The Duke Chronicle did something fun and which should have people talking for awhile: it had a fantasy draft of Duke greats.
Recency bias shows here in any number of ways, starting with building a team around guard play rather than Christian Laettner.
Laettner was ferocious and everyone came up to his level or else. The last player in this draft was Chris Duhon. If he played with Laettner, he’d have to raise his level to meet Laettner’s. So you have to start with Laettner.
There were some other surprising decisions too. For instance, taking Tate Armstrong over Bobby Hurley because he was a better shooter.
Armstrong was a very good player but he had some limitations too. Like Laettner, Hurley was an incredible competitor. You just couldn’t keep him down.
Aside from Laettner, if we could have, we’d have taken Grant Hill, Zion Williamson, Shane Battier and Jason Williams.
Obviously there are some great players who didn’t get picked but two that jump out are Jack Marin and Bob Verga.
Marin was an NBA All-Star level player who was one of the best of the Bubas era while Verga may have been the best pure outside shooter in Duke history. There was no three point line in the 60s so we’ll never know how Verga would have compared to JJ Redick, but at worst, he wasn’t far behind.
Actually, here’s how we’d pick our team here: just the most competitive guys.
So while Laettner stands alone, we’d also go with Hurley, Art Heyman, Shane Battier and maybe Chris Carrawell.
And we’d have to consider one guy who we just realized is not on this list: Kenny Dennard. Dennard was a highly agile forward who played hard as hell.