Duke basketball’s top 10 role players of the last decade

Duke basketball (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Which role guys have been the most important to Duke basketball since 2010?

The definition of a role player varies greatly depending on who you ask. Role players are never the ones that get the praise from the media or have the kids wanting to wear their jersey. But every coach knows that role players are required for a successful team. Every great team needs a star player or two, but they also need guys who don’t care about how many points they score or any individual accolades.

Successful teams need guys who understand what their role is and consistently perform well in that role. “Being a star in your role” is a phrase many coaches will use. It provides comfort to players knowing that they don’t have to do everything, all they need to do is be great in their roles.

Duke has had many important role players over the years. They are not the stars or the ones that go down in history, but every Duke basketball fan knows that without key role players like Thomas Hill and Brian Davis, Duke may not have won back-to-back championships. Or in 2001 without Nate James. Everyone remembers Chrisitan Laettner, Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley, Jay Williams, etc. because they were the stars. For a team to truly be great, having guys who support the stars and supplement their stardom is just as important.

Since 2010, Duke has brought in countless superstar talents and sent a staggering amount of their guys to the NBA. We know the big names like Zion Williamson, Kyrie Irving, Jahlil Okafor, Grayson Allen, Marvin Bagley Jr, Jayson Tatum, Tyus/Tre Jones, RJ Barrett, Jabari Parker, Austin Rivers, etc. The list of big-name players to come through Durham over the past decade is endless.

The guys mentioned above were all counted on to carry the scoring load and be the face of the program during their time at Duke. They all obviously played a huge role in Duke’s success over the past decade, but without the play of key role players, they might not have had the same amount of success.