Duke basketball champ botches his all-time Blue Devil lineup

Duke basketball guard Jason Williams and forward Shane Battier (Ezra Shaw/ALLSPORT)
Duke basketball guard Jason Williams and forward Shane Battier (Ezra Shaw/ALLSPORT) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball forward Elton Brand (Getty Images) /

The center in Williams’ all-time Duke basketball five: ELTON BRAND

Granted, Jason Williams wasn’t even a teenager yet when Christian Laettner (1988-92) made four consecutive Final Four appearances and finished his Blue Devil days with back-to-back national titles.

So maybe some folks can forgive Williams for leaving Laettner off his list, despite the 6-foot-11, 235-pound competitive genius being responsible for “The Shot” that still highlights every promo for March Madness almost 30 years after it sank Kentucky.

Maybe Williams figures he himself would serve as this all-time lineup’s go-to clutch performer in crunch time. Also, it’s not as if his choice for the five-spot was a bum at Duke…

Rather, former Naismith winner Elton Brand (1997-99) became a No. 1 draft pick after only two years in Durham, largely due to his soft touch, 10-inch mitts, and ridiculous wingspan (when he was a Blue Devil, it was reported that he could touch his kneecaps without bending over). The 6-foot-8, 275-pound big man enjoyed a 17-year NBA career and was a two-time All-Star.

On the other hand, Brand didn’t win a national title as a Blue Devil, albeit he came oh so close as the best player on a 1998-99 Duke team that tallied 37 victories.

Also, lest we forget Laettner played in an All-Star Game and was a member of the United States “Dream Team” at the 1992 Olympics. Lest we forget Laettner primarily played center at Duke, a fact that seems to be lost on Williams and the young podcasters:


Lest we forget the swish heard ’round the world against Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional Final was hardly Laettner’s only clutch shot for Duke (for example, replay the 1990 East Regional Final against UConn). Lest we forget Laettner was a master at getting inside opponents’ heads (one would think Williams, whose similar cockiness also irritated foes, would like that about him).

Yes, lest we forget the sheer greatness of Laettner under Mike Krzyzewski. Without his winning ways, there’s no telling how disappointing the Duke basketball history books might look today.

Therefore, with apologies to Williams, it’s crucial to close here by once again confirming that there’s only one place for any all-time Duke lineup not featuring Laettner: the nearest trashcan.

Related Story. The 10 most hated Blue Devils of all time. light

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