When you think of a Duke point guard, Bobby Hurley should be one of the first names to roll off the tongue.
He played in the era when Duke officially became establish as a force to be reckoned with in college basketball, under Mike Krzyzewski.
In recognition of this, Duke will be inducting him into their Sports Hall of Fame on September 9.
To look at Hurley back in the day, "basketball player" did not immediately spring to mind. As Rick Talender points out in a piece for Sports Illustrated back in 1992.
Telander was doing a writeup on Hurley who had been selected, along with Grant Hill, Chris Webber, Allan Houston, Jamal Mashburn and Eric Montross, the best college players at that time, to test the original Dream Team.
One of the immediate assessments of the Duke point guard was that he was not very big at 6', 165 pounds. Indeed on YouTube, you can see Hurley has a kind of physical vulnerability about him, until the game starts.
Once the balls started bouncing Hurley was a walking bulletin board for the saying "it's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog."
No matter what he accomplished he always worked on his game. Hurley was not born a basketball player in the mold of his peers like Hill, Webber or Jalen Rose. Athletic guys that can catch alley-oops at their waist and still finish.
He accomplished just as much or even more than most of them in college basketball despite his limitations.
Everything Hurley accomplished he had to work hard for, a discipline ingrained by his high school coach and father, Bob Hurley, Sr.
"I think I'm constantly looking for ways to improve," he told Telander back in 1992, "to prevent myself from being complacent. At times I'm my own worst enemy, but because I'm a point guard, a lot of the team's success depends on how I play, so I have to keep pushing myself."
Indeed he was a great example of a leader. He started from day one for Mike Krzyzewski. He played in three national championship games.
Lost one badly to UNLV then won the next two, avenging the UNLV loss on the way, beating a great Michigan Wolverine team in one finals then Kansas in the next.
In his last year, with Cherokee Parks substituting for a graduated Christian Laettner, they only made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
That must have stung due to Hurley being a fierce competitor, but he did set the NCAA record for most total assists, 1,076. Hurley scored a total of 1,731 points and stole the ball 206 times during his four years at Duke.
"Bobby not only played great defense but but he pushed the ball down the court better than any college guard I have ever seen," says Coach Krzyzewski who will also be inducted into the Duke Sports Hall of fame the same time as Hurley.
"I think Bobby can go down as one of the great point guards in the history of our game," Continued Coach K. "For me it was an honor to coach him."
"I didn’t call many plays for Hurley, I let him follow his instincts and those instincts led us to two national championships,"
Hurley set the tone for New Jersey point guards attending Duke. Jason Williams won a championship with Duke in 2001 and Kyrie Irving just got drafted first overall by Cleveland Cavaliers after only one year in Durham.
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