Continuing our countdown, by the numbers, we have the Top 5 players who earned their spots with an even higher level of accomplishments, earning them points.
Just to remind you, Ro came up with a brilliant idea of giving each player points for certain accomplishments. He assigned a point value to everything a player could be part of, be awarded, and other accolades he could earn.
All of these players won All American and All Conference honours. They all garnered points for making appearances in the Big Dance right on thru to the Final Four.
So, here is the 2nd installment, here are
Duke’s Top 5 Players Under Coach K … By the Numbers:
#5 – Shelden Williams
Shelden is the next player on our list to accomplish great things at Duke but never winning a National Championship. He is, however, the first guy on our list to be a Defensive Player of the Year – twice !!! He was an All-Time NCAA Statistical Leader 3 times.
Affectionately called “The Landlord” because he did all his work in the paint. He played with another Top 10 player, but neither was a sidekick. More like 2 Batman characters dominating in their own fields, which was symbiotic each to each the other. He is one of a handful of players to ever average a “double-double” (points and rebounds) at Duke throughout a season. Williams did it twice. He is also the all time leader at Duke in Blocked Shots.
#4 – Grant Hill
Grant joined Bobby Hurley in those 2 National Championships, was Coach K’s first Defensive Player of the Year. He led in plenty of our categories, but will always be remembered best for that “baseball pass” against Kentucky.
Recently Duke saw 4 Freshmen winning a National Championship, but Grant Hill was the original freshman to do so. In 1990, UNLV embarrassed Duke in the Championship game by 30 points. Duke went home got their big brother (or in this case little brother) in the form of Freshman phenom (Hill) and came back to win their 1st Championship.
Previously Duke couldn’t keep up with the athletes on UNLV, but with a new game plan and the athletic Grant Hill in the line up, Duke prevailed in the Final Four over the Runnin’ Rebels by 2 points, then went on to top Kansas for Coach K’s 1st ever Championship.
Then Grant Hill returned to help Duke win another Championship.
#3 – JJ Reddick
JJ never won the Big One, but won every Player of the Year honour available, multiple times. He was also twice Conference Tourney MVP. He led many of the categories multiple times.
When JJ arrived in Durham he found himself in a class that was 6 strong and wasn’t exactly the cream of the crop. He wasn’t exactly ship-shaped but he had a beautiful shot. In the subsequent 4 years he put some work on his body, on his game, and at the end of it, he became Duke’s All-Time Leading Scorer as well as one of Duke’s most entertaining players. He was the Batman to Shelden William’s Batman, and though they came up short over and over again it, was a pleasure to watch their journey while in Blue.
#2 – Shane Battier
Shane is my personal All Time Favourite, not because of the multiple awards he won, but because he had that special ability to make each team he was on better. He won National Defensive Player of the Year 3 times, logged in plenty of other POY honours as well. He is the only player to be All Academic, and he did it twice !!! Oh, by the way, he was a Final Four MVP.
Naturally a Small Forward, Shane mixed it up as a Pivot while at Duke. Both a very good Shot Blocker and Three Point Shooter. He was the ultimate competitor. He’s probably the missing piece why Duke did not repeat as champions in 2002.
#1 – Christian Laettner
How could anyone be surprised that Christian led everyone by a mile ??? He is the only guy to log in 2 Final Four MVP’s, 2 NCAA All-Time Stat Leader, and a Hall of Fame. He was also National Player of the Year. Considering the present environment of not staying for 4 years, I honestly doubt if anyone will be able to surpass him.
Dawkins took Duke to Coach K’s 1st Final Four. Ferry helped Duke to 3 Final Fours. Then Laettner, who apprenticed under Ferry as a Freshman, went on to take Duke to 3 Final Fours. He brought Coach K his 1st and 2nd National Championships.
Laettner is also in very rare company as a Player who played in 4 straight Final Four games.
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