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Many of Duke’s elite players flop when they get to the NBA. That’s a running joke that’s been quite prevalent during much of Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s legendary career in Durham.
While it’s tough to argue against that sentiment, it’s simultaneously difficult to argue against the fact that, over the past several years, many of Duke’s elite players have at the very least made it to the Association.
Chew on this: Duke is the only program to have three of its players drafted first overall into the NBA. That distinct trio consists of Art Heyman (1963), Elton Brand (1999) and Kyrie Irving (2011).
As far as the current NBA is concerned, 18 players are on NBA rosters these days. The list is highlighted by the most recent editions, pro rookies Austin Rivers (New Orleans Hornets) and Miles Plumlee (Indiana Pacers), who were both drafted in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft.
Certainly, Duke has had its fair share of NBA failures during the Coach K era (ex: Christian Laettner and Josh McRoberts).
But that failure often rests upon that particular player, not the college they came from.
When it comes to getting the NBA, Coach K is right up there with Kentucky coach John Calipari these days in preparing his players for the next level of basketball.