Duke Basketball: Top 10 Moments of the Decade
The Duke Basketball program has been a staple of consistency over the past 10 years, victorious in 291 games during that span to become the decade's winningest program. During that time, Duke also won the 2001 National Championship and made an appearance in the 2004 Final Four.
Seven ACC Championship wins, six preseason tournament titles, and five 30-win seasons, to go along with four ACC regular-season titles, have helped the Devils lay claim to one of the most successful college basketball programs in the entire country over the past 10 years.
Players such as Jason Williams, Shane Battier, Chris Duhon, Luol Deng, JJ Redick, Shelden Williams, Dahntay Jones, Nate James, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy, and Corey Maggette have left their legacy on the Duke campus, and all have helped the program strive for greatness.
Under Coach Mike Krzyzewski, the Blue Devils boast their highest winning percentage over a ten year span this decade (.831).
With a program known for its excellence and winning, several key moments this decade stand out amongst the rest. Here are the top 10 moments of the 2000's, highlighted by spectacular plays, hard-working players, and the successes of several individuals.
No. 10: David McClure's Last Second Basket Robs Clemson of Win
David McClure earned his minutes at Duke by grabbing rebounds, getting steals, and bringing energy off the bench, while his teammates grabbed most of the headlines and attention.
On January 25, 2007, however, the attention was centered around McClure, as well as the clock-operators at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Clemson's Vernon Hamilton scored on a layup, cutting Duke's lead to 66-63 with 5.0 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Josh McRoberts' errant inbounds pass went directly to Hamilton, who drained a three-pointer as time ran down.
The clock, however, did not start when Hamilton touched the ball. In fact, it didn't even start until the ball was going through the cylinder to tie the game.
The referees confirmed that there were approximately 4.2 seconds remaining in the game and that Duke would inbound the ball once again for a last-second shot attempt.
McRoberts again inbounded the ball, this time to a wide open Jon Scheyer at half court. Scheyer then noticed that McClure was open under the basket. Instead of heaving up a long three-point attempt, he passed the ball to McClure in the post.
With one second left in the game, McClure went up for a lay-up, and as the buzzer sounded, the ball made its way through the hoop. The last-second shot robbed Clemson of a win, or at least a chance of winning, and put McClure's play in the highlight reel.
Controversial or not, the basket was a great play by a player who rarely received attention. Clemson fans are still upset about this call, but McClure used what time he was given to knock the Tigers off.
No. 9: Duke Makes Run to the 2004 NCAA Final Four
The Blue Devils reached the 2004 Final Four after a spectacular regular season. In the National semifinals, Duke faced the UConn Hukies for a place in the national championship game.
Duke was in control for most of the game and looked to have enough breathing room to move onto the final as they held an eight-point lead, 75-67, with less than three minutes remaining.
However, All-American Emeka Okafor, UConn's outstanding interior player, had other ideas.
Sitting most of the first half on the bench in foul trouble, Okafor came up with the most important points near the end of the game. His defensive pressure shut the Blue Devils down on one end and on the other end of the court he was scoring points—in bunches.
Okafor and UConn hit shots down the stretch and even had a 12-0 spurt in the closing seconds of the game. Duke gave up the lead late and was unable to fight their way back on top.
It was a hard-fought game, but UConn and Okafor rallied to a 79-78 win, a crushing loss for the Blue Devils.
It's difficult to experience a loss, but it's even more difficult to lose with the entire country watching, on the grandest of stages. Duke had an outstanding 2004 campaign, but had no championship to prove it.
The players on the 2004 team—specifically JJ Redick, Shelden Williams, Shavlik Randolph, Luol Deng, and Chris Duhon, each gave everything they had in the final game of the season.
That's why this Duke defeat, one of the toughest to digest for the Blue Devil faithful, is on this list of top moments for the decade. It may not be the best moment, but it definitely is not the worst.
No. 8: Coach K Leads USA Men's Basketball Team to Gold
During the summer, many people believe that the college coaches take some time off for vacationing, spending time with their families, and getting away from the stressful lifestyle that coaching may present.
Well, in the case of Coach Mike Krzyzewski this past summer, that assumption couldn't be any more wrong. That is, unless you count going to Beijing a vacation.
Over the past three or four summers, Coach K dedicated his time towards the development of the USA Men's Basketball team, along with finding the right personnel for the job.
Big names such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Deron Williams, Jason Kidd, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and Carlos Boozer, amongst others, pledged that they would commit to the national team, and most of the work done to recruit these high-profile players was done by Coach K himself.
Possessing a team full of talented and athletic players, Coach K began to work on plays and fundamentals with this team a couple of summers ago.
Team USA traveled to Beijing, China in the summer of 2008 to compete in the Olympic games, with Coach K leading the men on and off the court. Amid blowout wins and tight contests, Team USA found its way to the Gold Medal game versus a very talented Spain.
After the back-and-forth contest, Team USA was victorious, and each player who had given up four summers of his time to train with the team put his gold medal around Coach K's neck as a sign of respect.
Coach K had led the country's national team to their ultimate goal, the Olympic Gold Medal. Although this is not a Duke Basketball memory, it is one that every Blue Devil fan will remember.
Our coach, Coach K, led the country's top players to the highest level, and for that, the Duke Basketball program will forever be grateful. One of the top moments for Coach K was lived out this decade, and that was his dream to put Team USA back on top of the world.
No. 7: Henderson's Performance Against Belmont Signals His Arrival
Every Duke basketball fan knew that Gerald Henderson was going to be a star coming into college, they just didn't know what is was going to take for him to find his way into the "elite player" status.
I think that Henderson was listening to all the doubters entering Duke's first-round matchup with Belmont in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
Belmont, a No. 15 seed in the tournament, was a team firing on all cylinders heading into their contest against the Blue Devils, and it sure showed once the buzzer sounded for the game to begin.
Left and right, and up and down the court, every time Duke made a basket, Belmont answered with one of their own. As the clock wound down to two minutes, the game was still not decided.
At this point, many Duke fans probably turned off their televisions, computers and radios, all trying to avoid hearing the fate of the Blue Devils. They feared a repeat of the flat performance in the first-round the previous year that turned into an upset win for VCU.
What was even more surprising was that Belmont, which led 70-69 with 15.2 seconds remaining in the game, had never won an NCAA tournament game up to this point in its program's history.
This was the perfect time for Henderson to shine, and he did.
Taking the inbounds pass and going coast-to-coast for a lay-up with just under 12 seconds left in the game, Henderson put the Blue Devils ahead, 71-70. There was still enough time, however, for Belmont to get in one or two final shots.
A kicked ball out of bounds with about six seconds left gave the Bruins one last-second shot attempt. The inbounds pass was thrown into the post, but landed in the hands of Duke guard DeMarcus Nelson, whose steal sealed the game for the Devils.
Henderson's play near the end of the game, along with the 21 points he put up overall, gave Duke the win.
Although Duke fans weren't crazy with the one-point win over their Atlantic Sun Conference foe, they were excited to see how Henderson would perform the following season in Durham.
No. 6: Chris Duhon's Lay-Up in Overtime Beats UNC, 83-81
The No. 1 ranked team in the country, the Duke Blue Devils, traveled to Chapel Hill to face the No. 17 ranked Tar Heels in a rivalry game on March 2, 2004. The atmosphere of the Dean Dome was spectacular and the teams were prepared for a hard-fought game.
This game, like so many other Duke-UNC games, went down to the closing seconds, 13 to be exact.
Duke led 81-78 with just under 20 seconds remaining in the game. Rashad McCants, the Tar Heels most dangerous player at the time, received a pass at the top of the key with 13 seconds left in the game and drained a three-pointer that evened the score at 81-81.
Duke's last-second attempt was no good and the game moved into overtime.
Shelden Williams, one of the Blue Devils most dynamic defenders, blocked three shots during the extra time. He also forced a key turnover late that gave the ball back to Duke with 20 seconds left in the first overtime period.
After receiving the inbounds pass, Chris Duhon drove the length of the court and made a reverse lay-up with 6.5 seconds left, giving Duke the lead for good, 83-81.
It was one of the biggest plays in the rivalry up to this point, as Duhon scored the only points in extra time with only seconds left in the game. The last-second shot gave Duke its sixteenth straight win at the time, and crushed UNC's hopes of an upset.
It is a shot that UNC fans will relive in their heads from time to time, seeing Duhon flash by everyone on his way to the basket, with no one contesting the lay-up.
The Associated Press quoted Coach K after the game as saying, "I think you do it an injustice to say it was a great Duke-Carolina game,” he said. “It was a great game. You can’t match the intensity level.”
No. 5: JJ Redick Breaks ACC Scoring Mark Versus Temple
On February 5, 2006, JJ Redick entered the No. 1 ranked Blue Devils matchup with Temple at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia nine points shy of breaking a 51-year old ACC scoring mark.
Although Temple was not ranked, the Owls were always considered a dangerous team, and it showed when Duke had to battle Temple throughout a game in which Redick struggled from the field.
Shelden Williams carried most of the load for the Blue Devils, scoring 23 points and pulling down 12 rebounds, but at the end of the game, all of the attention was on Redick.
Not because he struggled to find his shot or that he played a very poor game, but that after consistently missing shot after shot he still had a chance to break the record near the end of the game.
After being fouled with 1:28 left in the game, Redick walked up to the free throw line, prepared to pass the 51 year old record. After sinking the first, he had tied the scoring mark.
The crowd grew excited and anxious, ready to explode if he made the next.
Redick did just that, breaking the ACC scoring mark and writing his name in the record books at both Duke and in the ACC. The Wachovia Center crowd gave Redick a standing ovation, and his teammates cheered him on when he walked off the court.
The Temple Owls, Duke fans, and the entire country witnessed history on that day.
Although Redick's scoring mark was just broken last year by Tyler Hansborough from UNC, every Duke fan will treasure the time that their player, JJ Redick, wrote his name into the basketball record books.
This record set by Redick was one of the biggest, if not biggest, accomplishments by one individual Duke player over the entire decade.
No. 4: 2003 ACC Championship Win Caps Fifth Straight for Duke
The Duke Blue Devils defeated the North Carolina State Wolfpack, 84-77, to win the ACC Championship for a record fifth straight time.
The Blue Devils' Daniel Ewing was named the tournament's MVP, and Duke continued its dominance of the Wolfpack by defeating them in the title match for the second year in a row.
Duke, seeded No. 3, was the dominant team throughout the tournament, which was held at the Greensboro Coliseum. They defeated Virginia 86-73 in the quarterfinals, beat rival UNC 75-63 in the semifinals, and then took care of the Wolfpack in the finals.
In 1999, the first year of their five-title streak, Duke easily dismantled Virginia 104-67, dominated a decent NC State squad 83-68, and crushed their rival Tar Heels, 96-73 in the finals.
Elton Brand was the MVP of the tournament for Duke. The 1999 team went a perfect 16-0 in conference play before losing to the UConn Huskies in the National Championship Game.
During the 2000 ACC Championship, Jason Williams led the way for Duke as they easily defeated Clemson, Wake Forest, and Maryland to win their second consecutive ACC title.
Jason Williams was named the tournament's MVP, and Coach K collected his fifth ACC Championship ring.
In Duke's magical National Championship season of 2001, the Blue Devils defeated NC State, Maryland and UNC on their way to winning the tournament for the third consecutive year.
Shane Battier took home the 2001 Tournament MVP award.
For the first time in Duke's history, the Blue Devils had to go through all three of their in-state rivals to win the 2002 ACC Championship. First up for Duke was UNC in the quarterfinals, and the Blue Devils pulled out a 60-48 win.
Next up was Wake Forest, who did a poor job on defense in losing to Duke by 25 points. In the ACC Finals, Duke met the Wolfpack from NC State who were looking to follow up their upset victory over Maryland in the semifinals.
The Wolfpack proved to be no test for Duke, as the Devils won by a 30-point margin, 91-61. This was the fourth consecutive year that Duke had won the ACC Championship, and would follow their four-peat with a fifth and final in a row the next year before falling to Maryland in the finals in 2004.
This was a magical five-year run for Duke, and will be remembered as one of the top five years for an ACC team in the conference's history.
No. 3. Sean Dockery's Miracle Shot Knocks off Virginia Tech
After putting on a great performance against the Blue Devils in Cameron Indoor Stadium, Virginia Tech had to like its chances here as Duke trailed with 1.6 seconds remaining and had to inbound from the opposite end of the court.
In what looked like a flashback of the Grant Hill to Christian Laettner shot that knocked off Kentucky at the buzzer in the NCAA Tournament, Josh McRoberts fed an inbounds pass to Sean Dockery near halfcourt.
Dockery then turned around and shot a 45-foot three-pointer. As time expired and the final buzzer sounded, the ball went through the hoop, giving Duke a huge 77-75 buzzer-beater victory over a pesky Hokies team.
The shot actually took place right on the "Coach K Court" decal that is near half-court, a miracle heave that hit nothing but net and squashed Virginia Tech's upset bid.
After the game, when asked about the shot, Dockery answered saying, "I knew I had plenty of time. I had confidence in the shot and I knocked it down."
The Josh McRoberts to Sean Dockery buzzer-beater will forever be remembered by Duke fans, many of whom can recall their exact reaction when the shot went through the net.
To watch this outstanding buzzer-beater, go to this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ble-FkY5ji0
No. 2: The Miracle Minute
After holding a 90-80 lead with just one minute remaining in the game, the Maryland Terrapins thought that they were on their way to upsetting Duke.
However,Jason Williams and Duke had different plans.
Once Williams received the inbounds pass in Duke's defensive end, he drove the length of the court, made several Terrapin defenders miss on steal attempts, and banked in a lay-up that cut the lead to eight, 90-82.
On the ensuing possession, Duke stepped it up on defense, stealing the ball after it was inbounded to a Maryland player near the sideline and pushed the ball back up court.
Jason Williams rose up for a three-pointer and buried a very difficult shot to cut the lead down to five, 90-85, with just over 30 seconds left in regulation.
In a replay-type situation, the Blue Devils again forced the Terrapinss to inbound the ball to a player near the sidelines, thus giving Duke the opportunity to double-team the player and go for a steal.
They were once again successful in causing a turnover, and again Jason Williams buried another thee-pointer to cut the lead now down to only two, 90-88.
Duke went back to a man-to-man defense, trying to cause a turnover so that they would have one last look at a shot that would either even the game or give Duke a huge comeback victory.
The strategy worked, as the Terrapins had lost their mental edge from just one minute ago and turned the ball over after a reckless possession.
Mike Dunleavy's three-point attempt was off the mark with under 10 seconds remaining, but Nate James was fouled after trying to grab the offensive rebound. In a prssure-packed situation, James knocked both shots down from the charity line, evening the game at 90.
In overtime, it was all about Duke. They went on to win the game and crush the Terrapins' hopes of a huge conference win.
This one minute time span is regarded by most as "The Miracle Minute." This top moment in Duke basketball is also regarded as one of the top moments in all of basketball as well.
No. 1: Duke Tops Arizona to Win 2001 National Championship
The top moment of the decade for Duke Basketball has to belong to the Blue Devils' 2001 National Championship team. From the players to the coaches, and from the fans to the media commentators, every person was touched by this group of players in some way, shape, or form.
The 2001 season was, "a dream come true for the men in blue."
Highlighting the class of talented men on the roster was Shane Battier.
Battier had one of the greatest college basketball careers of anyone during his four years at Duke. Studying under Coach K, Battier recognized his role on the young Duke team, and under his leadership, the team excelled in all areas.
He was the final player remaining from the 1997 recruiting class that featured Elton Brand, William Avery, and Corey Maggette. All three of the above mentioned players left Duke early to play in the NBA. That was not, however, the way Battier wanted to leave his mark on Duke.
He returned for his fourth and final season at Duke with high hopes and a very talented group of young players. Amongst those on the team were Chris Duhon, Jason Williams, Dahntay Jones, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Nate James, and Carlos Boozer.
A team full of NBA talent, yes, but could this team set aside their differences and work together as a team?
That question, along with many others, were quickly answered by the Duke squad themselves.
Meshing together nicely and proving they could be lethal at both the offensive and defensive ends, the team was destined for greatness from the beginning.
However, there were some bumps in the road along the way.
One of the greatest comeback victories in all of sports occurred on January 27, 2001.
The game featured No. 2 Duke vs No. 8 Maryland for their first of four games during the 2001 season.
The Duke Blue Devils trailed the Maryland Terrapins by 10 points with just 54 seconds remaining on the clock. Jason Williams had one of the greatest 13-second scoring bursts in the history of basketball, scoring eight points over that time including two three-pointers.
Nate James then tied the game by hitting two clutch free throws down the stretch, extending the game into overtime and crushing the Terrapins hopes and dreams in the time-span of one minute.
Thus, "The Miracle Minute" was born.
During OT, Duke made several clutch baskets on offense and shut down Maryland on the defensive end. One of the most spectacular defensive plays of the night was when Battier blocked Juan Dixon's lay-up with just over a second left in the game, preserving Duke's huge comeback win.
Many believed that this win would give the Blue Devils new found confidence when they faced their arch rival UNC in their next game. Those people, however, were wrong.
UNC got the best of Duke in a 85-83 thriller, a loss that seemed to crush the Blue Devils at the time. However, they bounced back and went on to win several key ACC games down the stretch.
The most horrifying game of the season for Duke was the one against Maryland on Shane Battier's Senior Night. Carlos Boozer injured his foot and left the game, and the Terps finally got a win against Duke that season. The Devils' luck seemed to have run out.
With Boozer out, Coach K decided to go with a smaller, yet faster, starting lineup. The move saw Chris Duhon switch to point guard and Jason Williams to shooting guard. This propelled Duke to six straight victories, which included winning the ACC Championship and making it to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Carlos Boozer then made his return to the team, giving Duke another key piece of the puzzle it needed for the championship run.
In the East Regional Finals, Duke defeated the USC Trojans 79-69, placing the Blue Devils in the NCAA Final Four. Their next opponent—the Maryland Terrapins, a team that had already played Duke three times that season.
The previous game occurred in the ACC Championship Semifinals, a game in which Duke won by a score of 84-82 on a last second tip-in by Nate James. The fourth and final game between the two schools, however, would be the most interesting of them all.
Maryland came out firing against the Blue Devil defense, taking a commanding 39-17 lead with just under seven minutes to play in the first half. Duke made a run towards the end of the half, but the Terps still led at halftime, 49-38.
Coach K must have really fired the guys up during halftime, because after the second half was underway, the Devils never looked back.
Turning in their second great comeback against Maryland on the season, Duke won by a score of 95-84.
The 22-point deficit at one point in the game and the 11-point half time deficit are the largest in Final Four history by the winning team.
The final test for Duke—the fifth ranked Arizona Wildcats, led by Gilbert Arenas, Richard Jefferson, and coach Lute Olson.
Duke took early control of the game, but Arizona continued to make strong runs to keep the game interesting. Under the leadership of Arenas, the Wild Cats stormed back to nearly even the game with only a few minutes left. The Blue Devils never relinquished the lead, however, and won by a convincing score of 82-72.
The double-digit win in the final made the the 2001 Blue Devils the first Duke team to win every NCAA tournament game by 10 points or more.
The 2001 National Player of the Year awards' were swept up by Duke players Shane Battier and Jason Williams.
Battier won the AP National Player of the Year Award, the Oscar Robertson Trophy, the Wooden Award, the Naismith Award, the Adolph Rupp Award, and the NABC Defensive Player of the Year.
Jason Williams received the NABC Player of the Year award.
There was also a pattern between Duke's 1992 and 2001 NCAA Championship victories—the road to the championship went from Greensboro to Philadelphia to Minneapolis.
The 2001 Duke basketball season is one for the ages. Although the Blue Devils' lost their way at times throughout the year, they always came back with more intensity and passion for the game.
The championship run in 2001 is the moment of the decade that will be treasured by all Duke fans for years to come; that is, of course, until we get that fourth NCAA championship.