Give junior guard Nolan Smith credit for what might have been Duke's best twitter post of the season, which apparently was made over the weekend while he was watching an unimpressive NBA slam dunk contest.
"Put Zoubs in the dunk contest," Smith tweeted, referring to teammate Brian Zoubek. "He's ready."
Smith, of course, was referring to the two-handed tip dunk by Zoubek on Saturday against Maryland that shocked his teammates and his coaches. Zoubek is 7-foot-1 but hadn't made a dunk this season and made just one as a junior.
"He was even playing above the rim," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "He was above the rim a couple times."
That a 7-foot-1 player who can barely dunk can have such a profound impact on a key ACC game (16 points, 17 rebounds against Maryland) speaks volumes about the lack of premier big guys in college basketball today. It also speaks to Zoubek's smarts, as he has learned as a senior to make the most of his skills despite his limitations.
But the reality is that for Duke to take another step forward and continue improving, athletic big guys Mason Plumlee and Miles Plumlee will have to continue to develop. They're not ready for the dunk contest either, but they do play above the rim, and Duke will be better off when they to maximize their talent the way Zoubek has.