For over 30 years, the Duke Blue Devils have been a constant force in college basketball, winning five national titles under head coach Mike Krzyzewski. ESPN NBA analyst Jay Williams won one of those titles in 2001, and he put together his list of the all-time Duke starting 5.
On a recent segment for ESPN NBA Countdown, Williams was tasked with giving his all-time Duke starting 5. Making the list were a quintet of Blue Devils legends spanning the past 30-plus years.
Williams’ list consisted of Kyrie Irving, J.J. Redick, Grant Hill, Christian Laettner and himself. Three of them won national titles, and four of them are some of the Blue Devils’ all-time statistical leaders.
But all five had significant personal achievements with Duke or in the NBA, and are legends in their own right.
Laettner is a two-time national champion, Duke’s No. 3 all-time leader in points and rebounds, and boasts multiple NCAA Tournament records. He is also considered one of the most clutch performers ever, hitting game-sealing shots in many famous tournament games.
Hill is a Hall of Famer who contributed to Duke’s back-to-back national titles in his first two years, but really came into his own in his final two seasons. He won countless accolades in college including ACC Player of the Year and consensus first-team All-American honors before a very successful NBA career too.
Williams was a two-time consensus All-American and the 2002 National College Player of the Year. He helped lead Duke to their third national title as a sophomore in 2001. That year he scored 841 points for Duke – breaking the 50-year old school record in the process.
Redick is Duke’s all-time leading scorer and shattered Jay Williams’ single-season scoring record in 2006. That year he had three games with at least 40 points – no other Duke player has recorded 40 since then.
Kyrie played just one year at Duke, playing in just 11 games before a shoulder injury ended his college career. But few Duke players have represented the school as well in the NBA as Kyrie, who boasts an NBA title, Olympic gold medal, FIBA World Cup and countless accolades.
What do you think of Jay Williams’ all-time Duke starting 5?