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  1. #1

    Best Duke backcourt?

    I saw a recent picture of Kyrie and Nolan on a DBP tweet which was captioned "As good a college backcourt you'll ever see..." and it got me thinking has there been a better backcourt at Duke? The Williams/Duhon backcourt was pretty darn good also. Hurley/T. Hill got two rings. I'm sure there are several others that I am forgetting.

  2. #2
    Duhon/JWill has to be at the top of the list, no? That said, the Kyrie/Nolan combo is pretty insane, even if it never quite got going for a season the way we would have liked.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Watching carolina Go To HELL!
    Two guys named Dawkins and Amaker certainly were no slouches.
    Ozzie, your paradigm of optimism!

    Go To Hell carolina, Go To Hell!
    9F 9F 9F
    http://www.EGLEW.com


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Winston Salem, NC
    2010 Back court of Jon and Nolan wasn't bad. GoDuke!

  5. #5
    Wojo/Avery and Langdon was pretty good. Avery would have been special.

    I just have a soft spot in my heart for the Alaskan Assassin, never really knew why.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Steve Vacendak and Bob Verga, c. 1966.

    Deserve to be in the discussion.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Winston Salem, NC
    Tate Armstrong and Jim Spanarkel was another good backcourt. Jim would be better in the FF year. They are two of my favorite Duke players ever. GoDuke!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jimsumner View Post
    Steve Vacendak and Bob Verga, c. 1966.

    Deserve to be in the discussion.
    Jim, they were two of the best ever.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Republic of Texas
    I can't give the nod to Irving/Smith. Really like both of them and wish so badly we would have seen a full season of the two. But they didn't play many games together, 3 of which in the NCAA tournament weren't all that impressive from a backcourt point of view. I'd take Williams and Duhon

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Asheville
    Quote Originally Posted by Indoor66 View Post
    Jim, they were two of the best ever.
    Didn't you just love it when Vacendak took the inbounds pass and then dribbled right through the famous UCLA press in the Indoor Stadium every time before nailing the jumper himself or passing it to Verga for "2" or feeding Lewis for the jam? Pretty darn good backcourt if you ask me.

    ricks

  11. #11

    best backcourt

    To a large degree, how much does his question hang on time played together?

    For instance, Irving and Smith are two of the most talented guards to ever play together ... but they were really only Duke's backcourt for eight games (WhenIrving returned in the NCAAs he came off the bench, so even though he and Smith were often on the court with each other, it was often one or the other -- along with Curry).

    That's the prblem wih he Vacendak-Verga backcourt They were great together in 1965-66 when they helped Duke win the ACC and reach the Final Four, but that was the only year they were Duke's backcourt. In 1964-65, when Verga was sophomore, he shared the backcourt with point guard Denny Ferguson, while Vacendak played small forward (and he really was a foward and not a third guard in Bubas' system). In 1966-67 Vacendek as gone. Duhon and Jason Williams started together for the last 10 games of the 2000-01 season and for all of the 2001-02 season. They won two ACC championships, a national championship and played together on two teams that finished No. 1 in the final AP poll. Duke's record was 41-4 when they started together.

    Still, I think Duke's greatest backcourt has to be Dawkins and Amaker. They started together for three years --the three years that saw the rise of Duke basketball under Coach K. Their three teams were 24-10, 23-8, 37-3 -- 84-21 overall ... and they started every one of those 105 games together. Dawkns finished his career as the top scorer in Duke history (holding that mark until 2006) and Amaker finished his career as the first official National Defensive player of the year. Granted, that was in 1987 (the year after Dawkins left), but Amaker averaged more than two steals a game in 1986 (before there was a NDPOY). Nobody applied ball presure like Tommy Amaker (although Wojo and Hurley were close). Amaker ended his career as Duke's al-time steals leader and when they finished Dawkins and Amaker were 1-2 in Duke history in career assists -- even now, they are No. 3 and No. 6 on Duke's list.

    I think they get the nod for (1) how well they fit together and (2) how long they played together (more than twice as long as Vacendek/Verga or Williams/Duhon). I suppose that Irving and Smith were a more talented combo -- so were Jason Williams and Chris Duhon -- but when you measure the overall impact of Duke backcourts, Dawkins an Amaker have to get the prize.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Asheville
    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    To a large degree, how much does his question hang on time played together?

    For instance, Irving and Smith are two of the most talented guards to ever play together ... but they were really only Duke's backcourt for eight games (WhenIrving returned in the NCAAs he came off the bench, so even though he and Smith were often on the court with each other, it was often one or the other -- along with Curry).

    That's the prblem wih he Vacendak-Verga backcourt They were great together in 1965-66 when they helped Duke win the ACC and reach the Final Four, but that was the only year they were Duke's backcourt. In 1964-65, when Verga was sophomore, he shared the backcourt with point guard Denny Ferguson, while Vacendak played small forward (and he really was a foward and not a third guard in Bubas' system). In 1966-67 Vacendek as gone. Duhon and Jason Williams started together for the last 10 games of the 2000-01 season and for all of the 2001-02 season. They won two ACC championships, a national championship and played together on two teams that finished No. 1 in the final AP poll. Duke's record was 41-4 when they started together.

    Still, I think Duke's greatest backcourt has to be Dawkins and Amaker. They started together for three years --the three years that saw the rise of Duke basketball under Coach K. Their three teams were 24-10, 23-8, 37-3 -- 84-21 overall ... and they started every one of those 105 games together. Dawkns finished his career as the top scorer in Duke history (holding that mark until 2006) and Amaker finished his career as the first official National Defensive player of the year. Granted, that was in 1987 (the year after Dawkins left), but Amaker averaged more than two steals a game in 1986 (before there was a NDPOY). Nobody applied ball presure like Tommy Amaker (although Wojo and Hurley were close). Amaker ended his career as Duke's al-time steals leader and when they finished Dawkins and Amaker were 1-2 in Duke history in career assists -- even now, they are No. 3 and No. 6 on Duke's list.

    I think they get the nod for (1) how well they fit together and (2) how long they played together (more than twice as long as Vacendek/Verga or Williams/Duhon). I suppose that Irving and Smith were a more talented combo -- so were Jason Williams and Chris Duhon -- but when you measure the overall impact of Duke backcourts, Dawkins an Amaker have to get the prize.
    My final vote goes along with Olympic Fan's analysis.

    ricks

  13. #13
    Have we moved the goal post to the best two or three year backcourt or just the best backcourt. The V & V backcourt only played together for one year but that does not disqualify they for the best. They were extremely productive and quit complementary in their play. Isn't tht the criteria?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Winston Salem, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    To a large degree, how much does his question hang on time played together?

    For instance, Irving and Smith are two of the most talented guards to ever play together ... but they were really only Duke's backcourt for eight games (WhenIrving returned in the NCAAs he came off the bench, so even though he and Smith were often on the court with each other, it was often one or the other -- along with Curry).

    That's the prblem wih he Vacendak-Verga backcourt They were great together in 1965-66 when they helped Duke win the ACC and reach the Final Four, but that was the only year they were Duke's backcourt. In 1964-65, when Verga was sophomore, he shared the backcourt with point guard Denny Ferguson, while Vacendak played small forward (and he really was a foward and not a third guard in Bubas' system). In 1966-67 Vacendek as gone. Duhon and Jason Williams started together for the last 10 games of the 2000-01 season and for all of the 2001-02 season. They won two ACC championships, a national championship and played together on two teams that finished No. 1 in the final AP poll. Duke's record was 41-4 when they started together.

    Still, I think Duke's greatest backcourt has to be Dawkins and Amaker. They started together for three years --the three years that saw the rise of Duke basketball under Coach K. Their three teams were 24-10, 23-8, 37-3 -- 84-21 overall ... and they started every one of those 105 games together. Dawkns finished his career as the top scorer in Duke history (holding that mark until 2006) and Amaker finished his career as the first official National Defensive player of the year. Granted, that was in 1987 (the year after Dawkins left), but Amaker averaged more than two steals a game in 1986 (before there was a NDPOY). Nobody applied ball presure like Tommy Amaker (although Wojo and Hurley were close). Amaker ended his career as Duke's al-time steals leader and when they finished Dawkins and Amaker were 1-2 in Duke history in career assists -- even now, they are No. 3 and No. 6 on Duke's list.

    I think they get the nod for (1) how well they fit together and (2) how long they played together (more than twice as long as Vacendek/Verga or Williams/Duhon). I suppose that Irving and Smith were a more talented combo -- so were Jason Williams and Chris Duhon -- but when you measure the overall impact of Duke backcourts, Dawkins an Amaker have to get the prize.
    After this great break down, my vote goes to Tommy A & Johnny D. Both were great players, imo. Not just good but great. GoDuke!

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Indoor66 View Post
    Have we moved the goal post to the best two or three year backcourt or just the best backcourt. The V & V backcourt only played together for one year but that does not disqualify they for the best. They were extremely productive and quit complementary in their play. Isn't tht the criteria?
    I think number of games together has to at least be somewhere in the equation. When I first saw the thread title the Dawkins/Amaker combination was the one that leapt immediately to my mind, followed by Williams/Duhon, but I'll admit that Verga/Vacendak was just slightly before my time.

  16. #16
    Gotta go with Williams/Duhon.
    Can still remember the sound of the crack in the head that Duhon took from Steve Blake at the FF. And still Chris came back to win it all.
    JWill? One of the coolest guys on the planet.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Nashville
    Quote Originally Posted by jv001 View Post
    2010 Back court of Jon and Nolan wasn't bad. GoDuke!
    Totally agree. I'm surprised the Jon/Nolan combo hasn't gotten more love. Jon will always be underrated, but it's hard to point to two more complementary players. Jon, the methodical orchestrator who always made the right decision and had a penchant for hitting clutch shots; and Nolan, the tireless defender who could be counted on to come up with big plays off the dribble when the team needed it most. I think that their 09-'10 season was definitely one of the single best seasons from a Duke backcourt. Obviously, the '85-'86 Amaker/Dawkins pairing was pretty spectacular, too. And I can't vouch for anything that happened in the 60's but I'll trust Jim Sumner on that. Duhon and Williams were really good as well. Personally, I'd put all four of those pairings above Kyrie and Nolan mostly because we never really got to see them operate at a high level for long enough (although the defensive demolition of K-State by Nolan combined with the offense of Kyrie was pretty spectacular!).

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by COYS View Post
    Totally agree. I'm surprised the Jon/Nolan combo hasn't gotten more love. Jon will always be underrated, but it's hard to point to two more complementary players. Jon, the methodical orchestrator who always made the right decision and had a penchant for hitting clutch shots; and Nolan, the tireless defender who could be counted on to come up with big plays off the dribble when the team needed it most. I think that their 09-'10 season was definitely one of the single best seasons from a Duke backcourt.
    In addition, there was a lot of discussion that year about whether or not Kyle should be considered part of the backcourt. If you decide to let Kyle in, I think it pushes that group past any other without question. Whatever terms of discussion we end up using -- "the perimeter" or "the backcourt" or "guards" or "wings" or whatever -- at the very least, 2010 was certainly one of our best perimeter-oriented teams ever. This is especially true when you consider that the offensive contribution from the post was nearly non-existent, except in the form of rebounds (which can't be overstated) and garbage buckets. It really is amazing that those guys pulled it off that year.
    Last edited by Jderf; 06-01-2012 at 12:07 PM. Reason: spelling is hard
    "With seven national titles and 20 Final Fours in the 64-team NCAA Tournament era, Duke and UNC have had more playoff success than any other CONFERENCE." - Al Featherston

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    If we're giving bumps for longevity, we should consider Bobby Hurley and Thomas Hill. Played together for four years, started for three, both made All-ACC three times. Had some team success too.

  20. #20

    K's vote

    I think I have heard K say, or have heard him quoted as having said, that his '86 NC runner-up team would beat all subsequent Duke FF teams. I'm guessing - if he said this - it was partly just a playful dig at whatever is his latest really talented group of players. A sort of, "You guys think you're good, but my '86 guys would have run you off the floor....." I can also imagine him adding, "Especially if I move Bilas to the bench and start Ferry."

    Hard to say whether, 10 years from now, looking back, a reflective K would actually publicly specify his choice for his "best" backcourt, so it's just my opinion that he'd vote for Dawkins and Amaker.

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