Ranking all 36 Duke basketball jersey numbers ever worn

Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

What is the greatest jersey number in Duke basketball history?

Across more than a century of Duke basketball, at least three Blue Devils apiece have worn each of the 36 possible jersey numbers: 0-5, 10-15, 20-25, 30-35, 40-45, and 50-55. The rafters inside Cameron Indoor Stadium currently display 13 retired ones. But this ranking is of the total contributions from each jersey number, taking into account all the players. To make it more interesting, Ball Durham gives its personal pick for each number’s top star.

As for where each of the 36 ranks, the predetermined formula is responsible for the answers. In other words, while some might think the formula itself needs a tweak, it does not contain personal bias; rather, this is simply a curiosity-filled journey to find out which set of digits is the best of all time in terms of Dukie math.

The formula (on each slide) gives points for major team accomplishments, even if the player wearing the jersey number at the time was seldomly on the floor. Plus, it rewards key individual honors (to simplify matters for guys who played in multiple numbers, each number receives credit for those players’ individual accolades). However, it also deducts points from each jersey number for any Blue Devils who averaged less than five points for a career.

By the end, every Blue Devil in the history books who has ever donned a numbered jersey will have appeared. And by the end, we’ll know which Duke basketball jersey number reigns supreme (only hint: it’s one of the retired ones). Now, let’s start with the most pitiful digits of the bunch…