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Top tandems ready for '05-06


July 20, 2005
Looking over the landscape of college basketball for next season, I'm excited to think about some of the game's outstanding inside-outside tandems.

Shelden Williams
Duke's stellar inside-outside duo, Shelden Williams (left) and J.J. Redick, defend Eric Williams, the big man in Wake Forest's great tandem.
These dynamic duos provide excellent point production and offensive balance so a team doesn't have to rely on just one guy. Both the baseline and the perimeter are covered. Let's look ahead at some of the premier inside-outside tandems in America in 2005-06:

One tandem really stands out to me: center Shelden Williams and guard J.J. Redick at Duke. Both are legitimate first-team All-Americans on my All-Solid Gold team.

Redick is super with his long-range shooting ability and knack for hitting free throws. He also attacks the glass well. Williams gives Duke a physical post presence. It was a big blessing that he returned, because he considered skipping his senior year for a shot at the NBA.

With Williams, the Blue Devils are the leading contender to win the national championship.

Down at Texas, coach Rick Barnes has a great tandem, with super soph guard Daniel Gibson, and his ability to make the 3-pointer, and forward P.J. Tucker inside. Tucker had academic difficulties last year, but he should be a major factor during the 2005-06 campaign. Look for the Longhorns to have a great season in the Big 12.

Another combination to watch is at Wake Forest, now that center Eric Williams is back after withdrawing from the NBA draft. Look for big things inside from Williams, who teams up with guard Justin Gray. The long-range talents of Gray will shine even more now that Chris Paul is in the pros.

Michigan State has center Paul Davis and guard Shannon Brown to provide an inside-outside spark. Brown is an explosive guy who can really get out there in transition and attack the basket. Davis gives Tom Izzo's club post presence and experience.

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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