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Our Favorite Ten Duke Plays (As Of This Moment)

We may revisit this again

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Elton Brand #42...
Elton Brand sticking it to Maryland

We could change our mind by noon but after having thought about it, these are our favorite Duke plays of all time in no particular order:

  1. Taymon Domzalski had a great body but hands of stone. He always tried hard though and he did leave one of the best plays in the history of Duke basketball: Maryland’s Keith Booth came down the lane and was lining up an absolutely massive dunk. this look on his face and went up and made perhaps the most macho block in the history of Cameron Indoor Stadium, stuffing Booth while he was bringing down a tomahawk dunk. It was spine tingling.
  2. Phil Henderson’s dunk against Alonzo Mourning. Before that play, Mourning was still feared as a shotblocker and seen as the next Patrick Ewing. After? Power forward.
  3. Zion Williamson’s astonishing mid-air block against Kentucky followed by a gorgeous bounce pass for a layup. Who does that? Who goes from center to point guard in the same play? No one, that’s who.
  4. Billy King on a layup Any layup. High entertainment value.
  5. We don't remember the opponent but Bobby Hurley made one of the most amazing plays we’ve seen anywhere at any level. It was bit of a blur but here goes: someone threw a cross-court pass, we think after a steal, and Hurley jumped into the stands to catch it. It was the second half so Duke was shooting at the basket nearest their bench. He did catch it, spun to his right...and drilled a pass to a teammate cutting hard for a layup. Mind-boggling reflexes and nerves. Still can’t believe he did that.
  6. People forget how great Ralph Sampson was but he was 7-4 with guard skills. It’s still pretty rare. So when 6-7 Gene Banks came barreling down the lane and Ralph put that long arm out, it looked like a sure fire block...only Tinkerbell went under his arm and had a massive dunk. Still arguably the greatest dunk in Duke history.
  7. We have to give it up to RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish for the most swagger, other than maybe Christian Laettner, on a single play. We’re referring of course to the play in the Duke-Louisville game this past year when Duke was busy erasing a huge Louisville lead. The Blue Devils had cut it to three when Barrett made an outrageous no-look pass between his legs to Reddish who drained a long three to tie it. Just spectacular swagger by both guys.
  8. Jeff Capel’s epic half-court shot against UNC. It looked good from the moment it left his hand. Duke still lost, in double overtime, but what an amazing game that was.
  9. Virginia’s Chase Metheny was no Ralph Sampson but like Sampson he was also 7-4 and therefore a serious obstacle. Elton Brand was close to the corner near the Virginia bench and you could see he was thinking “I can take him.” So he exploded toward the basket and went up...and almost did it. Metheny got him but the power and ferocity of that play was insane. Still haven't seen anything like it.
  10. We have to list Christian Laettner here somewhere and the easy plays are the clutch ones. But we’re not going for those. Laettner was a complex character who even occasionally made Duke fans uncomfortable. He was arrogant and cocky and a lightning rod...but he could back it all up. What made him great was his ruthless intensity. We sat courtside at a Christmas game against a hapless team like Brown or Canisius. One of their kids fell on the ball right in front of us and Laettner came for him. He was 6-11 and stood just over us...and screamed his head off at the poor guy. Not a little bit either. Laettner screamed at him like he caught him committing a shocking crime. It was a bit frightening a few rows in. We can’t imagine what this kid was thinking with this 6-11 guy standing over him, waving his arms and screaming like a lunatic. What he was thinking was probably why are you so worked up? I’m on the ground in the corner. Give me a break! What we thought after Laettner’s career was over was: part of the reason that guy was so great was that he never took a single thing for granted. You got his best every single time out. No exceptions.
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