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Likewise, Krzyzewski's team may have to draw upon a touchstone from Duke's 2001 title run when it comes to the battle between a senior ( Dockery) and a freshman ( Paulus) for a starting job. When forward Carlos Boozer broke his foot late that season, Coach K rejiggered his lineup, forcing senior swingman Nate James to the bench in favor of a quicker freshman guard, Chris Duhon. James not only assured the team he was O.K. with the move, but he also tracked down Duhon and privately offered his support after the announcement. "When I heard that story, I almost cried," Krzyzewski says. "Where do you find a kid like that?"
He may have found another in Dockery, a defensive specialist whose off-season improvement has surprised observers (including, perhaps, teammates) who assumed Paulus would start at the point from Day One. "Sean had an unbelievable summer and just went right after Greg in pickup games," says Redick. "But as soon as it was over, Sean would be the first guy to put his arm around Greg and talk to him. Sean's probably a little threatened--anybody would be--but that shows you why he's the best teammate I've ever had."
Dockery and Paulus seem sincere when they say they're "like brothers" after nearly five months of head-to-head scraps, and Krzyzewski has no fears of dissension should the freshman beat out the senior. "If Greg starts, I have no doubt that Sean will give him 100 percent backing because it'll be fair," Coach K says. "Our guys respond to fair."
Less cerebral stimuli are known to work, too. Before a pickup-game session in early October senior Lee Melchionni approached Redick with an idea: "Let's play freshmen against seniors and show them what it's all about." All Duke pickup games go to seven--no need to win by two--and the rookies started off by matching the seniors basket for basket. With the score 6--6, Boykin tipped in Boateng's miss for the upset--and a chorus of primal screams echoed through the gym. "The freshmen were celebrating like they'd won the national championship, hugging, high-fiving, all that stuff," says Williams. "We got kind of mad about that."
For the next five games the seniors abused the freshmen, piling up win after win, not one of them close. When Boykin started laughing with Melchionni after the seniors had finished off the freshmen, the fiery Redick turned and delivered a stone-faced rebuke: "Jamal, if I'd just lost five games in a row, I wouldn't be making jokes about it."
NOT MANY BASKETBALL teams practice before a group of more than 200 business, media and nonprofit notables, including CNN anchor Judy Woodruff and NCAA president Myles Brand. But this is Duke, where Krzyzewski is a faculty member of the Fuqua School of Business, and he's hosting the fourth annual Coach K Leadership Conference. Wearing a wireless microphone, he welcomes his guests, invites Brand to address the players ("My first message: graduate. My second message: graduate. My third message: graduate") and explains what the audience is about to see. "There are three things we teach kids in practice: work hard, think hard and talk," Krzyzewski says. "There's a certain music to a good practice."
What follows, however, is hardly a Grammy-winning moment for the freshmen, in particular Paulus, who's spraying bad passes with regularity. For the next hour the only music in Cameron is MC Krzyzewski laying down the smack: "You freshmen are so damn loose with the ball. That's ridiculous. Pass the ball like you're passing to men, not little boys.... Greg, don't throw that pass. That's a lazy pass. That's why you have six turnovers today.... The reason you guys turn the ball over so much is because you don't talk.... You have not been competing the last 20 minutes. You want the white shirts to kick your ass right now."
The startled crowd watches, transfixed. Then Coach K turns to the audience and says, almost apologetically, "This is our first late-afternoon practice. I think they came here to work hard, but not to talk hard or think hard. Hence they played like crap."
"My worst practice of the year," Paulus will say later. But the moment the session is over, the Duke Way kicks in. Paulus is calmed by Melchionni, his minder under the Blue Devils' buddy system, who explains what Krzyzewski is looking for. "That's one thing about the Duke program: You're always going to get the absolute truth from Coach," says Melchionni. "You may go back to your dorm room and cry, but you're going to come back the next day and be better because of it." Sure enough, the next day Paulus has one of his best practices.
AS REDICK and McRoberts roll onto East Campus, coeds can't help but stare, proving that it's possible for a Corolla to be cool. Most college seniors would rather pull an all-nighter in the library than hang out with a freshman, but Redick has a kinship with McRoberts that goes beyond their connection as former McDonald's MVPs. "He's a lot like me in some ways," says Redick, who regularly IM'd McRoberts after the high school star committed to Duke two years ago. "On most weekends we'd rather stay in and play video games and kick it with a few people than go out to a club."