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Duke’s Greatest Recruiting Miss

Milwaukee Bucks v New Orleans Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 19: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles the ball as Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans defends during the first half at the Smoothie King Center on December 19, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

If you, like us, thought that Stephen Curry was Duke’s greatest recruiting miss ever (Duke thought he was too small at the time and then he grew and the rest is legend), we have changed our minds.

Duke’s greatest miss ever has to be Giannis Antetokounmpo, though no one realized it at the time.

Turns out the Greek Freak, who went straight to the NBA, would have liked to have played college ball, and when asked, said he would have liked to have been a Blue Devil:

“Definitely Duke. I like Duke because of the players that came out of that program. You usually see a lot of four men that don’t fit the mold. I think I’m one of those guys. I’m 6’11” and I can handle the ball and pass and get in the paint. You see players like that who came out of that program: Zion Williamson, Jabari Parker, Jayson Tatum, and Brandon Ingram. Not only are they very good basketball-wise but academically it’s also a great school.”

He got drafted in 2013, so that would have put him on a Duke team with Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, Quinn Cook and, coincidentally, Stephen’s brother Seth.

That team lost to Louisville in the Midwest regional finals, 85-63. We joke periodically about the Duke Curse which hits teams that beat Duke in the NCAA Tournament, but it just keeps happening: Louisville was eventually stripped of that title.

Anyway, it’s fun to think of what a young Antetokounmpo would have been like in Duke blue.