Johnny Dawkins - DC Basketball
The class of 1982 provided the foundation for the Duke basketball program, as it was the very first of many blockbuster classes for Mike Krzyzewski.
Johnny Dawkins, Mark Alarie, David Henderson, Jay Bilas and Weldon Williams made up the five-man class and together established the Duke Blue Devils as a staple in the landscape of college basketball.
Of the five program-changing recruits, by Duke standards, it was the commitment from Johnny Dawkins that became the most pivotal.
A starter in 133 career games played, the sweet-shooting lefty from the nation's capital became the Blue Devils' all-time leading scorer with 2,556 points at the end of his college career, until fellow Duke great J.J. Redick surpassed his mark in 2006. Dawkins led the Blue Devils to their first Final Four under Coach K in 1986, while falling just short in the national championship game against the Louisville Cardinals. Dawkins averaged a team-high 20.2 points per game while capturing the Naismith College Player of the Year.
After an outstanding four-year career culminating in his jersey being retired into the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium and a nine-year NBA career, Dawkins returned to Duke as an associate head coach from 1998 to 2008 before accepting the head coaching position at Stanford University.
Also a 133-game starter, Mark Alarie was the model of consistency for Duke during his career. Averaging 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds for his career, Alarie was a third team All-American as a senior.
Rotating between a starter and a bench player over his first three seasons, David Henderson ended his college career starting in all 39 games for Duke in his senior season. It was his most successful year as a player for the Blue Devils, as he averaged career highs in each statistical category as a co-captain of the 1986 NCAA tournament runner-up team.
While you'll most likely find the highly intelligent Jay Bilas on regular college basketball ESPN programming as a broadcaster, the 6'8" Californian was the definition of toughness for Duke during his playing days. A relentless worker, Bilas was a four-year starter for the Blue Devils and an integral piece of their early success under Coach K.
After his playing days had come to a close following brief stints in the NBA and overseas, Bilas returned to Duke as an assistant coach from 1990 to 1992. During that time, Duke advanced to three Final Fours and won two national titles.
Including the rarely used Weldon Williams, the five-man recruiting class still ranks as the highest scoring class in college basketball history with 7,450 points combined.
To this day, no other class in Duke basketball history has been more significant to the long-term success for this program. If not for the commitments from these five players that, together, altered the course of history in the college game, the superiority of the Duke Blue Devils would be non-existent.
And that is why the class of 1982 is the greatest recruiting class in the storied history of the Duke basketball program.