Duke Basketball: The 5 Biggest Fan Favorites in Blue Devils History

David AldridgeFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2013

Duke Basketball: The 5 Biggest Fan Favorites in Blue Devils History

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    Duke basketball fans are very passionate about their team.

    Nearly every Duke player has a special relationship with the fans, especially the Cameron Crazies. As one of the most innovative student sections in the country, the Cameron Crazies create many unique cheers that are specific to each Blue Devil.

    However, a few Duke players have had particularly special relationships with the fans.

    This list, which is in no particular order, looks at the five biggest fan favorites in Duke history.

5. Nolan Smith

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    Nolan Smith worked himself into becoming one of the best guards to ever play at Duke, and the fans certainly noticed that hard work.

    Smith went from being a role player who saw limited minutes as a freshman to winning National Player of the Year and ACC Player of the Year awards as a senior.

    He was an easy player to root for because of the adversity he had to overcome from his childhood, as his father died while Nolan was only eight years old.

    "Rollin' with Nolan" was one of the popular chants of the Cameron Crazies during Smith's career at Duke, and the team certainly rolled with him, as he helped lead the Blue Devils to the 2010 national championship during his junior season.

4. Cherokee Parks

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    Cherokee Parks was a free-spirited guy from Southern California who had the difficult task of replacing Christian Laettner, the most decorated player in Duke history.

    His mother named him "Cherokee" because of his family's Native American lineage, which led the Cameron Crazies to give him the endearing nickname "Chief."

    Along with chants of "CHIEF!," students would also come to home games adorned in Native American headdresses as a tribute to Parks.

    He was also a popular player because of his production.

    Despite playing on a few Duke teams that struggled, Cherokee Parks increased his scoring average each year and shot 55 percent from the field for his career at Duke. As a senior, he averaged 19 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting over 50 percent from the field.

    Parks struggled when he moved on to the NBA, but he'll always be remembered as one of the more unique and popular Blue Devils.

3. Patrick Davidson

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    The legend of Patrick Davidson was born on February 20, 2005.

    Duke was hosting Wake Forest and Mike Krzyzewski inserted Davidson into the lineup to help provide the struggling Blue Devils with some energy and to set a tone against Wake Forest's point guard, Chris Paul.

    It was the only start of Davidson's career at Duke and he played two minutes, but his intensity in that short time earned him a standing ovation from the crowd, a hug from Mike Krzyzewski as he left the court and legendary status among Duke fans and message boards for the rest of his life.

    He got under Chris Paul's skin from the opening tip, and it's something Paul remembered years later as an annoying tactic.

    Duke also came away with a 102-92 victory over Wake Forest.

    Walk-ons always have a special relationship with the student section at any school, but Davidson's is particularly special because of his shining moment against the Demon Deacons.

2. Shane Battier

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    Shane Battier did everything during his career at Duke.

    He was an Academic All-American, National Player of the Year, three-time National Defensive Player of the Year and a national champion.

    Battier even had his jersey retired while he was still playing at Duke!

    One of the legendary chants of the Cameron Crazies will always be, "Who's your daddy? Battier!" The cheer was symbolic of Battier's dominating defensive presence on the court, which often forced opponents into making costly mistakes.

    He was the ultimate representative for Duke University during his college career and someone fans can always be proud of.

    Even as he's moved on to a very productive NBA career, Battier still has the full support of Duke fans around the world.

1. Steve Wojciechowski

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    Steve Wojciechowski was hated by opposing fans but adored by Duke fans.

    His intensity on the court was emblematic of the intensity Mike Krzyzewski coaches with, and that intensity spread to the crowd during games in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

    Wojciechowski, who was nicknamed "Wojo," started the iconic symbol of Duke players slapping the court, which called on the team to get a defensive stop and often incited the crowd.

    Never known as a scorer, Wojciechowski was a guy who maximized his athletic ability and played harder than anyone else on the floor. He was also an excellent leader and defender, which is why he was the 1998 National Defensive Player of the Year.

    The former Duke point guard had a special bond with Mike Krzyzewski, and that relationship has continued, as the two have coached together at Duke for the past 13 years. Being an assistant coach at Duke has also allowed "Wojo" to continue that great relationship with Duke fans.

    As a Duke fan, who have been some of your favorite Blue Devils? Leave your list in the comments section below.