Former UNLV star Larry Johnson is irrevocably connected with Duke Basketball.
In 1990, he and his UNLV teammates laid a major whipping on Duke in the NCAA championship game, winning 103-73.
In the 1991 Final Four of course, Christian Laettner and Bobby Hurley were joined by Grant Hill and Duke knocked off the undefeated Rebels in an epic upset, 79-77.
It marked both the end of UNLV as a national power and Duke’s move to become the dominant program in the sport.
Johnson was a tremendously powerful player and in the 1991 draft, the Charlotte Hornets selected him first. He had a brilliant start with the Hornets but a back injury in 1993 changed the trajectory of his career and, in the end, his back woes shortened his career, forcing him to retire in 2001 as a member of the New York Knicks.
Coincidentally, Duke won the championship in 2001 behind an astonishing game from Shane Battier.