Here are my thoughts on Duke’s all-time team in the Coach K era.
- Jason Williams
In my opinion, Williams was the most talented Duke player of all time. His strength, explosiveness and sharp shooting led Duke to a National Championship in 2001 and earned him player of the year honors in 2001 and 2002. Also, his 38 points verse Kentucky was truly one of the special performances in Duke history.
– Johnny Dawkins
Dawkins played before my time but from all accounts (and statistics) he is near the very top of Duke’s all time greats. For his career, he averaged 19.2 points a game and is Duke’s second leading scorer of all time. In 1986, he was the Naismith Player of the Year and led Duke to a runner-up finish in the NCAA Tournament.
- Grant Hill
Grant Hill was finally the player that pushed Duke over the top. Before Hill showed up, Duke had failed to win a National Championship. In his first two years, he took a very good team and turned them into National Champs. In his senior year, Hill led Duke back to the finals in 1994 where they fell just short of capturing Duke’s (and his) third Championship. He also may have had the most successful NBA career of any Dukie.
– Christian Laettner
Four Final Fours. 2 National Championships. Big shot, after big shot. Do I need to say more? There is an argument that he is the greatest college player of all time.
- Elton Brand
Brand was the 1999 National Player of the Year and an absolute beast in the paint. I want to make it clear that he earned his spot in the starting line up not because of the lack of great big men to choose from, but because he truly was a fantastic Blue Devil.
– Bobby Hurley
Hurley may have been a little overshadowed by Laettner and Hill, but he was the engine that propelled the ’91 and ’92 teams to the National Championship. He is still the all-time NCAA assist leader.
- JJ Redick
You might wonder how I can put Redick on the bench. I can hear your pleas now, “He is our all-time leading scorer!!!” Redick was a fantastic scorer and an even better shooter. But, honestly, that is all he did. He was a mediocre defender at best and really did not rebound. Furthermore, he never led his team to a National Championship. While not conclusive (as shown by Brand’s inclusion), the National Championship was a big factor in determining this list.
- Shane Battier
Battier is one of my favorite Duke players ever and not because he led us to a National Championship in 2001 or because he was the National Player of the Year the same year. But because he is a total class act and that means something at Duke.
Disagree? Any awful omissions? Let me know in the comments section.