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Was This Duke’s Biggest Recruiting Miss Ever?

Consider what might have happened if Duke had allowed Stephen Curry to walk on.

Davidson v Duke
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 01: Stephen Curry #30 of the Davidson Wildcats tries to block Taylor King #30 of the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Bobcats Arena on December 1, 2007 in Charlotte, North Carolina
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Like every program, Duke Basketball has had some significant recruiting misses. There are the obvious ones like Kobe Bryant, who skipped college to go directly to the NBA, Curtis Hunter, who chose UNC over Duke early in Mike Krzyzewski’s tenure and Harrison Barnes, who the Duke staff really felt they had a great shot with, who of course also chose UNC over the Blue Devils.

Then there’s Chris Mullin staying home to play for St. John’s and Alan Henderson picking Indiana over Duke and Barry reminds us not to forget Bill Bradley, who would have joined Art Heyman and Jeff Mullins for an incredibly dynamic trio in the early 1960’s.

Not all of them were terrible losses. Hunter had an injury-plagued career and Duke’s backup choice, David Henderson, actually had a much better college career.

Still, big misses hurt and one of the biggest was Stephen Curry.

As a high school player, Curry was small and seen as a three-star guard. He really wanted to come to Duke, even offering to be a walk-on, but there wasn’t a spot for him.

So he ended up at Davidson, where, you know, he did pretty well.

Gross understatement: he was brilliant at Davidson, having one of the greatest careers in the history of college basketball.

Duke had the consolation of getting his younger brother, Seth, who transferred after a superb freshman year at Liberty. Like his brother, Seth was somewhat undersized in high school and therefore overlooked as well. He later joined Stephen in the NBA, though he had to work a lot harder to make it as an undrafted player, but he has also done well.