What are the most famous NBA players from Duke Univeristy?
Duke University has produced some of the biggest stars in the history of the NBA, but who are they and what did they achieve? Let's find out.
When it comes to men's college basketball, perhaps there is no institution that has produced more stars than Duke University. Indeed, the Blue Devils' program has produced everything from Olympians to NBA Champions along with mainstays in the NBA All-Star teams. So just who are these stars and what did they achieve? Join us for a look at some of the biggest names to come out of Duke University over the years.
It was well documented at the time that Grant Hill's parents watned him to attend either Georgetown or the University of North Carolina. In the end, however, their son chose to play ball at Duke University and what a choice that turned out to be. In his four years at Duke, Hill won two NCAA titles and without doubt wrote his name into the pages of history with his now iconic iconic hail mary play against Kentucky back in 1992. Though his time in the NBA was plagued by injuries, he went on to be selected to the NBA All-Star team seven times and was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.
Though perhaps one of the most polarizing players in recent times - due to his stance on vaccination - Kyrie Irving is surely one of the NBA's best players today. Irving exploded onto the seen as a Blue Devil before eventually arriving in the NBA where he was named Rookie of the Year in his maiden season back in 2012. Though he has at times struggled with injuries his career has been nothing short of sensational, even winning an NBA Championship alongside LeBron James in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. At present Irving is plying his trade with the Brooklyn Nets who look set to make a run for the title.
If there is one name that can evoke heated debate it's Christian Laettner. Once considered a prodigy, the lanky forward was actually the lone college player selected to the iconic US 'Dream Team' for the Olympics in 1992. In his four seasons under the legendary coach K at Duke, he guided the Blue Devils to at least the Final Four in each of them. With that, Laettner played in 23 out of 24 possible NCAA Tournament games during his time as a 'Dukie,' winning 21 of those games. It could be argued that few players have made a bigger contribution to Duke's history than Laettner
Considered one of the most prolific offensive players in the ACC during his time with Duke, Jayson Tatum turned in a number of stunning performances including a now famous triple-double during the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Currently with the Boston Celtics, Tatum still maintains his affection for the Blue Devils to this day as he is often seen supporting them both in person and through social media as well.
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Another player who almost played for the 'other guys,' Brandon Ingram was actually born and raised in Kinston, North Carolina. How close was he to playing for the Tar Heels? Ingram actually played as a teenager under former North Carolina and NBA star Jerry Stackhouse. Alas, the teenage sensation finally picked Duke and though he was unable to help them to a title, his time with he Blue Devils will definitely be remembered as he established himself as one of the best players in the modern era.
Few players in the history of basketball can claim to have superior shooting numbers when it comes to JJ Reddick. In his years with Duke, Reddick's consistency and accuracy from both the free throw line and beyond the arc became the stuff of legend. Voted the consensus Player of the Year in 2006, Reddick would take his poise, precision and toughness to the big stage where he established himself as a focal point for the Magic before finally joining the Clippers.
Mention the name Zion Williamson to a Duke fan and you're likely to inspire an almost religious like reverence. Few players in the history of the institution have garnered as much praise as Williamson. To say that defenses lived in fear during his short time at Durgham would be an understatement. In his first and only season with Duke, Zion dropped a monstrous 500 points, 50 steals, and 50 blocks, placing him in the company of Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis as the only NCAA freshmen to post such incredible stats. As if to punctuate the point, it was during the 2019 March Madness Tournament, CBS dedicated an individual broadcast feed, dubbed the “Zion Cam,” to follow Williamson.Though his immediate future remains uncertain due to a long term injury, Williamson will certainly be remembered by the Duke faithful for a long time to come.
While his name may not warrant the kind of awe associated with some of the other names on this list, Seth Curry is perhaps the one player who truly embodies the Blue Devil grit that has become so well known. After transferring from Liberty University, Curry actually started for Duke in place of Kyrie Irving who was injured at the time. On the back of very good performances he was later named to the 2013 All-ACC first team, but was not actually selected during the NBA's draft in that same season. The former Duke alumni would finally forge a path into the league via a route that took him through the G-League, eventually establishing himself as one of the best role players in the league today.