Duke Basketball: Ranking the Top 13 Dunkers in Blue Devils History

Ro ShiellAnalyst IJune 27, 2011

Duke Basketball: Ranking the Top 13 Dunkers in Blue Devils History

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    Duke had a reputation of preferring the most efficient play rather than the spectacular.

    Take the charge rather than try to block the shot, which is more highly likely to draw a foul. Lay the ball in rather than exert too much energy on a rim rocking dunk. Boring but it wins games.

    For the average college basketball player dunking is as easy as putting on their shorts. Uncontested, it is easy.

    The trick is trying to dunk with a defender chasing at your heels on the fast break or against a zone defense. This takes courage.

    A spectacular dunk fires up the team and starts a run to blow a game wide open or bring the score even.

    Over the years a number of menacing sky walkers have changed Duke's outlook. This is a tribute to them.

    Sincere apologies to all the guys that played in the '80s and and beyond as not many are featured.

Kyle Singler

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    Kyle Singler just fell to the second round of the NBA 2011 draft because, among other things, he is feared to be not extremely athletic. As if everyone in the NBA is "extremely" athletic.

    The Dallas Mavericks just beat the most athletic team in the NBA for the championship featuring players like Jason Kidd, who hardly seems to jump, and a 5'11" JJ Barea.

    If athleticism was that important, Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks would be the best player in the world. Gerald Green, 2007 slam dunk competition winner and runner up in 2008 would not be currently playing in Russia if being if being incredible athletic was that important.

    The Duke senior has an uphill battle to prove that he belongs in the NBA, but while he was in Durham he had his share of athletic plays and will be remembered as a warrior.

    He is not as spectacular as some of the guys on the top end of this list, but he made some big plays nonetheless.

Marty Pocius

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    The Lithuanian guard was unfortunate to be at Duke the same time as JJ Redick, but he had his moments.

    Currently the 6'5" graduate is doing very well professionally, but it is a shame we did not see more of this freakishly athletic guard while he was at Duke.

    A nagging ankle injury slowed him down while he was in college, but he has gone on to do great things playing for his national team.

    Pocius was instrumental in leading Lithuania to the bronze medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey. The very same tournament where Kevin Durant lead USA to the gold medal.

    Pocius has carved out a respectable career for himself in Europe and after the bronze medal finish, he is a national hero.

Carlos Boozer

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    Playing with Jason Williams was bound to create a lot of opportunities for for some raucous dunks and Boozer had his share; sadly they are just not isolated on YouTube.

    Boozer stayed three years at Duke and won one championship in 2001. Could have been a repeat performance if the 6'9" forward had gone for a dunk instead of a lay up in the closing moments of the 2002 NCAA tournament where they lost to Indiana by a point.

    Boozer has represented Duke very well as a professional, making two All-Star appearances and recently returning the Chicago Bulls to prominence.

Gene Banks

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    This 6'7" forward finished his Duke career in 1978 and averaged 18 points and seven rebounds his senior year. 

    This guy was arguably the original dunk master at Duke.

     He was a second-round pick with the San Antonio Spurs and he stayed with them four years.

    The 1982-1983 season was his best season where he averaged 15 points and eight rebounds as a Spur.

     Banks graduated from Duke with a degree in history and was the leading scorer in the ACC his senior year.

    As of 2009 he was the big man coach for the Washington Wizards.

    Banks is currently the eighth all-time Duke leading scorer.

Josh McRoberts

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    McRoberts' freshman season, playing with JJ Reddick and Shelden Williams, was a carefree dunkfest.

    Without the shackles of leadership the 6'10" forward was free to roam the baseline patiently waiting for a Greg Paulus lob, which he would finish with an emphatic slam.

    McRoberts stayed three seasons at Duke and is now a member of the Indiana Pacers.

Jonny Dawkins

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    Duke's second all-time leading scorer and the current Standford head basketball coach has some onions on him.

    Check out the dunk above. How many 6'2" players would be brave enough to do a reverse jam with a defender that close?

    Dawkins appeared in 133 games for Duke between 1982 and 1986 with averages of 19.2 points, four rebounds and 4.2 assists per contest.

Demarcus Nelson

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    Demarcus Nelson is a 6'4" power player. During his time with the Blue Devils he played up to four positions, including power forward.

    The former ACC defensive player of the year, last played for Duke as a senior in 2008. He went undrafted in the NBA, and although he had a few opportunities with a few teams including Golden State Warriors, it just wasn't his time.

    He is currently playing in France.

Nolan Smith

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    Nolan Smith just wrapped up a great career at Duke, highlighted by the 2010 NCAA championship.

    The 6'3" guard played the game with great enthusiasm and had numerous highlight but none more spectacular than a defender chasing him on the fast break only to be embarrassed by Smith's patented one-handed tomahawk.

    You have to wonder if none of these guys ever read a scouting report, because it happened almost every game!

    Smith was just drafted 21st by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2011 NBA draft.

Dahntay Jones

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    First Duke transfer, under Mike Krzyzewski, Jones was just as unfortunate as Seth Curry to have Duke win a championship during the year he had to sit out.

    Maybe Coach K should have a player transfer every year in that case as Curry was the second transfer!

    Jones was the leader after the remnants of that 2001 title team defected to the NBA in 2002.

    In 2003 the 6'6" Rutgers transfer was the senior captain of a team made up of six remarkable freshmen: Michael Thompson, Lee Melchionni, Shavlik Randolph, JJ Redick, Sean Dockery and Shelden Williams.

    Jones led by example, hustling and dunking his way to 17 points a game, which eventually saw him drafted 20th in the 2003 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics.

    Jones is currently a member of the Indiana pacers along with other past Duke players, Mike Dunleavy Jr and Josh McRoberts.

Corey Maggette

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    As a freshman, Maggette spent one memorable year at Duke. He played with a chip on his shoulder and looked to throw it down at every opportunity.

    The 6'6" guard averaged 10 points in 17 minutes a game even though he had a very erratic freshman season.

    He was selected 13th by the now defunct Seattle Supersonics in 1999. He has carved a solid career for himself but what if he had stayed another year at Duke?

Robert Brickey

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    Currently an assistant coach with Duke women's basketball, Brickey was a Duke captain in 1990 where he averaged just under 12 points and five rebounds.

    The 6'5" forward is said to be the first "high flyer" under Mike Krzyzewski.

Gerald Henderson

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    When this kid first came to Duke it was obvious that he loved dunking but he was unco-ordinated and susceptible to travel violations or charges.

    Flash forward to his sophomore year, he added a beautiful mid range jumper, got his foot work sorted and became a menace to defenders.

    After averaging 16 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists, the Duke junior had the unfortunate luck to be drafted by a team owned and coached by a Tar Heel. Michael Jordan still owns the Charlotte Bobcats, but Larry Brown has since left.

    Henderson's NBA career is anything but rosy, but he is still with the Bobcats and will be expected to contribute more next season, if the potential NBA lockout does not happen.

    As for his time at Duke, Henderson has dunked with a ferocity that has not been seen at Duke in a long time.

    He would be the best dunker if it was for the next guy and the era he played in.

Grant Hill

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    In the early 1990s, two teams dominated college basketball due to the excitement they brought. Fist the UNLV Running Rebels and later Michigan State Wolverines better known as the Fab Five.

    Both these teams were insanely athletic.

    UNLV featured Larry "Gran Mama" Johnson and Stacy "Plastic Man" Augman. Michigan featured Chris Webber and Jalen Rose.

    Grant Hill was Duke's antidote to all those guys because he was just as freakishly athletic—if not more—and was able to keep those guys in check.

    In an era when the game went airborne, Hill took Duke to new heights with Bobby Hurley available to throw some incredible ally-oop passes.

    He is one of the greatest dunkers of that era, when baggy shorts, hip hop and "swagger" all became a part of college basketball culture even though he did not follow trend.