Duke Basketball: Top 50 Blue Devils in School History

Josh SchochAnalyst IIIMay 16, 2012

Duke Basketball: Top 50 Blue Devils in School History

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    The Duke Blue Devils have had some of the best players in college basketball history, but these are 50 greatest players in school history.

    One of the winningest schools in college basketball history, Duke has had no shortage of talented players. This school has had a steady run of success, during which they have become one of the most prestigious schools in college basketball.

    Duke has won four national championships, made it to 10 championship games and 15 Final Fours, and has an NCAA-best .748 NCAA tournament winning percentage.

    Duke is arguably the most well-known basketball program in the country, and the reason the Blue Devils have been so successful is because of these great players.

    11 Duke players have been named the National Player of the Year, while 71 players have been selected in the NBA draft. The team has also had 36 All-Americans, being elected a total of 60 times.

    Of all of the incredible players to play for Duke, these are the top 50 in school history.

Criteria

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    To make sure that there is no confusion, these are the criteria to what exactly makes these the best players in Duke history:

    • Players are judged based on what they did at Duke, not before or after;
    • Defense counts just as much as offense;
    • These are not the 50 most talented players to don a Duke jersey, but those who have done the most of any players.

Honorable Mentions

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    Cutting this list down to 50 players was very difficult, and this list would not be complete without mentioning these players as well. Some are honorable mentions because they just missed the cut, while others could have been on the list if they played all four years at Duke:

    Kyrie Irving

    Austin Rivers

    Bernie Janicki

    Carroll Youngkin

    Thomas Hill

    Rudy D'Emilio

    Thomas Hill

    Daniel Ewing

    Antonio Lang

    Brian Davis

50. Billy King (1984-88)

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    Billy King was an incredible defender, despite being mediocre on the offensive end. He was the type of player who was versatile enough at 6'6" and 205 pounds to cover almost anyone, and he won the National Defensive Player of Year award in 1988.

    In his senior season, he was a captain of the team, and his defense and leadership helped to lead the Blue Devils to the 1988 Final Four.

    King didn't take over any games on the offensive end, scoring only 4.5 points per game in his career, but his hard-nosed defense, great leadership and embodiment of everything a Blue Devil should be lands him at No. 50 on this list.

49. Gerald Henderson (2006-09)

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    Gerald Henderson's accomplishments should be fresh in the minds of Duke fans. He's already been gone from the team for three years, but it feels like only yesterday that he was throwing down dunks for Duke and getting into it with North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough.

    Henderson was an incredible athlete, and he was very versatile at 6'4" and 215 pounds. He had a slow start with the team in his freshman year, but he had two great seasons during his sophomore and junior years.

    In his junior year, he averaged 16.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, helping Duke make it to the Sweet 16 before leaving for the NBA. While it would have been nice if he stayed for his senior season and was part of the 2010 Duke team that won it all, he was a key contributor for the Blue Devils over three seasons.

    In his career, Henderson averaged 12.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, but those numbers are skewed by his poor freshman year.

48. Robert Brickey (1986-90)

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    Robert Brickey was one of the most efficient offensive players Duke has ever had. He never played more than 26.5 minutes per game in a season, but he averaged almost 10 points per game over his career.

    Shooting just under 55 percent from the floor, Brickey averaged over 17 points per 40 minutes of playing time.

    Brickey was an athletic forward at 6'4" and 205 pounds, and he was an exciting player to watch. Brickey kept the crowd on the edge of their seats, and his offensive production was key for the Blue Devils.

    Brickey is still in the top 50 for scoring for the team all-time.

47. Kenny Dennard (1977-81)

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    Kenny Dennard was a hard-working player player who epitomized what a college athlete should be. He did whatever was asked of him, and that led to him becoming a captain during his senior year.

    His stats didn't blow you away—with his nine points and five rebounds per game—but if you take away an abysmal sophomore season, they are a better representation of him as a player. His updated stats would be roughly 10 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

    Dennard's stats won't blow you away, but he was the key component of the 1981 Duke team, and he played on two different Elite Eight teams during his four years as a Blue Devil.

46. William Avery (1997-99)

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    William Avery was a point guard for the Duke Blue Devils, and he should be fresh in the minds of Duke fans as well.

    Avery only played two seasons at Duke before moving on to the NBA, averaging 12 points, four assists and three rebounds per game in his career. Avery led the 1999 team that lost in the national championship, averaging 14.9 points, 5.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.

    Avery was a great player, and if he stayed all four years at Duke he could have been much higher on this list.

45. Jay Bilas (1982-86)

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    Jay Bilas makes his Duke days sound like he was a benchwarmer whose biggest contribution was handing Gatorade over to Billy King who was on this list before Bilas, but he was a major contributor to his team, and is one of the top players in school history.

    Bilas, now an analyst for ESPN, averaged only eight points per game, but he also grabbed in five rebounds per contest.

    He was a great leader and a smart player who knew how to attack a defense, and he was the biggest component of Duke's offense during the early 1980s.

44. Kevin Strickland (1985-88)

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    Kevin Strickland was a key contributor to two Final Four teams during his four years at Duke. He was not a major contributor during his first two years, but he turned it on during his last two.

    Averaging 13.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest in his junior and senior years, he was a captain in 1987, and averaged over 16 points per game during his final year as a Blue Devil.

    Strickland helped Duke start its five-year streak of Final Four runs, and during his sophomore year he played a role in the team's trip to the championship game.

43. Luol Deng (2004)

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    Luol Deng was a one-and-done at Duke, but he played a vital role for Duke 2004 Final Four team.

    Deng averaged 15 points and seven rebounds per game during his freshman year, and he was one of the leaders of the 2004 team.

    Deng was a freak of an athlete who led all freshmen in scoring that year, and could have dominated the college level. If he had stayed all four years he would have been a top-10 player in this list, and would have his jersey hanging in the rafters at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

42. Phil Henderson (1987-90)

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    Phil Henderson was an incredible skinny player for Duke during the late '80s. However, he used his height, speed and athleticism to create mismatches.

    Averaging 12 points per game during his career, and was a major contributor during his final two seasons, averaging 12.7 and 18.5 points per game, respectively.

    During the 1989 NCAA tournament, Henderson threw down what would later be known as "The Dunk," over Alonzo Mourning. The team made it to the Final Four that year, thanks in part to Henderson's incredible play.

41. Dahntay Jones (2002-03)

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    Dahntay Jones only played two years at Duke, but the Rutgers transfer was an immediate contributor to the Blue Devils.

    Averaging 11.2 and 17.7 points per game in his two seasons, Jones was always a scoring threat. He wasn't much of a shooter during his first year at Durham, but he shot nearly 40 percent from behind the arc during his final year in college.

    A versatile scorer who could shoot or drive, and a stingy defender to boot, Jones was an immediate success who was a captain of the 2003 team that made it to the Sweet 16.

40. Jeff Capel (1994-97)

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    Jeff Capel was a good player for Duke, averaging 12.4 points, 3.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game over his four-year career.

    Capel is known for hitting a HUGE 40-foot shot against archrival North Carolina in 1995 to extend the game into double overtime. The Blue Devils lost 102-100, but Capel was nominated for an ESPY because of the shot.

    In 1996 he became a captain, and kept his role in 1997 as well. However, Capel was a true team player, and he gave up his starting spot during his senior year for the good of the team. He started only 15 of the 33 games he played, yet remained a captain.

    Capel is currently coaching at Duke.

39. Chris Collins (1993-96)

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    Another current coach for the Blue Devils, Chris Collins was one of the most unpredictable players in Duke history.

    In his freshman season he averaged only 5.8 points. However, he came back in his sophomore season and put up double-digit points per game. His junior season was awful, averaging just 3.9 points per game on less than 30 percent shooting from the floor.

    Named a captain during his senior season, Collins then exploded for 16.3 points, 4.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. He played excellent basketball for the Blue Devils during that season, and finished his career averaging 9.1 points per game as well as being an excellent leader.

38. David Henderson (1983-86)

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    David Henderson was a solid player during all four years of his Duke career, averaging 12.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.

    A captain during his junior year, Henderson epitomized leadership, and he was able to be one of the most influential players on the team from the bench, as he was not a starter that year.

    During the only year in which he started 25 or more games, Henderson averaged 14 points and five rebounds per game, leading Duke to the national championship.

37. Alaa Abdelnaby (1987-90)

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    Alaa Abdelnaby was a decent player for his first two years at Duke, but he developed into a major contributor for the Blue Devils in his last two.

    With good intangibles, Abdelnaby kept on getting better, including averaging 15 points and six rebounds per game in his senior season.

    Abdelnaby played on three Final Four teams in his four seasons, including the 1990 team that made it to the national championship game.

36. Nate James (1997-2001)

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    Nate James came to Duke as a scoring threat, but injuries killed that portion of his game. However, James still finds himself on this list because of his intangibles and leadership.

    James was the type of player who would do anything for his team to win, and that was displayed when he surrendered his starting role late in the 2001 season; a sacrifice that helped Duke win the NCAA tournament.

    He only averaged about eight points and three rebounds per game in his career, but he was defined more by leadership than anything else. He is now an assistant coach for Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils.

35. Cherokee Parks (1992-95)

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    "The Chief" might have landed in the top 10 on this list if he had stayed away from injuries, but even with these setbacks he manages to crack No. 35.

    Parks played very little during his first season in Durham, averaging less than 13 minutes per game, which led to just 5.0 points per game. However, over his next three seasons he was a starter and averaged double-digit points per game, including 19.0 points and 9.3 rebounds during his senior season.

    Parks was a huge player for the Blue Devils during his last three years, and the team made it to the national championship game during his junior season.

34. Roshown McLeod (1997-97)

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    Roshown McLeod was the key to the rebuilding of Duke basketball in the mid-1990s. After winning back-to-back national titles, Duke was looking weak, but McLeod helped turn that image around.

    A transfer from St. John's, McLeod only played two years with the Blue Devils, but his help in rebuilding the team was instrumental to the success they enjoy today.

    Playing less than 24 minutes per game, he was highly effective, averaging 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game during his career. He led Duke to the Elite Eight as a captain during his senior season, which set up two national championships since then.

33. Tommy Amaker (1984-87)

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    Tommy Amaker was a teammate of Johnny Dawkins, and they made up a stellar backcourt. He was the defensive part of the backcourt, and while he wasn't as good as Dawkins, he was an excellent player.

    He averaged 8.5 points and five assists per game in his four seasons, and his exceptional defense won him the National Defensive Player of the Year award.

    Amaker was a starter at Duke during his whole career, starting all 138 games that he played for the Blue Devils over his four years. He also helped lead Duke to the 1986 national championship game.

32. Mike Lewis (1966-68)

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    Mike Lewis was a double-double machine at Duke, averaging 16.9 points and 12.5 rebounds per game over his three-year career.

    Lewis is one of the most successful rebounders in Duke history, with his 12.5 boards per game, and he finished with 1,051, which was the most in history at the time.

    Lewis also scored 1,416 points in his career and was an all-around good player. However, he did not have a lot of help during the mid-to-late '60s, and he only made one appearance in the NCAA tournament, making it to the Final Four in 1966.

31. Trajan Langdon (1995-99)

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    Trajan Langdon was a prolific scorer for Duke. A top-15 scorer all-time, he had great range and accuracy.

    Langdon helped return Duke to glory after its disappointing end to the 1995 season. He also played through injuries to help lead the dominant 1999 team that fell one game short of the title.

    Averaging 15 points per game and shot over 40 percent from three-point range during his career, Langdon was an incredible scoring threat for the Blue Devils, which is why he appears on this list.

30. Kyle Singler (2008-2011)

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    Kyle Singler was a key asset to Duke's 2010 national championship team, and he was a great player all four years that he donned a Duke uni.

    After averaging double-digit points per game in all of his first three seasons (including his freshman season, when he won ACC Freshman of the Year) he was pegged as the National Player of the Year in 2011 during the preseason. Unfortunately that didn't pan out, but he did average 17 points and seven rebounds per game.

    Singler was an incredible combo-forward for the team, and he finds himself at No. 30 on this list because of it.

29. Tate Armstrong (1974-77)

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    Tate Armstrong made one of the biggest jumps from one year to the next in the history of Duke basketball, which makes it sad that he only played 14 games during his senior season.

    From his sophomore year to his junior year, he went from averaging less than 10 points per game to a ridiculous 24.2 points and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 52.3 percent from the floor.

    Not many people know much about Armstrong because he never won any major awards and only averaged 15.7 points and 2.6 assists per game over his career. However, he was an incredibly good player during his last 41 games, and he was a star for those two years.

28. Mike Dunleavy (2000-02)

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    Mike Dunleavy had to undergo a position change in college because he grew from a shooting guard to a small forward, but he was highly successful at his new position.

    As a bench player during his freshman year, he averaged 9.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. However, he started every game during his last two seasons, during which he combined for 15.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

    Dunleavy helped lead Duke to its 2001 national championship, averaging over 12 points per game as the Blue Devils went 35-4 and won the NCAA tournament.

    Dunleavy returned for his junior season, in which he averaged over 17 points and seven rebounds per game before leaving for the NBA.

27. Jack Marin (1964-66)

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    Jack Marin came over a decade before Mike Krzyzewski did, and he was an excellent small forward. He could score in bunches and play tight defense.

    Marin did not play much during his freshman season, which is why he only averaged 7.9 points per game. However, he played much more during his final two seasons, during which he averaged 18.9 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. When he left Duke, he was a top-10 scorer all-time.

    Marin helped Duke to two Final Fours during his three seasons, including making it to the NCAA tournament championship game during 1964, which was the furthest the school had ever made it.

26. Jim Spanarkel (1976-79)

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    Jim Spanarkel came right before Mike Krzyzewski did at Duke, and he was a terrific point guard during his four seasons with the Blue Devils.

    Spanarkel was a key contributor for Duke in the late 1970s, averaging 17.6 points, 3.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game over his four years at Duke. When he helped lead Duke to the Final Four in 1978 he averaged 20.8 points per game. During his two NCAA tournament he averaged 19.7 points per game.

    Spanarkel was voted a first-team All-ACC player twice and a first-team All-American in 1979. He was a captain during his last two seasons, and is now a member of the Duke Sports Hall of Fame.

25. Jon Scheyer (2007-10)

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    Jon Scheyer came to Duke drawing comparisons to the then-recently departed J.J. Redick, who was one of the best three-point shooters in NCAA history. He immediately stepped in as a starter and averaged double-digit points per game.

    While Scheyer was never as deadly as Redick was from behind the arc, he added a new element to his game that allowed him to drive more successfully through the lane. This allowed him to mature into a great player who averaged almost 20 points per game during his senior season.

    Scheyer left Duke after four years. In 2010 he helped lead the Blue Devils to the fourth NCAA tournament championship in school history.

24. Nolan Smith (2008-2011)

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    Another player from Duke's 2010 national championship team, Nolan Smith was the embodiment of the Duke spirit, with the "whatever it takes to win" mentality.

    Smith was a guard who was constantly switching between point and shooting guard. He could play either position well, and he had to play both during his senior season when freshman point guard Kyrie Irving went down with an injury.

    Smith developed from a role player to a star, averaging over 20 points and five assists per game during his senior season. Smith's incredible productivity and excellent defensive game put him in the conversation for National Player of the Year during his final season, but he had to settle for ACC Player of the Year.

23. Chris Carrawell (1997-2000)

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    Chris Carrawell was one of the most versatile players in Duke history, playing literally every position during his four years under Mike Krzyzewski.

    During one game against Wake Forest he was forced to play center against the legendary Tim Duncan, which was a lot to ask of the 6'6" Carrawell, but he did not shy away from the challenge and played effective defense.

    Carrawell's role was constantly changing from a scorer to a defender to an effort player to a star. During his senior season, he truly stepped up and won the ACC Player of the Year award in the process, as well as being named a First-Team All-American.

22. Steve Vacendak (1964-66)

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    Steve Vacendak played three years with Duke's varsity team, but during his first season he did not receive a lot of playing time.

    During his junior and senior seasons, Vacendak averaged 14.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Assists were not recorded at this time, but Vacendak was a great passer and leader as a point guard, and he undoubtedly dropped quite a few dimes while at Duke.

    Vacendak helped Duke to two Final Fours during his three years on the varsity team, including a trip to the final game of the 1964 NCAA tournament. He was a great leader, and when he captained the team in 1966, he brought them to the Final Four, averaging 15.0 points per game in the Big Dance that year.

21. Steve Wojciechowski (1995-98)

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    Steve Wojciechowski was a great player under Coach K, becoming a true leader, which is why he is now a coach with the Blue Devils.

    "Wojo" was an excellent defender who was always willing to put his body on the line in order to win games. He was the type of leader who slapped the floor to get the team going on defense, doing whatever it took to win.

    He was a great defender, winning the National Defensive Player of the Year award in 1997. While his offense didn't blow anyone away, Wojo's defense and leadership have him making this list.

20. Elton Brand (1998-99)

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    Elton Brand was a big, nasty center for Duke during his two years with the Blue Devils. He was not with the team for a long time, but he certainly left an impact.

    Over his two seasons, Brand averaged 16.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. He was a huge part of the Blue Devils' success in the late 1990s.

    Brand helped Duke reach back-to-back Elite Eights, and the team came up one game short of a national championship during his final season.

19. Carlos Boozer (2000-02)

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    Right after Elton Brand left for the NBA, Carlos Boozer stepped in and took his place.

    One of my favorite Duke players in history, Boozer was a huge center who used his body effectively. At 6'9" and 280 pounds, he could bully smaller players, which helped him average 14.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game over his three-year career.

    Boozer was a bruiser who was dominant in the paint, and he helped lead Duke to three straight Sweet 16 appearances and a 2001 NCAA tournament championship.

18. Chris Duhon (2001-04)

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    Chris Duhon was a legendary Duke guard. When he first came to Durham, he was forced to play alongside Jason Williams during his freshman season, but during his last three he was the team's starting point guard.

    Duhon was an excellent passer, a great scorer and an even better leader. He captained the team during his last two seasons, and he led Duke to quite a bit of success over those 70 games.

    Averaging 8.8 points and 5.7 assists per game over his four-year career, Duhon was a key on offense. He controlled the tempo well and always knew how to attack a defense. When he was on defense he would disrupt the opposition, recording 2.1 steals per game over his career.

    Duhon was clutch, and one of the highlights of his career came when he when Duke was down one to archrival North Carolina after the Tar Heels made a basket, and Duhon went coast-to-coast and finished with a reverse layup that barely beat the buzzer for Duke to win.

    Duhon was a winner above all else, and that was what Duke needed. During his freshman season the team won the NCAA tournament with him starting all six games. He then brought the Blue Devils back to the Final Four during his senior season.

17. Gene Banks (1978-81)

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    Gene Banks was the first great player that Mike Krzyzewski got to coach at Duke. Banks was already with the team when Coach K took over, and he helped Krzyzewski along the way to becoming the winningest coach of all time.

    Banks was a starter for Duke even as a freshman. He immediately impacted the program, averaging a ridiculous 17.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game as a freshman. That year he won ACC Freshman of the Year honors, and helped Duke reach the national championship game.

    As a big, versatile forward, Banks was a key part of Duke's plans during all four years he was with the team.

    Over his career he averaged 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game. He was a complete player and helped to spark the success that Duke has enjoyed for the last 35 years.

16. Bob Verga (1965-67)

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    Bob Verga was another great point guard for the Blue Devils during his time in Durham, but he was more of a scoring threat than most of the others on this list.

    During Verga's three seasons with the varsity team, he averaged an incredible 22.0 points per game. He was a starter from the moment he joined the team.

    Unfortunately, assists were not kept at this time, which is why there is no record of just how effective a passer he was. However, we have gleaned that he was a great leader and could find the open man, which is partially why he was named captain in 1967.

    Verga is yet another player on this list who played well when it mattered most, averaging 15.5 points per game during his only trip to the NCAA tournament in 1966, in which he helped to lead the Blue Devils to the Final Four.

15. Randy Denton (1969-71)

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    No, that's not a picture of Will Ferrell in the movie Semi-Pro, the man with the afro was none other than Randy Denton, who was a center for Duke.

    Denton was an impact player from the moment he stepped on campus. The 6'10", 240-pound mammoth of a center dominated the game during his three seasons on the varsity team, averaging a double-double.

    As a freshman, Denton averaged 17.4 points and 12.8 rebounds per game. He kept improving upon that and finished his career averaging nearly 20 points and 13 rebounds per game.

    Unfortunately Denton's career came during an 11-year stretch when the team did not play in the NCAA tournament, which is a shame considering how great of a player he was.

14. Mark Alarie (1983-86)

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    Mark Alarie was a skilled forward for the Blue Devils during the mid 1980s. He was part of Mike Krzyzewski's first big recruiting class at Duke, and he could have been a famous player if recurring knee injuries hadn't cut his NBA career short.

    Being a starter as a freshman, Alarie averaged double-digit points per game in all four of his seasons at Duke. He was a prolific scorer from inside, averaging over 16 points per game in his career and finishing with 2,136 points in his career, which ranks seventh in Duke history.

    Alarie was also a good rebounder, averaging 6.3 boards per game in his career, and he was a disruptive defender who forced errant passes from inside or forced opponents to adjust shots.

    During his senior season he led the Blue Devils all the way to the national championship game before Duke was ousted by Louisville, 72-69.

    Alarie averaged 15.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game during that NCAA tournament run, and he was a crucial part of Duke's success throughout his career.

13. Shelden Williams (2003-06)

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    Shelden Williams was a dominant center during his time at Duke. He and J.J. Redick complemented each other nicely, with Redick extending the defense to the point where Williams could make them pay.

    Williams was a beast, averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds in his incredible senior season. His 85 blocked shots also helped him reach a Duke-record 232 for his career and win the Defensive Player of the Year (which he won in 2005 and 2006).

    Williams changed the game on both ends of the court, but he stepped up his game during the NCAA tournament. During his senior season he helped Duke reach the Sweet 16 on the back of his 23.0 points, 15.0 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game. He also helped them reach the Final Four in 2004.

    With his No. 23 jersey in the rafters in Cameron Indoor Stadium, he is the first player on this list to have been forever honored by the Blue Devils.

12. Mike Gminski (1977-80)

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    Mike Gminski was a stud at Duke, starting 121 of his 122 games in a Duke uniform, averaging a double-double over his four-year career, with 19.0 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.

    He was one of the youngest players to play for Duke, but he was seven feet tall and had the skill to justify his place on the team.

    Gminski had a great four-year career at Duke, averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds per game. When he graduated from Duke, he held the records for career points (2,323), rebounds (1,242) and blocked shots (345).

    Gminski was an ACC Rookie of the Year (1977) and ACC Player of the Year (1979) while with the Blue Devils. His jersey is now retired.

11. Jeff Mullins (1962-64)

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    Jeff Mullins was an incredibly skilled small forward who was a prolific scorer and a sensational rebounder. He enjoyed a great deal of success while at Duke because the Blue Devils boasted two stars in Mullins and Art Heyman.

    Averaging 21.9 points and 9.0 rebounds per game over his three years, Mullins was an effort player who still had quite a bit of natural talent. He didn't waste his talent, but exploited it fully, which is why he was so successful.

    Mullins was one of the best players that preceded Mike Krzyzewski. He won the ACC Player of the Year award as a senior, and his No. 44 was retired by Duke.

10. Danny Ferry (1986-89)

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    Danny Ferry is often lost in the conversation of Duke greats. Sure, you can talk about Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley, J.J. Redick, Johnny Dawkins and more, but Ferry should be in there too.

    Perhaps he is lost because he was not a starter in his first game, but he became an incredible player and was starting by the end of the season.

    Ferry came to Duke with the ability to score inside, but developed the ability to score from range as well. During his last three years he averaged 15.2 points per game because of it, not to mention his 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

    During his four seasons, Ferry helped lead Duke to three Final Fours. During his last two NCAA tournament appearances, he averaged 8.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game as the Blue Devils went to back-to-back Final Fours.

    Ferry had a monster senior season, averaging 22.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. He won the ACC Player of the Year award for the second consecutive year, not to mention being named a First-Team All-American as well as National Player of the Year.

    It should come as no surprise that his jersey is now retired.

9. Shane Battier (1998-2001)

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    Shane Battier was the go-to guy for the 2001 national champion Duke Blue Devils, averaging 22.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in the Big Dance, but it did not start out that way.

    Battier did not impress much in his first two seasons, averaging only 7.6 and 9.1 points per game, respectively, but he stepped it up for his junior and senior years.

    Battier made massive improvements in his game between the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons, and he emerged as Duke's best player for his last two seasons, averaging 17.4 and 19.1 points per game, respectively.

    A great all-around player, Battier was not just a scorer. He also won the National Defensive Player of the Year an incredible three times (1999-2001), and was the National Player of the Year in 2001. Battier was a quiet, humble leader, but he was one of the best leaders Duke has ever had.

8. Dick Groat (1950-52)

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    Dick Groat was one of the best athletes Duke has ever had. Apart from his success on the court, he enjoyed a good deal of success during his 10 years in the MLB, during which he won the NL MVP.

    Groat is on this list for his basketball skills, however, and even on those alone he finds himself in the top 10.

    Groat played three years on the varsity team, but he only played two full seasons. During those two full seasons he averaged 25.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game.

    He resembled Magic Johnson in his ability to play inside or out, while also rebounding and passing well. He was also a prolific scorer, which helped him to be drafted in the first round of the 1952 NBA draft.

    Groat was named the National Player of the Year in 1952, before continuing his incredible career as a multi-sport athlete.

7. Art Heyman (1961-63)

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    Art Heyman is another old player like Dick Groat, but Heyman decided that one sport was enough for him.

    Heyman was a small forward with the Blue Devils in the early '60s and he was highly successful. He played three seasons with the varsity team, averaging at least 25 points and 10 rebounds per game.

    Heyman was very consistent, averaging 25.2 points and 11.0 rebounds per game over his career. You always knew what to expect from this guy, and he rarely failed to deliver his typical double-double.

    Heyman captained two teams with Duke, during his last two seasons. During his only trip to the NCAA tournament Heyman led Duke to the first Final Four appearance in school history, coming during his final season with the team.

    Heyman is a legend when it comes to Duke basketball, despite not receiving as much recognition as he deserves.

6. Jason Williams (2000-02)

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    Jason Williams came to Duke as a shooting guard, but underwent a position change and became the second-best point guard Duke has ever had, despite leaving early.

    During his three seasons in Durham, Williams started all 108 games that he played in. He was an effective scorer who averaged 19.3 and 21.5 points per game during his last two seasons.

    He was also a great passer who racked up 6.0 assists per game, not to mention his 3.7 rebounds per game

    A winner and terrific leader, Williams helped Duke reach the Sweet 16 in all three years he donned a Duke uni. In his sophomore season he Duke to a national championship, scoring 25.7 points and recording 5.2 assists per game along the way.

    Perhaps his best performance was a game in which he led Duke past Maryland despite trailing by 10 points in the final minute.

    During his sophomore season, he was named National Player of the Year, along with being voted a First- Team All-American for the first of two times. After his junior year he left for the NBA, and his jersey currently hangs in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

5. Bobby Hurley (1990-93)

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    Bobby Hurley was the best point guard Duke ever had, and his 1,076 career assists remain an NCAA record to this day.

    An incredibly gifted passer with excellent court vision, Hurley worked hard for his record and Duke benefited from his success.

    Hurley came to Duke and was immediately a starter. He started 139 of his 140 games, with the only game he didn't start coming in his junior year. He averaged an incredible 7.6 assists per game as a freshman, not to mention nine points and two steals.

    An incredible leader, age was never an issue for Hurley. He stepped in and led Duke to three straight national championship games during his first three seasons, and winning back-to-back NCAA tournaments in 1991 and 1992.

    Apart from his passing ability, Hurley was also a good scorer and played suffocating defense. He developed as a scoring threat, improving from 8.8 points per game as a freshman to 17.0 per game as a senior.

    Hurley's ability to win and his freakish point guard skills led him to great success as a Blue Devil, and he finds himself in the top five on this list.

4. J.J. Redick (2003-06)

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    J.J. Redick could flat-out shoot. He made a ridiculous 457 three-pointers during his career as a Blue Devil, shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc in his career.

    Redick wasn't a one-trick pony, however, and he also had other strengths.

    He developed the ability to drive to the basket, which forced opponents to respect the fact that he might drive which also opened up more threes for him.

    He also played point guard during one year, and while he wasn't explosive, he was efficient and rarely turned the ball over.

    Redick's 2,769 points remain a Duke record. He averaged 20.0 points per game over his four years at Duke, and Redick will never be forgotten by Duke fans.

3. Johnny Dawkins (1983-86)

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    Johnny Dawkins is easily the most important player in the history of Duke basketball, but he is only third on this list.

    He was an incredible player for Duke who was successful during all four years in Durham as a player. He then came back to coach at Duke as an assistant after enjoying success in the NBA.

    A great player and an even better leader, Dawkins deserves being third on this list. He was highly productive during his time in a Duke uniform, averaging 19.2 points, 4.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game over his career.

    Dawkins was highly decorated as a player, being named a First-Team All-American twice and the National Player of the Year in 1986.

    1986 was a great year for Dawkins. During his senior season, he averaged over 20 points per game for the first time in his career, and he helped Duke make it to the national championship game before eventually falling to Louisville in a nail-biter. The was then named the Naismith National Player of the Year.

    Dawkins will be forever remembered by Duke fans, and it'd be hard to forget him with his jersey hanging in the rafters in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

2. Christian Laettner (1989-92)

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    Famous for his game-winning shot that capped a dramatic comeback against Kentucky in the Elite Eight, Christian Laettner's career at Duke was more than just one shot.

    Laettner is one of the few players at the end of this list who was not a starter from day one. Instead, Laettner had to start his career coming off the bench, but during the middle of his freshman season he made the switch to a starter, and he never let that role go.

    During his last three seasons, Laettner improved from 16.3 points per game to 21.3, and he averaged 8.8 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game as well.

    Laettner's true success definitely came in the NCAA tournament, however.

    He led Duke to four straight Final Fours, winning back-to-back national championships during his last two seasons. He holds the records for most tournament games played (23), most free throws made and attempted (142-for-167) and points (407).

    Laettner was arguably the most clutch player Duke ever had, and although his one shot does not define his career, it does epitomize how good he was when it mattered most.

1. Grant Hill (1991-94)

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    Grant Hill is the best player in Duke history in my mind. While there is a case to be made for any of these last five players, I give the honor to Hill.

    Hill played alongside Christian Laettner and Bobby Hurley during his four years. He helped Duke make three straight Final Fours, and he was part of the 1991 and 1992 teams that won the NCAA tournament.

    The second-most gifted athlete in Duke history (only Dick Groat's career in the NBA and MLB tops him), Hill averaged 15.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.7 steals per game over his four years.

    Hill also played stellar defense, and he was the type of player who had the size and athleticism to cover any player he faced.

    Hill won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 1993, and was named the ACC Player of the Year and a First-Team All-American in 1994. Needless to say, his jersey is now retired.

    While Hill never won National Player of the Year honors, he was still the best player in Duke history, and he closes out my list.