When Kenny Anderson and Bobby Hurley came along in the early ‘90’s, it was an interesting time in the ACC. Bobby Cremins had made Georgia Tech a major factor and, just as importantly, a fun team. Everyone liked watching the Yellow Jackets.
And Duke had begun a tremendous rise under Mike Krzyzewski, making the Final Four in 1986, ‘88 and ‘89.
Moreover, the two star point guards were always tied together. We might remember this wrong, but both strongly considered UNC. However, at one point, Anderson said he “didn’t want to be just another horse in Dean Smith’s stable,” and it’s safe to say that didn't go over well in Chapel Hill. And while Hurley - if memory serves - was interested in the Tar Heels, he didn't like being second choice. So Dean Smith didn’t get either one.
Hurley had his struggles as a freshman, certainly in terms of maturity. At one point Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski put together a video of Hurley pulling faces and on-court mini-tantrums to illustrate how he was coming across. Fans mocked him as Baby Hurley and guards like UNC’s King Rice and Anderson made his life miserable.
If Hurley was a bit of the turtle, Anderson was seen as a great prodigy and his recruitment to Georgia Tech was a huge coup for fellow New Yorker Cremins, and the two guards had some classic encounters. Hurley eventually emerged as perhaps the best point guard in college basketball history.
In this clip from their sophomore years, Anderson has his way with Hurley. Both guards led their teams to the Final Four in 1990, but in 1991, Hurley would play a crucial role in upsetting undefeated UNLV and helping the Blue Devils win their first national championships. He would help Duke to repeat the following season.
Watching these two battle is still something special.