Smith is an explosive player that will no doubt be guarding the oppositions best perimeter player. While he may be small, he has quick hands and should pester the opposition into costly turnovers.

He will no doubt be a key factor in opposing players losing their cool, and should receive the occasional death threat or two after holding some of the best players to subpar performances.


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