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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 2:11 pm 
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FORGET ME NOT: Why Tayshaun Prince might be the most important Piston


December 7, 2005



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(Remember this priceless moment?)



There are flashier players, bigger muscles, crazier hairstyles, brighter smiles, and higher scorers in the Pistons' starting lineup.

But he's the Elmer's. He's the boring ol' roll of Scotch tape, so easy to look past, you forget he's there. Yet he's totally necessary. Irreplaceable.

Nothing sticks without him.

His teammates know. They call him the silent assassin.

Because he'll kill you while you're looking the other way.

Still, ask Joe Schmo at Starbucks to name the starting five, and his name would likely be the last one uttered. His teammates know that, too.

"When you look at our team, people say we don't have a superstar," point guard Chauncey Billups said. "But then they always say, 'We got Rasheed, Ben, Rip, myself, and then...' "

Billups paused.

"... Tayshaun."

Small forward Tayshaun Prince, the forgotten man in this case, is anything but forgotten when it comes to the places that matter -- the front office, the locker room, the scouting reports.

More and more, Prince, the youngest member of the longest-standing starting five in the NBA, the guy who signed a very memorable $47-million contract for five more seasons in October, is the adhesive that holds the NBA's hottest team together.

"He's not the guy that's going to lead off 'SportsCenter,' " team president Joe Dumars said. "But he's one of those guys that helps you become a very, very good team. You've got to have guys like him on your team."

Check out a Pistons box score after any game, and it's unlikely Prince's line will stand out. He rarely leads the team in any one category.

Asked to name the thing he does best on the team, the one area he tops all other players, he has trouble.

"What I do best," he said, "is a little bit of everything. I think that's the thing that's unique about me."

Some players play that kind of game and command attention anyway, with their personalities or size or on-court antics. And while there are many good reasons Prince is the least heralded of the Pistons' starting five, his quiet demeanor -- on the floor and in public -- is numero uno.

Dumars likes to tell this story.

"When Tayshaun is walking off the floor during time-outs, don't ever look at him to find out if we're up 10 or down 10," he said. "You can't ever know with him. I always laugh about that. I lean over and tell (vice president of basketball operations) John Hammond, 'If you're trying to figure out if we're up or down, don't look at Tay. You'll get nothing there.' "

Nothing in the eyes. Nothing in the long, limbering walk. Other than the occasional grimace after a play he'd like back, he's as stoic as it gets.

At times in his career -- which began at Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif., continued at Kentucky and culminated in Detroit when the Pistons selected him No. 23 overall in 2002 -- that attitude has defined him.

He's heard every label -- too soft, too quiet, too selfless, too passive, too this, too that.

"I've had that (too quiet) label, but I've never tried to fight it, because there's not a reason to," Prince said. "I think that's a knock on all California players. For real, that's what they all say about California players. They're too laid-back, too calm, too cool, and they think it's a knock on them basketball-wise. But I don't see it, in my eyes."

Billups and Dumars -- and probably lots of others -- initially tried to coax more aggression or passion out of Prince's game.

"I used to tell him all the time, 'Please, don't defer to the other guys on the court,' " Dumars said. "... When you're the youngest guy in the lineup, you feel like there's a protocol, and I told him, 'There is no protocol in pro sports. If you can do it at 20 years old, do it. Nobody here is trying to hold you to a pecking order."

After Prince appeared in 42 games his rookie season, averaging about 10 minutes a game, he finally had his breakout in the playoffs with his defensive performance on Orlando's Tracy McGrady.

Since then, Prince has become one of the league's toughest defensive draws.

"He always seems to cover the other team's best perimeter player, which takes a lot of pressure off of Billups and (Richard) Hamilton," said an Eastern Conference scout. "He is so long and smart, he is able to defend players that are quicker because he knows how to use his length. He also never gives up on a play, even when he is beat, and he usually recovers to make a great play."

Case in point -- his memorable block on Indiana's Reggie Miller that saved Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in 2004. If you watched only the ball and Miller's move, you never would have seen Prince zooming down the floor.

You never would have seen the silent assassin coming.

In the locker room or on the team plane, Prince's teammates insist he is outgoing, funny and in the thick of it all. They say that quiet, somewhat emotionally devoid persona that lives on the court isn't what they generally see behind the scenes.

"Nah, ya'll don't know him," Ben Wallace said.

"He's not as quiet as he seems to people that don't really know him," Billups said.

Prince disagrees. He said he's pretty quiet everywhere. Even his social life is quiet; he said he prefers to stay in with his wife, watch television, maybe catch the occasional dinner out.

"My teammates must be lying," he said. "How you see me on the court is how you see me anywhere else."

What opposing teams see on the floor is someone they cannot afford to overlook.

And not just on the defensive end.

"He's a very, very good player, and he's getting better all the time," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "His post-up game is solid, but it's gotten better. He's done a better job of when people do double-team him down there, he's making plays out of the post. He runs the floor, he's a good defender, there's not much the guy can't do. He's just a great pick, and he's turned into one of the better threes in the league."

Said Prince: "When I perform well in all areas, nine times out of 10, we win those games."

That alone has made it near impossible for coach Flip Saunders to take him off the floor.

"I knew he was good," Saunders said. "I didn't realize how good. That's why he plays a lot of minutes, because of all the little things he does."

Still, when it comes time to talk about the team, his is the last name mentioned. Prince knows it, but he said he doesn't feel underrated.

"I think people knock me because of the players I play with," Prince said. "There'll be games where people will say the reason I played well is because Rip and Rasheed get double-teamed a lot, so they leave me open. That kind of stuff. No matter where you at or where you play, there's always going to be positive and negatives that people say about you, so it doesn't really matter."

His teammates know, though.

To them, the guy blending in, the quiet guy in the corner doing all the little things, stretching the defense, staying stoic and poised, to them, the silent assassin is the secret ingredient to all kinds of success.

"Really, he's probably the most important piece on this entire team and the most versatile person that we have," Billups said. "So we don't underestimate him. We know what he means to our team."


SOURCE:

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti ... 70386/1051

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 3:22 pm 
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Good Read.. ilike taht guy, he is an awesome complete underrated :D player. :bunny:


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 3:35 pm 
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tayshaun prince is a great defender... he can also score if he wants too... he can defend the best guards and forwards in the game (can shut out opponents/limit great players)... prince is one the main factors of the pistons' championship in 2004... without prince there's no PALACE in AUBURN HILLS... :D


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 4:27 pm 
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prince good player n good defender......


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:01 pm 
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You think he is better than Darko Milicic? :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:04 pm 
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He's great player...a good defender and a scorer. :D
:peace:


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:18 pm 
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I see him like Ron Harper, the way he move.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:22 pm 
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Of course Tayshaun Prince is a good all around player. He played big forward in a good system team at the University of Kentucky Wildcats.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:28 pm 
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Shark_Attack wrote:
Of course Tayshaun Prince is a good all around player. He played big forward in a good system team at the University of Kentucky Wildcats.


I was caught by these words. Duke is considered one of the top basketball powers, one that has the best system. How some so few players from Duke excel?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:51 pm 
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chetahe wrote:
Shark_Attack wrote:
Of course Tayshaun Prince is a good all around player. He played big forward in a good system team at the University of Kentucky Wildcats.


I was caught by these words. Duke is considered one of the top basketball powers, one that has the best system. How some so few players from Duke excel?


NBA is different from college ball... in fairness to duke, they have produced good players that excelled in the NBA... grant hill, carlos boozer, mike dunleavy, chris duhon and luol deng... the problem with some great duke players is they go PRO too early... the transition from college to pro is kind of difficult to some players... some great players in college wasn't given enough playing time because they couldn't adjust... shane battier and chris porter are perfect examples of great college players who didn't really excelled as pros... chris porter was even a cover guy of the sports illustrated years back... he had a solid college in auburn... he was expecting to be drafted early in 1st round but it didn't happen... he was drafted way way back in the 1st round... that drained his confidence... shane battier the captain of duke wasn't able to adjust in the NBA...

jason williams also turned pro early... he didn't do well in his 1st year... he was the best college player in the US before he entered the draft... his career had serious crash when he had a motorcycle accident... he's now on rehab and he's going to attempt a comeback... joseph forte of north carolina entered the NBA draft early... he's considered one of the best in college ball in his time... he didn't click at all in the NBA...


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:10 pm 
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ImageDREAMTEAM VS THE UNDER RATED TEAM...


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 9:50 pm 
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All players in the Pistons starting lineup was important.. losing 1 is such a big lost.. Every single one has their role..


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 9:53 pm 
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chetahe wrote:
You think he is better than Darko Milicic? :lol:


selecting Darko Malicic becomes positive for Pistons.. coz if not, they will select Carmelo Anthony.. a ball hog.. its better to have Prince there.. coz Melo might take Tayshaun's minutes.. it's good that Larry Brown choose to develop Tayshaun rather than picking Melo in the draft..


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:00 pm 
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he can play in any position in basketball.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:16 pm 
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chetahe wrote:
Shark_Attack wrote:
Of course Tayshaun Prince is a good all around player. He played big forward in a good system team at the University of Kentucky Wildcats.


I was caught by these words. Duke is considered one of the top basketball powers, one that has the best system. How some so few players from Duke excel?


There are lots of Duke U Blue Devil players in the NBA. Grant Hill, Christian Laetner, Shane Battier, Elton Brand, William Avery, Chris Duhon, Mike Dunleavy, Jason Williams, Trajan Langdon, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng from England... Next year you will have Sheldon Williams and JJ Redick play in the NBA. All played under a good system of Coach Mike K (Kryzweski) a West Point caded grad who played point guard at West Point under Bob Knight as coach.

Of course lots of good players in the NBA played college hoops under good bball systems like North Carolina (Jordan, Worthy, Stackhouse, Vince Carter and Jamison etc), Kansas (Pollard, Pierce, Manning etc) also are good programs are Michigan State, UCLA and the Fab Five of Michigan.

Many good players in the NBA played in elite programs in college hoops. Same thing in the NFL, you'll hear players from Michigan, Ohio State, Flor State, Florida, Nebraska, Notre Dame, USC and so on.


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