Here are some more - Tony Lang, Wojo, and Jim Spanarkel. All three are high on our list, too, but we'll say this about Tony. When we met him, we weren't by any means the center of attention, but Tony made a real point out of shaking our hand. It wasn't just a handshake, really. He insisted on drawing us into the conversation, treated us entirely as his equal, and impressed us as an enormously decent guy and someone anyone would be proud to know or have in the family. What a great guy. We knew Spanarkel, too, and he, too, was just tremendously down to earth. You couldn't find a more regular guy. And we're huge Wojo fans, too. We can't think of anyone who did more with their talent at Duke than Wojo did. That guy was amazing.
Tony Lang - nicest person, greatest family. Love him.
Tony Lang, Class of '94, was a wonderfule person and player. He had great spirit and passion, a tenacious work ethic, improved every year, and had a fantastic sense of humor. I was fortunate enough to have Tony in a few of my classes, and he was always down to earth despite our class winning two back-to-back championships and coming within a hair of a third. Best of all, he was an Econ major with a great GPA - triumphing on and off the court. Tony had great perspective on life and explained the game and the life to me in a way that raised my respect for all Duke scholar-athletes. I understand he was well liked by his teammates in the NBA and continues to represent Duke favorably.
Always wishing Tony the absolute best,
Duke Environmental Science and Policy '94 and Duke MEM '96
Wojo - more fight per ounce than any player I'ver ever watched play. This guy would dive for a loose ball even if the floor was covered with broken glass.
My favorite Devil is Wojo! He wasn't the most talented kid in the world, but he always gave absolutely everything he had every game. I loved his enthusiasm - I know he had me pounding my living room floor a few times, as I tried to help him and his teammates come up with a big defensive stop! I'll always remember his Senior Day game against UNC when they made that big comeback in the 2nd half, and he sprinted into Coach K's arms as time expired...
This is a joke of a question. There's no doubt. WOJO, are you kidding me?! Was there ever a harder worker, a more fiery competitor? Anyone who parlayed moderate physical gifts more successfully into astonishing victories? Anyone who saw his team through such a dark stretch and played such a major role in bringing it out the other side, bruised but smirking in the total assuredness of the rightness of the cause?! Ask yourself this question, punk: would you EVER want him on the opposing team?
It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog!
Woof, baby. WOOF!
WOJO - hands down. I can't relate to people like Grant Hill. Grant is an amazing person, solid leader, and hard worker, but he is a basketball demi-god. He's simply dripping in amazing talent. I loved to just sit an watch him in awe. However, WOJO is someone I can relate to. I watch him and think, "I can be better if I work that hard". WOJO is simply the most inspiring Blue Devil I've seen. Put it this way, if you could put WOJOs determination, hard work, hustle, firey competitive attitude, and focus on difference-making defense into an 'NBA' body... it would be scary beyond imagination. Coach K is right. WOJO is extraordinary, and will make an excellent head coach some day soon.
While I started liking Duke as a result of Christian Laettner (hey, I was in high school ok, and he was sooo dreamy! :-) However, I'd now have to say that my all time favorite player is Steve Wojciechowski. While dreamy in his own right, it was watching him play that I actually started to get into the game--imagine that. He just brought an energy with him that translated to both his teammates and the fans. And now as an assistant coach, you can still see glimses of that on the sidelines. I love the fact that he is passing on that passion for the game to the next generation--it is needed in the game. You just always knew that Wojo left everything on the court and that is why he is my favorite devil!
Wojo. He epitomized the competitive spirit and fire of the Blue Devils. No matter who or what he went up against, he defied all of the odds and proved that heart can make a champion.
WOJO!!! Nobody got more out of what they were given in the history of sports. He always played like a championship was on the line. During the game at UVA where he stepped to the foul line with no time on the clock and the game on the line, was there any doubt of the outcome. SWISH! Noboby represents Duke basketball like the six foot kid from Maryland.
Add up loyalty, work ethic, getting the most out of your talent, and you end up with two names: Rudy and (to Duke fans) Wojo. The Kentucky loss in the 1998 tournament was the only one where I felt terrible not only for myself and the team, but for Wojo in particular because he deserved so badly to win
My favorite of all time was Wojo! I liked his fire and tenacity!!! He left it all on the floor!
Hands down, my favorite devil has always been Steve Wojokowski (sp?) The guy has the heart of a lion and no one ever thought he would be the great player and leader that he turned out to be. I was so happy when he joined the coaching staff with K so he can pass some of his passion onto the younger guys!
My favorite was Jim Spanarkle. He wasn't fast, he couldn't jump, and he didn't shoot all that well outside of 10-12 feet, but he could play. Not only did he score, but I think that he led the team in steals for at least a couple of years. His most impressive year was 1976-77, before Banks and Dennard and after Tate Armstrong broke his arm. The opposing teams all knew that Spanarkle was going to have to score, but they couldn't stop him from taking it to the basket. The team took a step down the year after he graduated, even though Vince Taylor, his replacement, was a much better athlete (and also one of my favorite players).
My all-time favorite Blue Devil is Jim Spanarkel. He got the Duke program going back in the right direction after many lean years in the 70's. I was in high school when he was at Duke and I tried to play like him. I wish his number 34 was hanging in Cameron.
He wasn't the most athletic basketball player, but he was smart and was a winner.
My favorite Devil is Jim Spanarkel. He was my childhood hero Â one of the highlights of my early life was shaking his hand at a charity function at my school! I think he was as responsible as any player for Duke's resurgence after the down years of the early 70s. He personified hard work and dedication. I still remember his last game in the NCAA tournament Â it seemed like everyone else was sick or injured but Spanarkel was all over the court trying to find some way to win.
My other favorite Devils are Kenny Dennard, Tommy Amaker, Jeff Capel and Wojo.
In my mind he is the one that lead "my" Devils back to the top. The 78 team was a dream come true for us life long Duke fans. As a high school student it was a wonderful time to finally enjoy the success of Duke Basketball again. Spanarkel had plenty of help on that team Harrell, Bender, G-Man, Dennard, Banks and so on but I considered him to be the leader. It was a joy to watch him play.
It's got to be Jim Spanarkal. As a nine year old with Duke grads for parents, I got my first taste of Duke basketball in 1978. My lasting memory from that year is seeing Jim coming across half court (might have been in Cameron) on TV. Just as he crossed over, he dribbled between his legs!! Holy cow! The most amazing thing I had ever seen up to that point. I was hooked, and #34 was instantly my favorite player. Later, in Greensboro, the Devils played an exhibition at Grimsley High School. I can remember going and after the game the players stayed for autographs. I stood on a chair to try and get Jim's and he looked at me and said "What are you doing up there"! Holy cow again!! He spoke to me!! I was thrilled. Clearly there have been more heralded Devils, who have accomplished great things (my son has a Battier jersey in his room), but for me the all-time greatest Devil will always be Spanarkal.
My father attended Duke University when I was young, so I've grown up a Blue Devil fan. Mike Gminski, Jim Spanarkel and Gene Banks were the first Blue Devil players I remember truly following. They certainly were part of some great Duke teams. Vince Taylor was another awesome Blue Devil! I also loved Johnny Dawkins and Mark Alarie and those great Duke teams of the mid '80's.
Not the most physically talented players there ever was but one of the smartest on the court I've ever seen! He's the reason I'm a Blue Devil fan! GO DUKE!
He did everything that could be asked for from a DUKE player. He led by example and helped drag DUKE basketball from a bad time
He scored, rebounded, made assists and did all the little things that make a basketball player great.
I've recited his credentials on DBR time & again; I think that it's a crying shame that his jersey has not been hung in the rafters at Cameron.
He's the type guy that you want a son to be like and a daughter to marry.
Hang his jersey!
The final regular season game in Cameron during Coach K's first year at Duke remains my most emotionally vivid memory of Duke basketbal (Laettner's Stomp and Swish is a close second). It was my freshman year, Duke was in the first of a couple of down years, but Gene Banks was a man through the entire difficult season. He carried the team on his back, always played hard, and I never remember him complaining. This from a guy who was accustomed to playing with Spanarkle and Gminski on some terrifically talented Duke teams. I seem to recall that we were spanked at Carolina earlier that year by a team that featured James Worthy and Sam Perkins. Carolina eventually went to the Final Four and lost in the championship game. I had to look some of that up, but I will never forget Banks impossible buzzer beater that won the game and made the season!
From my high school days in Durham, I remember watching Jim Spanarkel, Tate Armstrong, Bob Bender, and Mike Gminski. Johnny Harrell, Jim Corrigan, and Harold Morrison are more players from that era. And I have many, many, many fond memories of all the guys on the '81-'84 teams, when I was a student manager with them (that would be classes of Banks/Dennard/Suddath through McNeely/Ford my senior year, when the freshmen were Amaker/Nessley). I just can't pick one player whom I watched play during his collegiate career. So I'll choose my favorite from the alumni games: Chuck Holly, '41.