Duke Basketball: Bobby Hurley wins 100th game 25 years after accident

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Three nights after the 25th anniversary of a night he was lucky to survive, former Duke basketball standout Bobby Hurley picked up his 100th win as a head coach.

We have the same birthday — 10 years apart. His middle name is my first name. His first name is my dad’s name. And the moment I first watched him play in Cameron Indoor Stadium when I was a 7-year-old, his last name moved into a tie with Laettner as my all-time favorite surname to have ever appeared on the back of a Duke basketball jersey.

Thirty years later, the top of that list has yet to change. I doubt it ever will.

Therefore, if it was left up to me to decide who should succeed Mike Krzyzewski as head coach of the Blue Devils more than a decade from now — a Duke fan can dream — I’d have to side with the legendary point guard who wore No. 11 so well that no other Blue Devil ever again will.

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Bobby Hurley, a two-time national champion as a player (’91, ’92) who still remains the NCAA’s all-time leader in assists (1,076), picked up his 100th career victory as a head coach on Saturday night after his No. 20 Arizona St. squad (8-1) overcame an 18-point deficit to leave Georgia with a 76-74 win.

The 47-year-old Jersey City, N.J., native — son of Bob, a legendary former high school coach, and older brother of Danny, who is in his first year as UConn’s head honcho —  now sports a record of 100-68 in his sixth season as a head coach.

After guiding Buffalo to consecutive regular-season MAC titles and earning an NCAA Tournament berth in just his second season (2014-15), Hurley took over the reins of the Sun Devils, who finished 20-12 last season and provided Hurley with his second trip to the Big Dance as a head coach.

Speaking of dancing, that was the opposite of what I wanted to do 25 years ago on the morning of Dec. 13, 1993.

I was in shock when I woke up to the news that Hurley — at that time, he was a rookie for the Sacramento Kings after being selected seventh in the draft —  ended up in a ditch after being broadsided at a dark intersection by a station wagon that didn’t have its headlights on while he was driving home after his 19th NBA game.

All I could do as an 11-year-old when it happened was pray that my favorite player would be OK.

And he was OK in the sense that he was breathing; however, his playing abilities would never be the same.

Five broken ribs. A severed trachea. Two collapsed lungs. A compression fracture in his back. A fractured fibula. A torn ACL. A sprained wrist.

I was no Doogie Howser, but I didn’t have to be in order to know — especially after seeing a photo of him in a hospital bed — that he was lucky to survive.

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Miraculously, though, he returned to action for the Sacramento Kings less than a year later and went on to play four more seasons in the league. However, after averaging 7.1 points and 6.1 assists prior to the accident, he was never again able to match those stats.

But the accident didn’t derail his future coaching dreams. After living out another dream that involved horseracing — he was a breeder and once owned a 140-acre farm that he fittingly dubbed Devil Eleven Stables — he became an NBA scout in 2003 and then an assistant under his brother at Wagner from 2010-12 and at Rhode Island for the 2012-13 season before landing the gig at Buffalo.

Only the future knows what’s next for Hurley. But here’s one thing I know:

With the same childlike passion that I rooted for him during his playing days, I’ll be one of his biggest fans forever. That is, of course, except for about two hours if any team he ever coaches ends up facing the Blue Devils.

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But I’m certain the GOAT among college point guards would forgive me for that.