Duke NBA Players: Greatest of All Time

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Duke University has long since been renowned as one of the best basketball colleges in the United States. Some of us are familiar with Duke’s championship history and the great players that have been able to enter the NBA after their stint in the Duke Collegiate program.

Recently, the hype surrounding Zion Williamson placed Duke University in the spotlight once again. Some of us don’t understand what the fuss surrounding the Blue Devils is all about. For those of us who don’t know anything about Duke and its greatness in basketball beyond Zion Williamson, this article will help you to get a better idea of what Duke is all about.

We will be looking at all the great players produced by the Duke University system and all the great players that went to Duke and then on to the NBA.

A Brief History of Duke Basketball A Brief History of Duke Basketball

Duke University has been one of the most successful basketball schools in the history of the United States. They have had an abundance of talented greats play in their system. They have their current prestige because of their historically great achievements in various tournaments.

Their new gym that was named after Coach Card was opened in 1930.

Their Indoor Stadium opened in 1940 as an addition to the gymnasium. In 1972 it would be named after Coach Eddie Cameron, head coach from 1929 to 1942. The indoor stadium was partially paid for by the then more famous football team’s proceeds from its appearance in the 1938 Rose Bowl.

Duke is now arguably the most popular basketball program in the country. Duke has the NCAA record for winning percentage at .755. The Blue Devils have won 5 national championships (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015) from 11 championship games. Duke also has 16 Final Four appearances.

Duke’s first final four appearance was in 1963 under coach Vic Bubas. That team lost 94–75 to Loyola. The next year, the team reached the national title game, but lost to the UCLA Bruins.

Duke left the Southern Conference in 1953 to become a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Blue Devils then won the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship for a record of 21 times. The Blue Devils also have 19 ACC regular-season titles. Duke has finished the season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll seven times.

That’s not all. Duke also has the record for total weeks ranked as the number one team in the nation by the Associated Press with 135 weeks.
In 1974, Duke became only the eight school to win 1000 basketball games. The Blue Devil’s success is in large part due to the greats that have passed through their gates. 11 Duke players have been named the National Player of the Year.

There have been 36 All-Americans so far from the duke system and 71 players have been drafted from Duke into the NBA. The school also boasts 14 academic All-Americans. Dick Groat became the first National Player of the Year In 1952 from the Blue Devils squad. The first All American from Duke was Billy Werber, Class of 1930.

What Famous Basketball Players Went to Duke famous NBA players who attended DukeWhat Famous Basketball Players Went to Duke?

Duke has had more than its fair share of incredible athletes to pass through its gates. Some would even say, the school has been blessed to be chosen by so many greats. Surely there will be even more incredible players that will be going to the Duke system in the future, but for now, let’s take a look at some of the famous NBA players who attended Duke.

Luol Deng
Luol Deng spent one year at Duke before moving on to the NBA. While he was at Duke in 2004, he helped the team to make the final four. He averaged 15 points and 7 rebounds during that year. That year, he was able to lead all freshmen in scoring.

Deng went on to the NBA, where he was drafted 7th in the first round by the Suns. During his 14 years in the NBA, he was a 2-time all-star that averaged 15PTS, 6RB, and 2AST.

Mike Dunleavy
Mike Dunleavy spent three years at Duke and then went on to the NBA. While he was at Duke in 2001, he helped the team to win a national championship. Mike averaged over 12 points that year. He went on to the NBA, where he was drafted 3rd in the first round by the Warriors. During his 14 years in the NBA, he averaged 11PTS, 4RB and 2AST.

Elton Brand
Elton Brand played two years at Duke before moving on to the NBA. While he was at Duke in 1998 and 1999, he helped the team to make back to back elite eights. He went on to the NBA, where he was drafted 1st in the 1999 draft by the Bulls. During his 16 years in the NBA, he was ROY in the 1999-2000 season and a 2-time all-star that averaged 16PTS, 9RB, and 2AST.

Carlos Boozer
Carlos Boozer spent three years at Duke and then went on to the NBA. While he was at Duke in 2000-2002, he helped the team to make the sweet sixteen three times and 2001 championship. Carlos went on to the NBA, where he was drafted 35th in the second round by the Cavs. During his 15 years in the NBA, he was a 2-time all-star that averaged 16PTS, 10RB, and 2AST.


Jason Williams
Jason Williams played three years at Duke and then went on to the NBA. While he was at Duke in 2000-02, he helped the team to win a championship in his first season. Jason went on to the NBA, where he was drafted 7th in the first round by the Kings. During his 12 years in the NBA, he won a championship in 2006 and averaged a career 10PTS, 2RB and 6AST.

Chris Duhon
Chris Duhon played four years at Duke before moving on to the NBA. While he was at Duke in 2001-2004, he helped the team to make the final four in his last season and won a championship in his first year. He went on to the NBA, where he was drafted 38th in the second round by the Bulls. During his 9 years in the NBA, he was a 2-time all-star that averaged 7PTS, 2RB, and 4AST.

What Famous Basketball Players Went to Duke
Shane Battier
Shane Battier spent four years at Duke and then went on to the NBA. While he was at Duke in 1998-2001, he helped the team to win the NCAA championship. He went on to the NBA, where he was drafted 6th in the first round by the Grizzlies. During his 13 years in the NBA, he was a 2-time NBA champion that averaged 7PTS, 4RB, and 1AST.

Dick Groat
Dick Groat played three years at Duke and then went on to become a multi-sport athlete. While he was at Duke in 1950-52, he averaged 26 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Groat went on to the NBA, where he was drafted 3rd in the first round by the Pistons. During his 1 year in the NBA, he averaged 12PTS, 3RB and 3AST.

Bobby Hurley
Bobby Hurley spent three years at Duke before moving on to the NBA. While he was at Duke in 1990-93, he helped the team win three straight championships. He went on to the NBA, where the Kings drafted him 7th in the first round. During his 5 years in the NBA, he was a 2-time all-star that averaged 4PTS, 1RB, and 3AST.

Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram played one year at Duke before moving on to the NBA. He was drafted 2nd in the first round by the Lakers. Since he entered the NBA 4 years ago, he has made the all-star team once and is averaging 14PTS, 5RB and 3AST.

J.J. Redick
J.J. Redick played three years at Duke and then went on to the NBA. While he was at Duke in 2003-06, he averaged 20PPG. JJ went on to the NBA, where The Magic drafted him 11th in the 1st round. During his 14 years in the NBA so far, he is averaging 13PTS, 2RB and 2AST.

Grant Hill
Grant Hill spent four years at Duke from 1991-94 before moving on to the NBA. While he was at Duke, he helped the team to win two championships. He went on to the NBA, where he was drafted 3rd in the first round by the Pistons. During his 19 years in the NBA, he was a 7-time all-star that averaged 17PTS, 6RB, and 4AST.

Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving played one year at Duke and then went on to the NBA. While he was at Duke in 2010, he helped the team to make the sweet sixteen. Kyrie was drafted 1st in the first round by the Cavaliers. During his 9 years in the NBA, he has won one championship thus far and has been a 6-time all-star. He was ROY in 2012 and is averaging 22PTS, 4RB and 6AST.

Jason Taytum
Jason Taytum played one year at Duke before moving on to the NBA. While he was at Duke in 2016-17, he averaged 17PPG and 7RPG. He went on to the NBA, where he was drafted 7th in the first round by the Suns. During his 14 years in the NBA, he was a 2-time all-star that averaged 15PTS, 6RB, and 2AST.

Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson spent one year at Duke before moving on to the NBA. While he was at Duke in 2018-19, he helped the team to make the elite eight. Zion went on to the NBA, where he was drafted 1st in the first round by the Pelicans. During his 1st year in the NBA, he is averaging 23PTS, 7RB and 2AST.

How Many Duke Players are in the NBA How Many Duke Players are in the NBA?

At the moment, there are a host of Duke NBA players drafted since 2011 that are still hooping in the league. Some of them are all-stars, superstars, and stars in their own rights. Here’s a list of the current Duke players currently playing in the NBA. There are 24 of them in total.

PlayerDraftedTeamPPGRPGAST
Marvin Bagley III2018Kings14.237.460.77
R.J. Barrett2019Knicks14.344.982.55
Grayson Allen2018Grizzlies7.372.201.43
Wendell Carter, Jr.2018Bulls11.269.421.19
Quinn Cook2015Lakers4.821.051.05
Seth Curry2013Mavericks12.582.362.02
Harry Giles2017Kings6.974.181.29
Rodney Hood2014Trail Blazers10.953.431.52
Brandon Ingram2016Pelicans24.256.234.30
Kyrie Irving2011Nets27.405.156.40
Frank Jackson2017Pelicans5.591.390.80
Tyus Jones2015Grizzlies7.451.574.38
Luke Kennard2017Pistons15.793.504.11
Semi Ojeleye2017Celtics3.132.030.51
Jahlil Okafor2015Pelicans7.644.251.29
Jabari Parker2014Kings14.675.911.82
Mason Plumlee2013Nuggets7.175.322.36
Cam Reddish2019Hawks10.523.721.50
J.J. Redick2006Pelicans14.912.592.00
Austin Rivers2012Rockets8.452.371.60
Jayson Tatum2017Celtics23.567.082.95
Gary Trent, Jr.2018Trail Blazers7.661.660.94
Zion Williamson2019Pelicans23.586.792.16
Justise Winslow2015Grizzlies11.276.644.00

The Best NBA Players from Coach K's Era The Best NBA Players from Coach K’s Era

Coach Mike Krzyzewski AKA Coach K, is one of the most renowned coaches in USA basketball. He has been the head coach at Duke since 1980. He has coached Duke’s Blue Devils to five NCAA championships, 15 ACC championships, and 12 final four appearances.
Let’s take a look at the five best players that have been coached by Coach Krzyzewski. We determined the top five based on their professional stats.

The Best NBA Players from Coach K's Era

1. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving has been a perennial all-star since he got drafted in 2011 by the Cavs. He is averaging 22PTS, 4RB and 6AST.

2. Jason Taytum
Ever since Danny Ainge made that genius draft pick swap with the sixers to trade down for Jason, He has been nothing but spectacular. Throughout his time in Boston, he has been an NBA all-star, and he is averaging 15PTS, 6RB, and 2AST.

3. Carlos boozer
Carols boozer is best known for his stints with the Utah Jazz and the Chicago Bulls. Carlos wasn’t entirely healthy throughout his career, but he was an absolute beast of a forward when he was. Carlos never won a championship, but he made the all-star team twice.

4. Grant Hill
Grant Hill seems to have played in the NBA forever. He was able to play in a very physical era and managed to play for 19 years. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on September 7, 2018.

5. Elton Brand
Elton Brand, AKA Old School Chevy, was a walking double-double who had an old school game. He was a two-time all-star, and he averaged almost a double-double for his career at 16PTS, 9RB, and 2AST.

The 5 Greatest Duke NBA Players of All Time The 5 Greatest Duke NBA Players of All Time

Coach K has been blessed to have coached the best players coming out of the Blue Devil’s system. Duke has been producing greats since the inception of its basketball program. However, we believe that most of the best came from coach K’s stable.

Based solely on their professional stats, our 5 greatest NBA players coming from Duke include:

1. Bob Verga
2. Elton Brand
3. Grant Hill
4. Kyrie Irving
5. Carlos Boozer

Honorable mention: Corey Maggette

Wrapping Things Up: Duke NBA Players

Duke’s NBA players have been able to transition to the NBA quite well. Most of the players coming out of Duke have managed to have careers over 10 years in the NBA. That says a lot about their talents and work ethic. 

Did you find this article helpful? Then you may also like to read other frequently asked questions on basketball here.

Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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