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YouTube Gold: Elton Brand

Somehow he’s been overlooked in the pantheon of Duke greats

Elton Brand
Elton Brand as a Blue Devil

Time always marches on and while that’s generally speaking a good thing - time heals all wounds, as they say - it comes at a cost.

If you’re a school like Davidson, your great players are far and few between. In the 1960s, the Wildcats had Fred Hetzel. More recently they had Stephen Curry, who is a surefire Hall of Famer and almost certainly on the first round.

No disrespect to Davidson or other smaller schools but at a place like Duke it’s different. Duke fans just saw Zion Williamson a couple of years ago and not long before that, Jayson Tatum.

Kyrie Irving saw minimal time at Duke but we saw him enough to understand his greatness.

Gerald Henderson, JJ Redick, Shane Battier, Trajan Langdon, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Grant goes on.

The fact is that a guy like Alaa Abdelnaby, who was a first-round draft pick, would have been an all-time great at most schools At Duke, and again no disrespect, he was really good but not at the top level of the Long Blue Line.

Which leads us to Elton Brand.

He was a promising player but he wasn’t supposed to be The Guy. The guy in that class was supposed to be Chris Burgess. Brand staked an early claim though and never gave it up. He was, almost without question, the most powerful player Duke had before Zion Williamson and we still haven’t seen a big guy with his combination of size and power. If you never saw him play, pay attention to that but also to his agility and superb all-around skills. He remains unique in Duke history.