Duke Basketball: Carlos Boozer and the Top 25 Blue Devils NBA Stars of All Time
For a collegiate power such as Duke is, it is strange to think that they have so few good players in NBA history. That may be a testament to Coach K or his system, but the face plants that befall many Duke players in the NBA is undeniable. However, the NBA is a very difficult league to make it in, especially with all of the talent in college basketball, so we can't blame some players for not making it.
25. Dahntay Jones (2003-Present)
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Career: 6.0 points, 1.9 rebounds, 0.9 assists; 8 seasons
As much as it amazes me that Dahntay Jones is still in the league, he managed to force his way onto the list because of the niche he found with the Indiana Pacers last season.
Although his career numbers are quite unimpressive, last season he managed to score 10 points per game while pulling down three rebounds and dishing out two assists per game.
Alas, Jones has slipped back into mediocrity this season averaging 6.0 points per game and 1.5 rebounds.
24. Shelden Williams (2006-Present)
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Career Stats: 4.4 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game, 0.4 assists; 5 seasons
The former NCAA Defensive Player of the Year and All-American has had virtually no "success" in the NBA. He really hasn't found a way to get in the game thus far in his career, bouncing around to multiple teams including the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks.
Williams has a ways to go to improve on this list as he's currently stuck behind Amare Stoudemire on the Knicks.
23. Mark Alarie (1986-1991)
Career: 7.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists; 5 seasons
Alarie was a first-round draft pick by the Denver Nuggets after being named a 3rd team All-American at Duke. His fourth season was by far his best, averaging 10.5 points and 4.6 rebounds for the Washington Bullets.
However, Alarie was forced to retire the next season because of recurring knee injuries.
22. Cherokee Parks (1995-2004)
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Career: 4.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 0.6 assists; 9 seasons
Parks was selected with the 12th pick overall by the Dallas Mavericks in 1995. He jumped all around the league during his career, playing for seven different teams while in the league.
His best season came for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1997-98 when he averaged 7.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
21. Randy Denton (1971-1977)
ABA Career: 12.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists; 5 seasons
NBA Career: 5.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.7 apg; 1 season
Denton was a big-haired big man in the ABA, but had much more limited success in his 45 games in the NBA.
Denton's hair was much more of a calling card than his game, and is rumored to be the inspiration behind Will Ferrell's hair in the movie Semi-Pro.
20. J.J. Redick (2006-Present)
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Career: 7.7 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists; 5 seasons
A former NCAA Player of the Year, Redick got off to a slow start in the NBA. However, he's slowly become a solid contributor for the Orlando Magic.
The past two seasons, Redick has improved in most statistical categories and has made himself a role player off the bench for the Magic, mainly as a shooter. He may move up the list by the end of his career.
19. Danny Ferry (1990-2003)
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Career: 7.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists; 13 seasons
One of Duke's historically best players, Ferry was a 1st Team All-American while playing for Coach K.
Ferry was originally drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Clippers, but instead of playing for the Clippers, he went overseas and played in Italy for a season.
After the Clippers traded his rights to the Cavaliers, Ferry returned and played in Cleveland for ten seasons before signing with the San Antonio Spurs. Ferry had his best season in Cleveland, averaging 13.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in the 1995-96 season.
Ferry is currently the vice president of basketball operations for the San Antonio Spurs
18. Bob Verga (1967-1974)
ABA: 21.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.1 assists; 6 seasons
NBA: 5.0 ppg, 0.9 apg, 0.8 apg
If nothing else Bob Verga's career showed the difference between the ABA and the NBA.
Verga was a monster in the ABA, averaging over 20 points per game in his career. This included a season where he averaged 27.5 points per game and made the All-Star team while playing for the Carolina Cougars.
In the NBA, he only played 21 games before calling it quits.
17. Chris Duhon (2004-Present)
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Career: 7.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 4.9 apg; 7 seasons
Duhon was one of the best point guards in Duke's history, but he's only found limited success in the NBA. Originally drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 2004, Duhon has played for Chicago, the New York Knicks and now for the Orlando Magic.
Duhon's best years were with New York. In his first season as the starting point guard for the Knicks, Duhon averaged 11.1 points per game and 7.2 assists per game. That season included a game versus the Golden State Warriors in which Duhon recorded 22 assists, a Knicks record.
16. Jim Spanarkel (1979-1984)
Career: 9.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.2 apg; 5 seasons
In college, Spanarkel was a 1st Team All-American and Duke's first 2,000-point scorer.
Spanarkel began his career with the Philadelphia 76ers after being drafted 16th overall in the 1979 draft. After one season in Philadelphia, he played four seasons for the Dallas Mavericks. In the 1980-81 season, he lead the Mavericks in scoring, putting in 14.4 points per game.
15. Mike Lewis (1968-1974)
ABA Career: 12.1 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 3.0 apg; 6 seasons
Lewis never played in the NBA, but his professional career did include an impressive couple of years in the ABA.
He averaged a career double-double and made an appearance in the 1971 ABA All-Star Game. Three games into his sixth season, Lewis retired.
14. Art Heyman (1963-1970)
ABA Career: 15.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.1 apg; 3 seasons
NBA Career: 10.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.4 apg; 3 seasons
Art Heyman was different than some of the ABA players on this list. Heyman played in the NBA first, and did fairly well his rookie season. He averaged 15.4 points per game and added 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists. After that season, however, he just couldn't piece together a full season in the NBA and he left for the ABA.
In the ABA he also had some success, posting 18.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in his rookie campaign in that league. But like in the NBA, he couldn't keep it up and retired after three seasons in that league as well.
13. Shane Battier (2001-Present)
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Career: 9.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.0 apg; 10 seasons
Battier was the NCAA Player of the Year in College, but he's been less than spectacular in his time as a professional. He was drafted with the sixth pick overall in the 2001 draft by the Memphis Grizzlies.
Battier's rookie season was easily his best, posting 14.4 points and 5.4 rebounds. After his rookie season, he became more of a role player for his teams and he currently plays for Memphis after being traded at the most recent trade deadline by the Houston Rockets.
12. Gene Banks (1981-1987)
Career: 11.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.9 apg; 5 seasons
Banks's career in the NBA was somewhat inconsistent. He managed to show some promise in his second season, scoring 14.9 points and grabbing 7.6 rebounds per game, but after that season he really didn't perform as well and ended up leaving the league after four more seasons.
Banks is currently an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards.
11. Johnny Dawkins (1986-1995)
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Career: 11.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 5.5 assists; 9 seasons
Another one of Duke's greats, Dawkins had a tenured career in the NBA.
Dawkins' best seasons came at the beginning of his career. For a four- or five-year span, Dawkins was putting up between 14 and 15 points per game and around seven assists per game.
However, toward the end of his time in Philadelphia, Dawkins' play began to decrease and he eventually left to work for the Duke athletic department before joining the coaching staff in 1998.
Dawkins is currently the head coach at Stanford University.
10. Mike Dunleavy (2002-Present)
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Career: 12.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.5 apg; 9 seasons
Dunleavy's career has been full of ups and downs, but the main thing I can say about it is inconsistency. He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the 3rd-overall pick in 2002.
His rookie season saw him score 5.5 points per game, but he followed the next season posting 11.7 points per game. He's hovered around there for the majority of his career until the past couple of years when his numbers have dipped.
9. Mike Gminski (1980-1994)
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Career: 11.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.3 assists
Gminski's career was one of the most consistent out of any Duke players in the NBA. For five straight seasons he averaged 16 or 17 points per game while increasing his rebounds from 7.8 to 10.0, averaging a double-double in the 1987-88 season.
Gminski was never an All-Star, but he was a consistent player that helped the Nets go to the playoffs for the first five years of his career.
8. Christian Laettner (1992-2005)
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Career: 12.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.6 apg; 13 seasons
Laettner hit the shot that many would consider the greatest in Duke history, but his NBA career really didn't live up to what he did in college. Drafted with the 3rd-overall pick in the draft, Laettner was highly touted coming out of his spectacular college career.
In the beginning of his career he managed to live up to expectations, averaging around 16 points per game. Then, in his 1996-97 season, Laettner made an All-Star game, which turned out to be the turning point in his career.
The year after his All-Star appearance, he averaged 13.2 points per game and that was the highest he would score for the rest of his time in the NBA. His stats slowly declined as he was shipped around the league and eventually, in 2005, after averaging 5.3 points and 2.7 rebounds, he retired.
7. Jack Marin (1966-1977)
Career: 14.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.1 apg
Marin's career in the NBA was definitely noteworthy. He steadily improved his stats while playing for Baltimore for the first five seasons, and in his sixth season he obtained an All-Star bid while averaging 22.3 points and 6.8 boards per game.
He received another All-Star bid the next year while playing for Houston, but his stats weren't quite as impressive. Like so many after him, Marin's stats began to fall after those two seasons and he started team hopping. After 11 good seasons, Marin retired with Chicago.
6. Luol Deng (2004-Present)
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Career: 16.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.2 apg
Deng only played one year at Duke, but he was drafted 7th overall by the Suns who immediately traded him to the Bulls. Deng hasn't been an All-Star by any means, but he's put up really consistent numbers.
His role with the Bulls is not and has not been to be the star, so he hasn't needed to put up the stats that many people expect out of a first-round pick. His best season was in the 2006-07 season when he averaged 18.8 points and 7.6 rebounds.
Now he's the third option on the Bulls and has been averaging 17.8 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game and Chicago is headed toward being a power in the NBA.
5. Corey Maggette (1999-Present)
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Career: 16.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.1 apg; 11 seasons
Maggette may be one of the more underrated players that Duke has ever produced. Despite never receiving any attention for his efforts, he managed to be one of the best players on the Clippers for a couple of consecutive seasons.
In fact, Maggette has averaged more than 20 points per game three times in his career, but it was all with the Clippers so no one really noticed. His 22.2 points per game in 2004-05 was a career high, but his consistency was proved when he almost repeated the task three years later by scoring 22.1 points per game in 2007-08.
He's still in the league and although he's not producing and it looks like he may be on the downturn of his career, but he's still a contributing member of the Milwaukee Bucks.
4. Jeff Mullins (1964-1976)
Career: 16.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.8 apg; 12 seasons
Mullins was much like Maggette, but he was much more recognized because he was more consistent. For four straight seasons he averaged over 20 points per game and almost six rebounds. He was an All-Star in the league for three straight years while playing for the San Francisco Warriors.
Once San Francisco changed their name to Golden State he didn't do as well, but he still managed to put together some solid seasons until his last two, when he scored 8.2 points and 4.8 points per game before he retired.
3. Carlos Boozer (2002-Present)
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Career: 17.4 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.5 apg; 9 seasons
Boozer's career path was much different than many of the Duke players on this list. He wasn't the most prolific player while at Duke, but has emerged as a star in the NBA. His rookie season for the Utah Jazz he only scored 10 points per game.
Once Deron Williams became the point for the Jazz, Boozer really started to come out of his shell. He had already increased his production, but once Boozer and Williams started gelling, he became an All-Star and started scoring 20 points per game.
He also won a gold medal in the 2008 Olympic Games with the USA team and a bronze in the 2004 games.
Now playing for the Bulls, he's taken a backseat to Derrick Rose, but he is still a dominant post presence.
2. Elton Brand (1998-Present)
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Career: 19.0 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.4 apg; 12 seasons
Elton Brand only edges out Carlos Boozer on this list because he's had more consistency. Brand was an instant success, posting almost identical numbers his first two seasons in Chicago (20.1 ppg, 10.1 and 10.0 rpg).
Brand also has two All-Star appearances separated by four years (2002 and 2006). His consistent play, although not great, was still enough to earn him a lucrative contract from the Clippers.
Now, it seems age is catching up to him since his move to Philadelphia. He's scored 13.8, 13.1 and 15.3 points per game in his three seasons and he may be on his way out of the league in the next few years. However, he will go down as one of the better Duke players to ever play.
1. Grant Hill (1994-Present)
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Career: 17.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.4 apg; 16 seasons
Grant Hill has a long and illustrious NBA career and has managed to be a consistent contributor to whoever he plays for.
Hill is a seven-time All-Star, one-time All-NBA and he was co-Rookie of the Year in the 1994-95 season.
While he was in Detroit the first six years of his career, he averaged 20 points a game each season he played and made the All-Star game five of his six years.
In Orlando, he got injured so much that many people thought his career may be over. He made an All-Star game the year after he left Detroit only because of name recognition despite only playing four games. Once he fully recovered though, there was a resurgence as he averaged 19.7 points that season.
Now in Phoenix, he's not producing like he used to and he's obviously getting old, but he's currently helping the Suns make a late run for the playoffs.
He's obviously the best Duke player because of the beginning of his career and his ability to return after what was almost a retirement due to injury.