Every program has unpredictable players. Whether it’s on or off the court, college athletes will do things that people don’t expect.
Unpredictability can be good or bad. An unpredictable player is difficult for the opposition to prepare for. An unpredictable player is also difficult to depend on.
The Duke basketball program is no different. Certain Blue Devils have been unpredictable because of their incredible ability to do anything on the court, while others have been unpredictable due to their inconsistency.
The following list looks at the five most unpredictable players in Duke history.
Erik Meek joined the Blue Devils during a period when Duke was the preeminent program in college basketball.
During the first three years of Meek’s college career, the Blue Devils won the 1992 National Championship and were the runners-up in 1994.
Meek only played limited minutes during his freshman and sophomore seasons but had a more expanded role as a junior and senior. He showed flashes of being a productive post player at Duke but never established a level of consistency.
The five-game stretch during Meek’s senior season when he scored 11, zero, 14, seven and five points perfectly sums up how unpredictable he was.
Corey Maggette only spent one season at Duke before declaring for the NBA draft, but it was an incredibly exciting year.
Maggette came off the bench as a member of the 1998-99 Blue Devils team that went 37-2 and finished as the national runner-up to UConn.
It wasn’t Maggette’s production that made him unpredictable, but it was the way he produced that made him one of Duke’s most exciting and unpredictable players.
The 6’6”, 215-pound forward was explosive when he attacked the rim and nearly unstoppable in transition, which often led to some amazing highlight-reel dunks.
When he began his college career, no one would have predicted Dahntay Jones would wind up being a Blue Devil.
He played two seasons for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights before transferring to Duke.
Similar to Corey Maggette, Jones was a phenomenal athlete who could leave people in awe when he attacked the basket.
His dunk on the road against Virginia over 6’10” Nick Vander Laan is one of the nastiest slams you’ll ever see.
Jones was also a streaky outside shooter and it was tough to ever predict when he’d get hot from the perimeter.
Miles Plumlee was one of the most athletic big men to ever play at Duke.
At 6’10”, 245 pounds, he had a unique combination of size, speed and leaping ability. He was measured at the 2012 NBA Draft combine as having a 40.5 inch vertical jump.
Despite his raw athleticism, Plumlee was never able to translate that into consistent results on the court.
He had the potential to be an unbelievable rebounder, which he showed during his senior year when he pulled down 22 boards in a game against Maryland.
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, there were also many games where he made a minimal impact.
Andre Dawkins has been the very definition of unpredictable during his career at Duke. Based on his circumstances, it’s understandable.
Dawkins arrived at Duke a year early when he bypassed his final year of high school eligibility to join the 2009-10 Blue Devils. His arrival provided an unexpected lift for the team and he helped provide instant offense for a team that went on to win the 2010 National Championship.
However, tragedy also struck Dawkins during his freshman year when his sister was killed in a car accident while on her way to watch Andre and the Blue Devils play.
The emotional struggles Dawkins went through following the loss of his sister took a toll on him mentally as well as how he performed on the court. He had incredible shooting range, but he was also one of the streakiest players in college basketball.
After redshirting last season and taking time to grieve his sister’s death, Dawkins announced he would be returning to the team for the 2013-14 season.
Many fans are optimistic that he will provide instant offense and valuable experience for the team, but he remains a major x-factor and one of the most unpredictable aspects of the upcoming season.
Who are some of the other most unpredictable players in Duke history? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.