Last week Jason Williams tweeted that Kyrie Irving is “the best player to ever come out of” Duke basketball. While that near-sighted view demonstrates how history can be shaped by the parochialism of personal experience, it does stress a point worth carrying in a different direction – Irving is the best one-and-done player ever to wear a Blue Devil uniform.
That standing is particularly relevant because Mike Krzyzewski has lately run one-year wonders through his program on a constant basis, and in growing batches. And in Marvin Bagley III he apparently has the best one-and-done Duke player of the nine who came and went since Irving, and the two who played before Irving arrived on the scene.
We’re not going to take time to analyze statistics to prove Bagley is best. Not yet. Let’s see what happens over the course of what’s likely his sole season in Durham.
But, as the year unfolds, think about where the Arizonan stands in Duke’s pantheon of pass-through freshmen. Keep in mind that stats can’t fully capture performance. Limited playing time and injuries affect the numbers (see Harry Giles), as do who else is on the team (Corey Maggette), what a player’s role requires, and how long it takes Krzyzewski and staff to figure out where a player best fits in the lineup (Frank Jackson).
And how do you quantify winning plays like Austin Rivers’ crushing 3-pointer to beat UNC at the buzzer in the Smith Center in Feb. 2012, or the lingering impression that Irving was the cream of the (barely mature) crop, yet played only 11 games as a Blue Devil?
|ONE AND WELL-DONE
Stat Totals Reflect Average Per Game