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Thread: Top 5 Dukies

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Green View Post
    I find the list to be too modern as none of my favorite childhood Blue Devils are listed. O course all four NCAA Championships have been during the Coach K era so I'm sure that fact has a significant impact. Moreover, today's players have four years of eligibility compared to three years. Still, Bob Verga and Mike Lewis are names that stir vivid memories from my youth in the 60s.
    I'm not saying Verga would be top 5 but I do think that he might be the most overlooked great player at Duke. I would have love to have seen him play with a 3 point line.Jeff Mullins is another great from the Bubas years. He was the first star I recall from my youth. In the K era as the years roll by I feel like Danny Ferry gets shortchanged. He was a great college player.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by superdave View Post
    Redick never carried a team in the NCAAs. That is a gaping hole in his resume compared to a lot of Duke guards.

    1. Laettner
    2. Dawkins
    3. Hill
    4. Williams
    5. Battier

    Hurley is breathing down Jason Williams' neck though, in my estimation.
    While factually correct, I would disagree with your weighting of its signifiacance. JJ's supporting cast consisted of Sheldon and no other NBA level players. J-Will OTOH had Shane, Boozer, Dunleavy, and Duhon. Every starter on that team has started in the NBA. He hardly "carried" us.

    Hurley set an all-time NCAA record that still stands. How can he not be on the list?
    The Gordog

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gordog View Post
    While factually correct, I would disagree with your weighting of its signifiacance. JJ's supporting cast consisted of Sheldon and no other NBA level players. J-Will OTOH had Shane, Boozer, Dunleavy, and Duhon. Every starter on that team has started in the NBA. He hardly "carried" us.

    Hurley set an all-time NCAA record that still stands. How can he not be on the list?
    Williams scored more points in 3 years than Hurley in 4. He was more explosive and more likely to carry the team. I've actually changed my mind to Williams in recent years. I just think Williams was unguardable. But damn if Hurley's 3 vs. Vegas wasnt huuuuuuuuuuge.

    As for JJ, the whole offense ran through him so he should have scored that much. Great shooter but needed lots of help to get his points.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukeDevilDeb View Post
    ...I would bounce Redick off in a minute (while he may have been the greatest shooter or whatever, his play during tournaments never lived up to his publicity) ...
    I think never is the wrong word. Just because we failed in 2006 you are apparenly forgetting that he won ACC touney MVP, as afrosh I believe, and in 2004 it was certainly not anything he did to loose that UConn game. IIRC, it was our inability to stop Okafor without (bogus) fouls being called on our bigs.
    The Gordog

  5. #45
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    Love talking these things, but so difficult

    In the Coach K era, debate of the best begins and ends with one man: 1. Christian Laettner. In many instances within sport, the beauty of perfectly crafted prose is enough to call to mind and bring to life the memory of a star that has long since departed from his game’s brightest lights. Here, superlatives don’t even begin to touch the surface. They do Laettner’s legacy an injustice. It is the record of winning that most appropriately defines No. 32’s worth in the game’s annals. Most impressive of all is the four consecutive starts in the Final Four, something nobody did before Laettner and nobody will do after. The back-to-back titles aren’t bad, either. Oh, and he made perhaps the most clutch game-winner in the history of college hoops. And he did it twice.

    2. Jason Williams. My goodness. The things Jason could do with the ball in his hands offensively. Outside of perhaps a handful of guys -- Bo Kimble, Chris Jackson, Allen Iverson, Randolf Childress -- I'm not sure there's been a more clever and purely dominating scoring guard in the game of college basketball than Jason Williams over the past 20 years. Not to mention, he was a two-time NCAA player of the year. No other Duke player in the K era has achieved this. Pound for pound, he was probably the most talented basketball player Duke's ever had or ever will see. Of course, I missed many decades of great Duke basketball and, after I'm gone, will miss many more.

    3. Shane Battier. Leadership. Coach K called Shane the best leader he ever coached. Coming from Coach K, a man who graduated from West Point and honed his skill for coaching under the headship of Bobby Knight, that one compliment is far more impressive than anything else ever said of Shane Battier. And that's considering that Coach also labeled Shane the most complete basketball player he ever coached.

    4. Johnny Dawkins. He started it all. And perhaps that's the only proper praise for this Blue Devil giant. (Also, I never saw him play)

    5. J.J. Redick. Personal records are certainly never the only -- and often never the most appropriate -- measure of basketball brilliance in these types of rankings. But the scoring numbers and shooting performances Redick delivered during his four years in the greatest conference in college basketball history were something to behold, and performances we'll likely never see again. I remember once reading a piece on The Pistol somewhere, in a feature story within Sports Illustrated perhaps, trying to put into words Pete Maravich's grace and beauty on the basketball court. Of course, the write-up, however splendidly professed, could never do justice. Not even close. But it was the best illustration of Maravich’s game I've seen. It suggested that each time Pete Maravich put on those floppy socks and took the floor in another sold-out Southeastern Conference gym, he was playing a game of beat the clock just to keep up.

    I think that perfectly explains the pressure -- no, maybe expectation is a better word -- that followed J.J. each time he walked out of the tunnel wearing D-U-K-E. People expected 35-point games every night he played in the winter of 2006. Think about that for a moment. Leaving school as the ACC all-time leading scorer is good enough to land a top five spot in my book. If it isn't, then perhaps that speaks even more to the current level of our program.

    ...

    But then, s#!@, I forgot about Grant Hill. Damn it. Not to mention Bobby Hurley, the NCAAs all-time leader in assists. Ah Danny Ferry!, he scored 58 in a single game and was basically unstoppable.

    I did this purposefully, but only to point out how truly out in front our program has been ahead of everyone else since Coach Michael Krzyzewski took over in Durham. Simply amazing.
    Last edited by Cameron; 12-03-2010 at 12:25 AM.
    "Duke is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something you don't pass up on." -Amile Jefferson

  6. #46
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    If I had to rank them, though, I still wouldn't take Redick off the list. What he did to the ACC record books is just too much to not include. No one in the conference has ever shot the way Redick did during his career, let alone that final magical senior season.

    1. Christian 2. Jason 3. Shane 4. Grant 5. J.J. with Johnny Dawkins and Bobby Hurley ever so close. But I think you gotta give J.J. the edge over Johnny and Bobby, but only because there is absolutely no way the other four can be removed from the list. I might be wrong, but it's all subjective and I can't see leaving J.J. Redick off this list any way I cut it. He was too unique a player. Twenty-six points per game scorers at schools like Duke come around about as frequently as comets.

    Isn't amazing, though, that players like Trajan Langdon, Elton Brand (even with just two years in Durham), Mike Dunleavy, Shelden Williams, Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler can't even dream of making this list. And that is absolutely not a discredit to those players' games. Duke's just Duke and there have been some hellish good players to come through here.
    "Duke is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something you don't pass up on." -Amile Jefferson

  7. #47
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    Question Can't we all just get real?

    Like those few on the board familiar with Duke pre-K, I also think that Art Heyman may have been the greatest Duke player ever. But, the only other player that should certainly be included in the debate is the tall guy that made "the shot". So, we should have two guys that are #1 and #2, in either order of preference. That leaves 3 spots left. That's it. (Unless we give possible consideration for Dick Groat.)

    To listen to all you uninformed young 'uns out there that think the only great players are in your generation is getting a bit disconcerting. Maybe ya'll should take a look at average points per game and whether or not the 3 point line was in effect, instead of total career points, when comparing offensive production. Also, take a look at average rebounds per game instead of total rebounds. Remember, when these guys played there were only eligible for three years and a 20 win season was remarkable. In addition, stats like assists were not even kept. So, I think you need think about if you woud rather have Heyman with the ball with a few seconds remaining for the big win or Redick, for example. If you spent a little research time on the subject, the answer would be a slam dunk.

    Oh, and don't forget to include Mullins, Lewis, etc. for consideration for the last 2 or 3 spots using the same criteria.

    ricks

  8. #48
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    Methinks I disagree

    Quote Originally Posted by Cameron View Post
    If I had to rank them, though, I still wouldn't take Redick off the list. What he did to the ACC record books is just too much to not include. No one in the conference has ever shot the way Redick did during his career, let alone that final magical senior season.

    1. Christian 2. Jason 3. Shane 4. Grant 5. J.J. with Johnny Dawkins and Bobby Hurley ever so close. But I think you gotta give J.J. the edge over Johnny and Bobby, but only because there is absolutely no way the other four can be removed from the list. I might be wrong, but it's all subjective and I can't see leaving J.J. Redick off this list any way I cut it. He was too unique a player. Twenty-six points per game scorers at schools like Duke come around about as frequently as comets.

    Isn't amazing, though, that players like Trajan Langdon, Elton Brand (even with just two years in Durham), Mike Dunleavy, Shelden Williams, Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler can't even dream of making this list. And that is absolutely not a discredit to those players' games. Duke's just Duke and there have been some hellish good players to come through here.
    Ever heard of Thompson or Heyman or Verga? These guys came pretty close to Redick per year without any 3 point shot. Verga's best season definitley would have outscored Redick's best season average witha 3 point shot, since that's where most of his scoring came from. (Verified by a Mike Lewis quote.) Just take a look at some old pictures of Verga and you can see where JJ got a lot of his form from. Also, there was a guy at Georgia Tech and others that might take issue with your statement, also. Now, for overall excitement from pure outside shooting, I'd take JJ. But when you talk about JJ being so unique because of his scoring average, I think fair comparisons need to be made.

    ricks

  9. #49
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    I'll take a team of the guys who left early and who are generally snubbed in our lists (and I'll ignore pre1977 since I never saw those players and, anyway, for best players, I'd look to the modern era. not the players fault, but let's see a 6'3" forward dominate in 2010, and if you didn't allow African-American men to play, our current team would probably have 3 all Americans (wait, we already do ).

    anyway...

    brand, boozer, maggette, deng, williams in their primes would dominate hurley, jj, hill, battier, laettner. disagree? Bobby did set the assist record, but he was leading a team that included two of the best finishers in duke history, and the team was organized around him making assists for 4 years. I loved him, but jwill was a better player.

    jj v maggette. there's a reason that one has fared better in the NBA. maggette would make it hard for jj to get off a shot. when confronted with really good individual defenders (as in the NBA and the NCAA tourney), jj became mortal. maggette became better.

    deng v hill might be advantage grant, but not by much.

    brand boozer v laettner battier. we love the latter guys and are generally silent about the former, but one group went on to play at an all star NBA level, while laettner and battier are best known for being great college players.

  10. #50
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    I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!
    Quote Originally Posted by johnb View Post
    brand, boozer, maggette, deng, williams in their primes would dominate hurley, jj, hill, battier, laettner. disagree?
    Wow, you are really stirring the pot with this post for several reasons. I'll stick to this one. Hurley, Hill, and Battier are 3 of the best defenders Duke has ever had. This is why I usually find myself on the Hurley side of the Hurley/Williams debate. Hurley played defense incredibly tight, while Williams had trouble letting other guards get by him. These debates are fun because of all the memories they provoke, but the flipside is the Duke vs Duke thing which is a little distasteful. For instance, both the 60's guys, and Gminski's crew don't get enough credit. Understandable because of age differences, let's keep eras in perspective. Hustle and courage are timeless.

  11. #51
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    A new way to vote -

    Would it be possible to set up a poll where everyone gets 100 points to allocate any way they want, rather than vote for a top 5? Then we could rank by gross points. So if you're like me and have a hard time splitting the baby between Williams and Hurley, you can give them each a few of your 100 points.

    I've never set up a DBR poll, could we do this?

  12. #52
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    I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

    This

    Quote Originally Posted by superdave View Post
    Would it be possible to set up a poll where everyone gets 100 points to allocate any way they want, rather than vote for a top 5? Then we could rank by gross points. So if you're like me and have a hard time splitting the baby between Williams and Hurley, you can give them each a few of your 100 points.

    I've never set up a DBR poll, could we do this?
    is a good idea. First we need to define what we mean by top 5. Does it mean favorite players? Does it mean best players? Does it mean the best potential team? Something else?

  13. #53
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    The Look

    Quote Originally Posted by ricks68 View Post
    Like those few on the board familiar with Duke pre-K, I also think that Art Heyman may have been the greatest Duke player ever. But, the only other player that should certainly be included in the debate is the tall guy that made "the shot". So, we should have two guys that are #1 and #2, in either order of preference. That leaves 3 spots left. That's it. (Unless we give possible consideration for Dick Groat.)

    To listen to all you uninformed young 'uns out there that think the only great players are in your generation is getting a bit disconcerting. Maybe ya'll should take a look at average points per game and whether or not the 3 point line was in effect, instead of total career points, when comparing offensive production. Also, take a look at average rebounds per game instead of total rebounds. Remember, when these guys played there were only eligible for three years and a 20 win season was remarkable. In addition, stats like assists were not even kept. So, I think you need think about if you woud rather have Heyman with the ball with a few seconds remaining for the big win or Redick, for example. If you spent a little research time on the subject, the answer would be a slam dunk.

    Oh, and don't forget to include Mullins, Lewis, etc. for consideration for the last 2 or 3 spots using the same criteria.

    ricks
    I can't resist adding to your comments here, ricks. One can study the stats until doomsday, but not know the character and presence of a player. This undefinable aspect of each player is that special element a really outstanding player posses. It goes far beyond numbers to the ways which a player can influence and dominate others on the court.

    I've seen all these guys play except for Groat. Duke has such a long, rich history in basketball that sorting out greatness is a near impossible task. Art Heyman stands atop the pile for his intensity and attitude to win over all odds. As intense as Christian could be, it's Artie who had the look, that dark look that signaled that he was about to go off and carry the game. I've watched thousands of guys play basketball over the years and none have matched that intense, dark look.

    Heyman's arrival at Duke was truly the turning point for the basketball program to become a national power, just as Wallace Wade's arrival years before ushered in an era of being a national power in football. The greatness which developed quickly during the Bubas years is the basis for the expectations which fueled the search for a worthy, young coach who could guide Duke to the top of the national scene again.

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricks68
    Now, for overall excitement from pure outside shooting, I'd take JJ. But when you talk about JJ being so unique because of his scoring average, I think fair comparisons need to be made.
    The bolded part is what I was referring to when I designated Redick's senior year unique. And although we may not be talking about 26 points per night on the same level of David Thompson, Bob Verga or Art Heyman if there had been a three-point shot when they played, 26 points per night seasons in conferences such as the ACC are pretty rare, especially at the hands of a NPOTY playing alongside just one other NBA player and receiving the opponents' undivided attention each and every game. J.J. took an absolute physical and mental beating every night -- just look at the final game of his career against LSU -- and, most often, it didn't matter. He still put up 30. I'm not saying the other guys listed above didn't, but J.J. deserves, in my opinion, and earned a spot on this top five list for that alone. Outside of Christian, I'm not sure we've had a more instinctive killer at Duke. J.J. had frozen water running through his body.

    And to be fair -- and clear -- on the Thompson, Verga and Heyman point, there was no three-point shot during their era and therefore no conclusive evidence as to how much the existence of the extra-point shot would have helped or improved their scoring averages. Sure, there are old videotapes exhibiting some of their exploits from deep and I'm sure many here were there as witnesses, but, had there been a three-point line in the '50s, '60s and '70s, defensive strategy would also have changed.

    With a three-point shot advantage in effect, defensive strategy would most certainly have been focused more on stopping the deep ball. Just look at the focus toward perimeter pressure we've implemented at Duke for years. There hasn't been a better team in the country at defending against the three-ball than Duke over the past 15 years. Where -- and I'm guessing here since I didn't watch that era -- coaches once might have been not content but willing to give players shots from 20 to 25 feet in comparison to a shot from 15 to 18 feet that's worth the same amount of points, that all changes when an additional point becomes awarded. Much of defensive strategy has to do with risk versus reward and when plays that were once worth two now become worth three, the risk elevates considerably and your defensive focus naturally shifts, at least to some degree.

    Now I'm not saying that coaches back then just said, "All right, let that Maravich kid make 12 in a row from 25 feet. It's only a two. I want our defensive effort primed in on Rich Lupcho in the paint." But I definitely think things would have been different with a three-point line -- elongated defenses, more perimeter pressure, less open looks for sharpshooters -- and that it wouldn't be as cut and dry as "Bob Verga would have scored X-amount of points with the line."

    At least this is what I came up with in my head over the past 10 minutes.
    "Duke is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something you don't pass up on." -Amile Jefferson

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reddevil View Post
    is a good idea. First we need to define what we mean by top 5. Does it mean favorite players? Does it mean best players? Does it mean the best potential team? Something else?
    Top 5 would mean the 5 greatest Duke players. You can determine great however you want. For me, greatest means best hair, which Laettner wins hands down. Ok maybe it's about the postseason, not hair.

  16. #56
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    Talking Lists and More Lists

    Quote Originally Posted by Reddevil View Post
    is a good idea. First we need to define what we mean by top 5. Does it mean favorite players? Does it mean best players? Does it mean the best potential team? Something else?
    The White Queen tells Alice things that in her youth she could believe "six impossible things before breakfast." Therefore, I find it easy to come up with many ways to measure the Top 5 Dukies:

    Best collegian: NPOY - consensus - 6: Heyman, Laettner, Brand, Battier, JWill, and JJ. Other winners - 3: Groat, Dawkins, Ferry. (That's nine -- it's really hard to be a Dukie and make these kind of choices.)

    Best pro: NBA all-stars - 6 - Mullins, Marin, Laettner, Hill, Brand, Boozer.

    Best Team, using only the above names plus retired jerseys:

    C - Laettner, Gminski
    PF - Ferry, Brand, Boozer, Shelden
    SF - Marin, Hill, Battier
    SG - Heyman, Mullins, JD, JJ
    PG - Groat, Hurley, JWill

    This is a Chinese menu - take one from each line and have fun.

    Some license was taken here: Heyman and Mullins were forwards at Duke;Jeff was a guard in the NBA; Art (who really was 6-5) is listed as a guard-forward on the basketball reference web site. Laettner was clearly a center at Duke, although a PF in the NBA. I can't remember whether JD was a SG or a PG in the show, but he played SG after Amaker arrived at Duke. Dick Groat was a guard, period.

    Apologies to the greats left off of this list: Verga, Spanarkel, Banks, Trajan, Dunleavy, Scheyer, Singler, and Smith. And a shout out to Mike Lewis and Randy Denton and Chris Duhon and the Chief.

    sagegrouse
    'Marin, Brand and Boozer jerseys are not retired'

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gordog View Post
    While factually correct, I would disagree with your weighting of its signifiacance. JJ's supporting cast consisted of Sheldon and no other NBA level players. J-Will OTOH had Shane, Boozer, Dunleavy, and Duhon. Every starter on that team has started in the NBA. He hardly "carried" us.

    Over the course of his four seasons at Duke, Redick played with seven future NBA players, Dahntay Jones, Chris Duhon, Luol Deng, Shavlik Randolph, Shelden [note the spelling] Williams, DeMarcus Nelson, and Josh McRoberts.

    Note that Dahntay and Ewing also played with JWill in 2002.

    Neither Nelson nor Randolph had careers of any distinction and Ewing only lasted a couple of years. But McRoberts is an NBA starter, Deng is very close to star level and Duhon and Jones have been NBA starters.

    So, the difference may not be as stark as suggested.

  18. #58

    Many didn't get to see Jeff Mullins

    He was really good. Best bank shot from the outside I have ever seen, great rebounder, and he could really follow up his shot to get the rebound. Heyman got most of the hype but in retrospect I preferred Jeff's game. And he was natural two while Heyman was a three. Jeff Mullins was a three time NBA all star, a starter on an NBA championship team (1975) and scored over 13,000 NBA points.

  19. #59
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    Great points here

    Quote Originally Posted by Devil in the Blue Dress View Post
    I can't resist adding to your comments here, ricks. One can study the stats until doomsday, but not know the character and presence of a player. This undefinable aspect of each player is that special element a really outstanding player posses. It goes far beyond numbers to the ways which a player can influence and dominate others on the court.

    I've seen all these guys play except for Groat. Duke has such a long, rich history in basketball that sorting out greatness is a near impossible task. Art Heyman stands atop the pile for his intensity and attitude to win over all odds. As intense as Christian could be, it's Artie who had the look, that dark look that signaled that he was about to go off and carry the game. I've watched thousands of guys play basketball over the years and none have matched that intense, dark look.

    Heyman's arrival at Duke was truly the turning point for the basketball program to become a national power, just as Wallace Wade's arrival years before ushered in an era of being a national power in football. The greatness which developed quickly during the Bubas years is the basis for the expectations which fueled the search for a worthy, young coach who could guide Duke to the top of the national scene again.
    Heyman picking Duke over unc, was in fact the turning point in Duke basketball. Bubas was then able to bring in more top flight players; Mullins, Verga, Marin, Vacendak, Lewis and Denton were some of those players. Then in the 70's after Vic left the Devils we fell on some hard times. But Duke regrouped somewhat under Bill Foster as he brought in Gene Banks, G-Man and Vince Taylor. One player of the 70's that is still one of my favorites is Tate Armstrong. A shooter like Verga and Redick. After the 70's came the best college basketball coach I've been fortunate to see coach. And that's Coach K. He has gotten Duke to the top and kept us there with some great players. All have been mentioned before so I will not name them. To name a list of only 5 greatest basketball players to ever play at Duke is impossible for me to do. I just enjoy each season and each player and have fond memories of each and every one of them. Go Duke!

    Just to add to my post. To just see how good Duke was in the 60's under Bubas. From 1960 to 1967 Duke was almost unbeatable at home. Our record was 57 wins against 4 losses. Heyman, Mullins and Bubas got Duke off to a great start and now Coach K is having that same kind of success over a greater period of time. Go Duke!
    Last edited by jv001; 12-03-2010 at 12:08 PM. Reason: to add

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by wva_iron_duke View Post
    He was really good. Best bank shot from the outside I have ever seen, great rebounder, and he could really follow up his shot to get the rebound. Heyman got most of the hype but in retrospect I preferred Jeff's game. And he was natural two while Heyman was a three. Jeff Mullins was a three time NBA all star, a starter on an NBA championship team (1975) and scored over 13,000 NBA points.
    A former ACC coach once told me that Mullins worried his team more than did Heyman. The rationale was that Mullins was a bit more versatile, harder to game-plan for. Mullins certainly had a more productive pro career. Heyman had some back problems but he'd be the first to admit that his overly aggressive personality hindered his pro career.

    That said, when we did our magazine poll, I voted Heyman number two with a clear conscience. He was a truly great college player, strong, skilled and with a killer instinct. The best players impose their wills on a game and Heyman imposed his will as well as anyone in Duke history, Laettner included. A force-of-nature-personality. He and Bubas figured out a way to co-exist, to their mutual benefit.

    Harold Bradley recruited lots of All-ACC caliber players, guys like Joe Belmont and Ronnie Mayer and Paul Schmidt. But he never recruited a Rosenbluth, a Shavlik, an All-America type (Bradley inherited Groat, who came as much for baseball as hoops).

    Heyman had committed to UNC and Frank McGuire. But Heyman's step-father and McGuire got into a violent argument over a perceived verbal slight and Heyman's step-dad insisted he reopen his recruitment.

    Vic Bubas had taken over from Bradley only days before this happened. Bubas saw an opportunity and swooped in for the kill. Heyman was a great prep player and his signing with Duke not only gave Duke a great player but gave Bubas instant credibility. Guys like Mullins and Jay Buckley knew how good Heyman was and wanted to play with him.

    I understand that many posters on this board don't go back as far as some of us. But make no mistake, the best of the Bubas-era players absolutely deserve consideration on any lists of great Duke players.

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