Duke basketball: Six best sixth men under Coach K

Duke basketball bench (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Duke basketball bench (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Six Duke basketball players have each stood out in at least one season since 1980 as a top-grade sixth man.

The Duke basketball program has had some tremendous starting fives during the Coach K era. But what about his bench? Who were Mike Krzyzewski’s most productive go-to guys to come off the pine?

Traditionally, the sixth man is that player who does not start but nonetheless makes a tremendous impact after he enters the game. Coach K historically has a very short bench, meaning he has never been inclined to give too many guys too many minutes once he has settled on his rotation. There have, however, been a few Blue Devils who have served Krzyzewski well in the role of the sixth man.  So, who are the best sixth men of the last four decades?

ALSO READ: Six reasons Coach K may never retire

Some of Duke’s best players served in the role of a sixth man at some point during their times in uniform. Freshman forward Cherokee Parks started just three of 34 games during Duke’s 1991-92 championship run. More recently, Quinn Cook started only four of 33 games during his 2011-12 freshman season, which saw him average only 11.7 minutes per game and 4.4 points per game.

But who were the premier off the pine, the rarest of the reservists, the best of the bench? When ranking the six best Duke sixth men, I considered games started and games played, minutes per game, points per game, assists per game, and rebounds per game, as well as individual and team accolades. The following are the Blue Devils’ top six reserves of the last 40 seasons.

First, here are a few honorable mentions:  Shavlik Randolph (2003-04 season), Daniel Ewing (2001-02), Steve Wojciechowski (1994-96), and Marty Clark (1992-94).