College basketball's All-time Starting Five: Duke Blue Devils

With March Madness right around the corner, The Dagger is picking an all-time starting five from some of college basketball's most tradition-rich programs.

Our picks were based on a variety of factors, including stats, tourney success, All-America selections, and of course, our opinions.

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Next up: Duke Blue Devils.

Who was considered from Duke:
Christian Laettner C, 1988-92 (16.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg)
Bobby Hurley G, 1988-93 (12.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 7.7 apg)
Johnny Dawkins G, 1982-86 (19.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.2 apg)
Shane Battier F, 1997-2001 (13.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.7 bpg)
Danny Ferry F, 1985-89 (15.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
J.J. Redick G, 2002-06 (19.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.2 apg)
Jason Williams G, 1999-2002 (19.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.0 apg)
Grant Hill G, 1990-94 (14.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.6 apg)
Elton Brand C, 1997-99 (16.2 ppg, 8.9 rpg)
Art Heyman F, 1960-63 (25.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg)

Next up in the Starting Five series:

• Feb. 10: Arizona
Feb. 12: Georgetown
• Feb. 17: Louisville
• Feb. 19: UConn (women)
• Feb. 22: Indiana
• Feb. 24: Syracuse
• Feb. 26: Michigan St.
• Feb. 29: Kentucky
• March 2: UCLA
• March 4: UConn (men)
• March 7: Duke
• March 9: UNC
• March 11: Kansas

Duke’s All-Time Starting Five

G — Bobby Hurley

A product of the hardscrabble Jersey City playgrounds, Hurley found himself at one of the best schools in the nation and quickly became the gritty face of a privileged program some came to resent. His heart and determination earned him respect as much as his ability to split defenses and find an open teammate or knock down a 3-pointer. He led Duke to its first two national titles at point guard with an understanding of the game uncommon for a player his age. He owns the top three single-season assist records in Duke history. By the end of his senior season, Hurley was the NCAA career assists leader and Duke’s career leader in 3-point field goals.

G — Johnny Dawkins

Scoring was expected of Dawkins when he arrived at Duke in 1983 after a stellar prep career in Washington D.C., where he became one of that city’s legendary prep players. He scored in double figures in 27 of 28 games and earned freshman All-American honors in first season. He led the Blue Devils in scoring all four years of his career. He became the national Player of the Year as a senior and a first-team All-American when he led Duke to the national title game and a 37-3 record. He is Duke’s second all-time leading scorer with 2.556 points. He holds school records for field goals made and attempted.

F — Shane Battier

There are few players in NCAA history who could match Battier’s all-around game. He was effective at an All-American level on both ends of the floor and earned the national Defensive Player of the Year award three times from the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He was a first-team All-American as a senior when he led Duke to the 2001 national championship while averaging 19.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 2.1 steals.

F — Danny Ferry

He was born with basketball in his genes. The son of former NBA player Bob Ferry, Danny spent his childhood around the game as a player and a student. All of the lessons he learned along the way helped him get to Duke and eventually become a two-time All-American and two-time ACC Player of the Year. He became the first player in ACC history to score 2,000 points grab 1,000 rebounds and dish 500 assists. He helped Duke advance to the Final Four as a senior and finished his career as national Player of the Year.

C — Christian Laettner

While Hurley was the catalyst for Duke’s first two national title teams, Laettner was the Blue Devils’ backbone in those years. He played hard and with an edge, which wasn’t always well-received by teammates and eventually led ESPN to make a documentary about him more than 20 years after his college career ended. He still holds the Duke record for career free throws made at 701. He was the MVP of the Final Four as a junior and the national Player of the Year as a senior.

Starting five Duke
Starting five Duke


Toughest omissions: Only at a program like Duke could a three-time All-American who is the program’s career leader in scoring average and led the school to its first ever Final Four be left out of the starting five. Such is the case for Art Heyman, who was one of the best players in the nation in the early 1960s. Grant Hill was a part of two national title teams and was about as versatile as they come, becoming the first player in ACC history to record more than 1,900 points, 700 rebounds, 400 assists, 200 steals and 100 blocked shots. Jason Williams was a national champion, a two-time All-American and a national Player of the Year.

Who is in your Duke starting five?