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Paul Leading Aggressive Charge

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

Freshman point guard Chris Paul didn't hesitate to say what had changed: “Defensive intensity. During the losing streak, we weren't in the passing lane. We weren't playing with great emotion, but today we were pumped up, got in the passing lane.” Paul himself provided a missing element when he showed much more of a tendency to take over the game. While he had shown the ability to do it all season, he hadn't shown the will most of the time, preferring to be deferential to his older teammates. But against the Tar Heels earlier this month, his emotional fire began to show on the court. He traded talk with Carolina point guard Raymond Felton all game, and he made sure he got a subtle forearm into center Sean May's head as they untangled after a loose ball. Against Cincinnati, his attitude again was noticeable, as he jawed with the Bearcats'guards. Paul also translated that fire into his play on offense. Early in the season, he seemed more willing to push the offense, but as Wake struggled, he seemed more content to pass. In the first 11 games, he shot 11.1 times a game. In the next seven, that fell to 6.9 a game. Perhaps inspired by the matchup against Felton, who pushes the ball to the basket at every opportunity, Paul started to get more aggressive. Against UNC, Clemson and Cincinnati, he averaged 11 shots. The pressure of Paul's presence was felt immediately and constantly by the Bearcats. As Wake raced to a 14-5 lead, he scored eight points and assisted on two open three-pointers after penetrating. “It's hard to win when their point guard has the ball at the basket constantly,”Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins said. “He took the ball at the goal any time he wanted. He destroyed us.” Against Cincinnati, Wake also found sparks from two long-missing inside players, Danelius and sophomore center Eric Williams. Williams, who had been benched for the first time in his career, finally may have tired of people questioning his manhood. He played much more aggressively inside, even dunking several times to answer the charge given to him over and over in every practice by the coaching staff. For the performance scorecard against Florida State (Feb. 25), Chris Paul, 21 pts. 8 assts.; Eric Williams, 10 pts., 7 rebs. Brought to you by: