Duke Basketball Player Profile: Brian Zoubek

Mike KlineAnalyst INovember 20, 2009

ATLANTA - MARCH 15:  Brian Zoubek #55 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after getting called for a foul against Uche Echefu #41 of the Florida State Seminoles during the championship game of the 2009 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament at the Georgia Dome March 15, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

This is the continuation of a series profiling Duke's basketball players and what they hope to contribute to this year's team.

It has been a frustrating three seasons for senior Brian Zoubek.

The 7-foot-1 center has suffered through an inconsistent and injury-plagued career so far as a Blue Devil.

Coming in with a class of Lance Thomas, Gerald Henderson, and Jon Scheyer, Zoubek was billed as a legitimate 7-footer, something Duke had never really had under Mike Krzyzewski.

His first game out of the gate was encouraging, as he scored in double figures. Duke fans were jumping for joy for "Zou."

Only problem is, the inconsistency that has followed has been Zoubek's calling card.

Ask any fan and you will likely find varying opinions of Zoubek. Some might call him a total bust. Others might say he in on the verge of a breakthrough year. While those like me will just figure he is what he is: nothing more, nothing less.

Zoubek, without question, has been a hard worker, even if he hasn't lived up to some of the lofty expectations some fans may have had for him.

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It has been easy to focus on his shortcomings. He is slow, and at times clumsy in his footwork. He has been foul prone and has done more traveling than Jack Kerouac.

Not to mention, he has never played like a true seven footer. How many times has he been out rebounded, had his shot blocked or been just plain embarrassed by quicker and smaller players?

If you are answering "a lot," then you are probably not in the Brian Zoubek Fan Club. But before you put him out to pasture, why not give this lovable giant one more chance?

First of all, he is finally healthy and in three games this year, Zoubek has shown some improvement. He at times has played as big as his frame by keeping the ball high on rebounds and shot attempts.

And while he will never be your typical post-up-type player, he can be an opportunistic scorer. He has shown the ability to score points off put backs and offensive rebounds.

He also, at least last year, isn't too bad on the free-throw line, which is always good for a big man.

Zoubek isn't likely to see much time against smaller teams and for good reason but against the right teams, expect to see more of him.

He has clearly bulked up this year, and when ACC play starts, he is likely to be useful against teams with large front courts.

He has shown the ability to be a respectable rebounder and he at times can cause opposing bigs problems, as he did against Florida State's Solomon Alabi last season.

And if all else fails, he can provide Duke with five fouls.

Regardless of your opinions of Zoubek, he definitely can serve a purpose for this Duke team. Finding that purpose probably will depend on what team the Blue Devils are playing at the time.

Oh yeah, and did I mention the beard? That is another first in the Krzyzewski era, at least as far as I can remember.


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