Mike Krzyzewski was at Duke long enough that a lot of younger fans don’t really know about his early players.
Take Johnny Dawkins.
A surprise to many when he committed to Duke in (we think) 1981 out of Washington D.C.’s Mackin Catholic when Duke was struggling, Dawkins said “I thought they could use a little help.”
And did he ever give it.
In his freshman year, Duke struggled mightily as Coach K was still getting his pieces in place and building methodically but Dawkins narrowly lost ACC Rookie of the Year to Georgia Tech’s Mark Price.
In his sophomore year though Duke was 24-10 and back in the NCAA tournament.
As a junior, Duke finished 23-8 and lost to Gary Williams and Boston College in the NCAA tournament.
But in 1986, everything fell in place: Duke finished 37-3 and was closing in on the Eastern regional championship and a berth in the Final Four.
Standing in the way was Navy and the Admiral, David Robinson.
He had come to Navy as a 6-7 nobody before he grew to 7-1. Many thought that Duke didn’t stand a chance.
Didn't quite go that way: Duke won 71-50 and had little trouble with Navy. Dawkins even got off this memorable reverse dunk in transition, and in traffic to boot.
The Blue Devils narrowly lost to Louisville in the national championship game, which was the final one for Dawkins. He left Duke as the all-time leading scorer with 2,556 points, a record that stood until JJ Redick broke it in 2006.
By the way, check out the usually reserved Tommy Amaker after this play.