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Thread: Zion!

  1. #1

    Zion!

    I wonder what it would take for Zion to be considered the best Duke player ever.

    This is a very hard question to pose, as people will definitely interpret that to mean best Duke career (pretty sure that is Laettner without any question). I always thought Brand's sophomore year was the most dominant I'd seen, but I don't think there's any metric by which would could say Brand's sophomore year is better than Zion this year.

    The word “greatest” is vague. How to you debate different eras/decades, longevity and accolades vs. raw talent and on-floor impact?

    It's a thought that crossed my mind tonight. I can't remember that I've seen a better player in a Duke uniform.

    I know that Grant Hill, JJ, Gminski, J-Will, Battier, etc. are all absolute legends and freaks on the court. Could just be recency bias, who knows.
    Last edited by -jk; 01-28-2019 at 09:13 PM. Reason: Deserved a thread of its own.
    Whatever the hell "it" is, Jabari found it.

    -Roy "Ole Huck" Williams

  2. #2
    I guess it could be a fun conversation since we have 5 days until revenge tour 2019 starts up in earnest against the Johnnies.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dukehky View Post
    I wonder what it would take for Zion to be considered the best Duke player ever.
    a degree would still be a start for me.

    He might have one of the best individual regular seasons of any duke player, when all is said and done, and if it ends with 3 banners, it might go down as the best single season of any duke player. He may end up being the best player to have played at duke when he retires.

    But without 3 years here, and without a degree, there is nothing he can do on the court that puts him near that plateau.
    Duke Football:

    Winning in the ACC AND the NFL.

    "If you don't address the things you're not doing well when you're winning the winning will eventually stop."

    -David Cutcliffe

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by uh_no View Post
    a degree would still be a start for me.

    He might have one of the best individual regular seasons of any duke player, when all is said and done, and if it ends with 3 banners, it might go down as the best single season of any duke player. He may end up being the best player to have played at duke when he retires.

    But without 3 years here, and without a degree, there is nothing he can do on the court that puts him near that plateau.
    Agree about the degree. I remember seeing several jerseys being retired in the early 2000s and Coach K saying the requirements were being a captain, winning a national title, and graduating if I remember correctly.

    I wonder about Singler, Smith, and Cook sometimes and why their jerseys weren't retired since they met those requirements. I believe the last players to have their jerseys retired were JJ and Shelden Williams and both were dominant yet neither won a national title, nor ever advanced to a national title game. I feel like if Zion stayed 4 years he would undoubtedly have his jersey retired.

  5. #5
    Okay, so this has gotten off to a rough start.

    I'm not asking whether he should have his jersey retired, or whether he should be revered to the level of 3/4 year players. I don't think he should be and he definitively shouldn't have his jersey retired. We have discussed this ad nauseam on this board. The requirement is a degree some kind of significant national recognition. The arguments have been made elsewhere for Singler/Smith etc.'s jersey retirements credentials.

    I meant from a purely basketball perspective, are we witnessing the greatest season/player in Zion. Again, greatest is hard, but I was thinking about strictly from a basketball perspective, not from what Duke basketball means to us as fans/alums of the SCHOOL rather than simply as a basketball team that we root for.
    Whatever the hell "it" is, Jabari found it.

    -Roy "Ole Huck" Williams

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by CameronDuke View Post
    Agree about the degree. I remember seeing several jerseys being retired in the early 2000s and Coach K saying the requirements were being a captain, winning a national title, and graduating if I remember correctly.

    I wonder about Singler, Smith, and Cook sometimes and why their jerseys weren't retired since they met those requirements. I believe the last players to have their jerseys retired were JJ and Shelden Williams and both were dominant yet neither won a national title, nor ever advanced to a national title game. I feel like if Zion stayed 4 years he would undoubtedly have his jersey retired.
    the degree is a hard requirement, and at least for K, the fuzzy requirement is something like national recognition or record. POY and DPOY are known to be enough, whether a couple AA honors is enough is not known and hasn't been seriously tested.

    I had heard rumors about singler's non/retirement, but they don't have enough credibility to share here.
    Duke Football:

    Winning in the ACC AND the NFL.

    "If you don't address the things you're not doing well when you're winning the winning will eventually stop."

    -David Cutcliffe

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by CameronDuke View Post
    Agree about the degree. I remember seeing several jerseys being retired in the early 2000s and Coach K saying the requirements were being a captain, winning a national title, and graduating if I remember correctly.

    I wonder about Singler, Smith, and Cook sometimes and why their jerseys weren't retired since they met those requirements. I believe the last players to have their jerseys retired were JJ and Shelden Williams and both were dominant yet neither won a national title, nor ever advanced to a national title game. I feel like if Zion stayed 4 years he would undoubtedly have his jersey retired.
    I thought it was more about be NPOY, DPOY, All American which are individual honors as opposed to being a national champion which is of course a team accomplishment.
    “Coach said no 3s.” - Zion on The Block

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Rosenrosen View Post
    I thought it was more about be NPOY, DPOY, All American which are individual honors as opposed to being a national champion which is of course a team accomplishment.
    Again, not about jersey retirement requirements. We've done this. It's significant, individual national recognition and a degree.

    DPOY is not enough in and of itself, btw, because otherwise Amaker, King, and Wojo would be retired.
    Whatever the hell "it" is, Jabari found it.

    -Roy "Ole Huck" Williams

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dukehky View Post
    Okay, so this has gotten off to a rough start.

    I'm not asking whether he should have his jersey retired, or whether he should be revered to the level of 3/4 year players. I don't think he should be and he definitively shouldn't have his jersey retired. We have discussed this ad nauseam on this board. The requirement is a degree some kind of significant national recognition. The arguments have been made elsewhere for Singler/Smith etc.'s jersey retirements credentials.

    I meant from a purely basketball perspective, are we witnessing the greatest season/player in Zion. Again, greatest is hard, but I was thinking about strictly from a basketball perspective, not from what Duke basketball means to us as fans/alums of the SCHOOL rather than simply as a basketball team that we root for.
    I think we might be able to say he’s the most exciting Duke player ever. He has a ways to go before we can say anything like “greatest.”
    “Coach said no 3s.” - Zion on The Block

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Raleigh, NC
    I was trading texts with a friend during tonight's game, which Zion dominated. At one point I just texted "Zion is just better than everyone else". He's incredible. History tells us that for him to be considered Duke's best player he'll have to be a great NBA player. I'm not betting against him being a great NBA player but Grant Hill will be tough to beat on the Duke+NBA+Great_player front.

  11. #11
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    He is certainly making a case for having the most *exciting* season of the many Duke players I've seen, and I'm not young. (JJ comes to mind as an exciting player in a different way.) But of course there are many games yet to be played this season, so we'll see. It's fun to think about as a fan.

    On edit: Rosenrosen beat me to it while I was typing!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mapei View Post
    He is certainly making a case for having the most *exciting* season of the many Duke players I've seen, and I'm not young. (JJ comes to mind as an exciting player in a different way.) But of course there are many games yet to be played this season, so we'll see. It's fun to think about as a fan.

    On edit: Rosenrosen beat me to it while I was typing!
    dunk city with bagley at the helm was pretty exciting too. zion is better, but bagley could put on a fun show.

    can you imagine a jones running last years team?
    Duke Football:

    Winning in the ACC AND the NFL.

    "If you don't address the things you're not doing well when you're winning the winning will eventually stop."

    -David Cutcliffe

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Rosenrosen View Post
    I think we might be able to say he’s the most exciting Duke player ever. He has a ways to go before we can say anything like “greatest.”
    Yeah, but imagine how good he will be by his junior and senior seasons... Especially if he hits the weight room and adds some bulk.

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Great Falls Va
    I’m just in awe. He’s a spectacle.

    I think tonight’s game (at ND was the most unreal). It was like Superman figuring out his abilities during the second half.

    Greatest player is a high bar but may not be wrong. Best athlete and most entertaining are slam dunks - is he is also the most effieicnt scorer (at least for someone who shoots regularly and that aren’t all just putbacks).

    I love that he’s still pretty humble through it all too.

    Really made this a season for the ages

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Santa Clara, CA
    I think one has to set some parameters on "greatest player". It's going to be tough when trying to compare a player's "greatest season" from "greatest career". So since we are talking about Zion, I believe we have to be talking about "greatest season" (he's obviously only going to be here for one of those). If people want to debate a 1AD player's season with a 4-year player's career, there never will be a consensus. So with that in mind, here's what I think it takes to be considered to have a "greatest season":

    1. ACC regular season, ACC tourney and NCAA championship titles. One could argue we are just talking about a player. I say no, the player's season is the topic. So the season matters. It must be spectacular. Redick's, Dawkin's and GHill's senior seasons, Brand's sophomore season, JWill's junior season, Bagley's last year - all great. But no crowns during those seasons pushes them off the bubble. It doesn't matter that JWill and GHill won earlier in their careers (GHill twice!), because I am just talking about their "greatest season".

    2. I also think the player will have to be at least top-10 in the nation in at least one NCAA record-keeping category. Scoring would be preferred, but it could also be rebounds, assists, points, steals, 3's, blocks, etc. A lot of great Duke players can meet this requirement.

    3. Getting 1st team All-ACC, 1st team All-American (from all major outlets), ACC POY and at least one major national POY/DPOY (AP, Naismith, Wooden, etc.). Tough one. Not many hit this mark, and of those several didn't get a Natty.

    4. Must tie or set some Duke all-time records. Could be over the season or in an individual game during the season. Something over the season has to be historic.

    Yes, the bar is high. But we are Duke, so it should be high. So by this, who would be my player with the "greatest season" of all time to date? Laettner, '91-92 season. I *think* the only other one to consider is Battier, '00-01.

    I'm not sure about my 4th requirement for Battier. Maybe he hit the most 3's in a game at that point or something. As we all know, Laettner was perfect from the field and line against UK in the FF, which when especially talking about his last shot, was historic and spectacular - the most spectacular moment in Duke basketball (side note - Rivers' 3 vs. UNC is 2nd in my mind). And Duke tied UNC for the regular season title in 2001, whereas Duke won it in 1992. So as much as I like Battier (I really do - if I had had a boy, his name was going to be Shane), my vote would have to go to Laettner for "greatest season".

    Can Zion (or Barrett, for that matter) get into the same category? Looks like that depends on #1 above.

    All is just my opinion. The OP asks, I answer. Others can disagree, but I stand by this.

    9F

  16. #16
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    Dec 2009
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    Washington, DC
    Comparing freshmen? Before this year, Kyrie Irving was the most electric and dynamic freshman I'd ever seen in a Duke uniform. Zion has probably supplanted him...but it's closer than people think.

    Seeing Kyrie live against the University of Portland was absolutely unreal. So many "how did he do that?" plays.

  17. #17
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    Watching carolina Go To HELL!
    Quote Originally Posted by GGLC View Post
    Comparing freshmen? Before this year, Kyrie Irving was the most electric and dynamic freshman I'd ever seen in a Duke uniform. Zion has probably supplanted him...but it's closer than people think.

    Seeing Kyrie live against the University of Portland was absolutely unreal. So many "how did he do that?" plays.
    If only we had had Kyrie for the entire season... I think he would have met all 4 of the above "requirements"!

    I've been watching Duke play since the fall of 1972, and Zion is the most fun, most spectacular player I've seen in a Duke uniform. We're 18-2, we've played what I hope is exactly half our season. I'm looking forward to the next 20 games!
    Ozzie, your paradigm of optimism!

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


  18. #18
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    After last night’s game, a guy on twitter, in response to a tweeted clip of him playing perimeter D and blocking the eventual attempted 20 footer, surmised, “There are going to be babies named after him for the next 10 years.”

  19. #19
    Watching JJ in person his throughout most of his career, but especially his senior year, was one of the greatest basketball experiences I have ever had. I used to focus my attention on him regardless of where the ball was and it was almost exhausting as a spectator. All the sprinting back and forth and fighting through screens. It still amazes me he had the energy to get his shots off. Every time he touched the ball you could feel the excitement.

    Now with Zion, Cameron has that same buzz of excitement, just in a different way. Instead of “is he going to sink another?” It’s the anticipation of “what is he going to do next?”

    Simply amazing. If you get a chance to see it in person, you won’t be disappointed.

  20. #20
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by devilish View Post
    Watching JJ in person his throughout most of his career, but especially his senior year, was one of the greatest basketball experiences I have ever had. I used to focus my attention on him regardless of where the ball was and it was almost exhausting as a spectator. All the sprinting back and forth and fighting through screens. It still amazes me he had the energy to get his shots off. Every time he touched the ball you could feel the excitement.

    Now with Zion, Cameron has that same buzz of excitement, just in a different way. Instead of “is he going to sink another?” It’s the anticipation of “what is he going to do next?”

    Simply amazing. If you get a chance to see it in person, you won’t be disappointed.
    Talking about Zion with a friend/fan he has brought up a point a few times: why don't we run more plays for Zion? We worked hard to set screens and get the the ball to JJ all game long, and with good reason. Now imagine if we did that for Zion. Set some screens for him off the ball and let him flash into the lane for a well timed pass. Give him more touches and watch him just destroy defenses more than he already does. We get him the ball enough but keep our offense fairly well balanced...but what if we unbalanced it for Zion the way we did for JJ? I'd love to see, I think it would be nasty and could take us to the next level. But, hey, that could just be 2 guys talkin'...

    On the specifics of this thread, I know this is DBR but we don't need to over think this, list criteria, question graduation or jersey retirements or any of that silly BS. Just enjoy Zion this year and in a couple of years we will know if he's our greatest player, he has a shot.

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