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.
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.
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
2010 Back court of Jon and Nolan wasn't bad. GoDuke!
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.
Steve Vacendak and Bob Verga, c. 1966.
Deserve to be in the discussion.
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!
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
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.