Duke University is widely known as one of the top schools in the country for nurturing players that go on to play in the NBA. Duke has produced 58 players that have made at least one league appearance, 25 of those coming since the year 2000.
They are lucky enough to have one of the most respected and decorated coaches in NCAA history. The extraordinary Mike Krzyzewski has been with the Blue Devils for an astronomical 38 seasons. He is a truly dedicated man who has given his all to the Duke University basketball program and to the game itself.
Coach K will be heading into his 39th season this year, and Duke is looking extremely good for another championship. They are currently the favorites at +500 followed by the Kentucky Wildcats and the Arizona Wildcats, who are both on +10000. The odds are a little short for the avid supporters who wish to back their team, though, and some may wish to use a tipping site such as Oddschecker to take advantage of some of the free bets on offer to maximize their profit. There’s no question that Duke is going to be a tough team to beat this year.
So before we get to wrapped up in this season’s championship, let’s take a look at who are the top five players to come from Duke and go on to make a career for themselves in the NBA.
5. Carlos Boozer
Coming in at number five is Carlos Boozer. The power forward enjoyed an extremely successful career, making two All-Star teams and winning a bronze (2004) and gold (2008) medal playing for Team USA in the Olympic games.
He played 13 seasons in the NBA, averaging 16.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
4. Kyrie Irving
Irving’s time at Duke was brief, with the point guard only playing in eleven games. He was another one of Duke’s prodigies to become a number one draft pick, with the Cleveland Cavaliers choosing him back in 2011.
He was lucky enough to be part of their championship-winning team in 2016, and continues to impress on the court. During his six years in the NBA, he has averaged 21.2 points and 5.5 assists per game.
3. Elton Brand
Brand was drafted as the number 1 overall pick in 1999 by the Chicago Bulls. At the time, he was seen as a safe choice and people weren’t expecting him to become a huge superstar. In truth, they were right, but there’s no denying that during his career he was one of the most reliable power forwards to play the game.
He was the epitome of consistency, especially during his time at the Bulls and later for the Los Angeles Clippers, and over his career averaged 16.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
One of the impressive things about his time in the NBA was the longevity of his career. He played 17 seasons in the association and made two All-Star teams.
2. Jeff Mullins
For the number two pick, we’re going to have to kick it old school. Jeff Mullins was one of the few players to never play under Coach K, and was also named in the ACC’s greatest players of all time back in 2002.
He made the NBA All-Star team for three consecutive years from 1968 through to 1970 during his time at the San Francisco Warriors. He spent twelve seasons with the side before moving to the St. Louis Hawks to finish his career. Mullins was famous for intimidating defenders with his powerful offensive game.
1. Grant Hill
Number one on the list has to be Grant Hill, even with his injuries he went on to have one of the most successful careers out of any of the Duke Blue Devils’ alums. While playing for the Detroit Pistons in his first six seasons, he averaged 21.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game. Not to mention making the All-Star team an amazing five times.
His career seemed destined for the hall of fame, but troublesome injuries hampered his ability to play to his full potential. Over the next six years, he played 135 games before moving to the Phoenix Suns, where he finished his career as a role player.
So that’s the list of the best five NBA players to have come from Duke as it stands right now. No doubt they will continue to produce superstars long into the future, and some of those may very well be on this list in the years to come.