Before the ESPN College GameDay cameras began rolling, before analyst Dick Vitale bellowed "Are you kidding me?" there was just Deividas Dulkys practicing his 3-pointers.
The Florida State guard is known as a gym rat. While some college players must be coerced to play hard, it's the reverse with Dulkys. Coaches habitually tell the senior to ease up so he's not uptight when the game begins.
But on Saturday — hours before the Seminoles played North Carolina — Dulkys seemed particularly focused. "In the morning, when I went to get my shots up, I made 28 in a row and that was my personal record," he said in an interview as Florida State (11-6, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) prepared to host Maryland (12-4, 2-1) Tuesday night in Tallahassee. "I think my record was 17 or 18 before."
Once the North Carolina game began, it was as if Dulkys — whose parents were watching the game on ESPN from their home country of Lithuania — was still swishing practice jumpers. He made 12 of 14 shots and scored 32 points in a contest that ended with a 90-57 Florida State victory and was capped by fans rushing the court.
Dulkys' performance against the Tar Heels — then ranked third in the nation — included eight 3-pointers, a Florida State record for an ACC game. "Somebody call the chief of the fire department — he's burning the nets down!" Vitale hollered. "He's making like Steve Nash. Are you kidding me?"
Dulkys' performance is a concern for a Maryland team that has won nine of its past ten games but will be playing just its second ACC road game. The Terps faced a quick turnaround — one day between games — after beating Georgia Tech at home on Sunday.
"Whenever you've got a guy coming off a hot game, you want to pay attention early so he can't get going again," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said Monday.
The Seminoles have long been known more for defense than jump shots. Dulkys, who had four steals against the Tar Heels, was recruited by former Florida State assistant Andy Enfield, who once starred at Johns Hopkins.
Enfield, now the head coach at Florida Gulf Coast, recruited players with size and length to fit coach Leonard Hamilton's defensive system.
As usual, the Seminoles (11-6, 2-1 ACC) lead the conference in field goal percentage defense at 36.1 percent.
Dulkys' shooting, if it continues, adds a new dimension to Florida State.
Dulkys had entered the North Carolina game averaging 6.2 points and shooting 32.1 percent on 3-pointers.
"He shoots the ball extremely well in practice," Hamilton said. "He's just been in one of those season-long shooting slumps in games."
The coach said that Dulkys tries so hard "to be a good teammate" in games that sometimes he gets a little "stressed."
So Maryland's mandate is clear: Don't let Dulkys relax.
"We always pay attention to good shooters," Turgeon said.