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YouTube Gold: Johnny Dawkins Goes All Clutch In Cameron

There's a reason why he’s now in the Hall of Fame

Clarkson NCAA Archive
 DALLAS, TX - MARCH 31: Johnny Dawkins #24 of the Duke Blue Devils dribbles up court against the Louisville Cardinals during the 1986 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship held at Reunion Arena on March 31, 1986 in Dallas, Texas. Louisville defeated Duke 72-69 to win the national title.
Photo by Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

When Johnny Dawkins was at Duke, he at times seemed like an unlikely star. He was seriously thin (and remains so to this day), nearly spindly. He had an odd center of gravity too, or at least looked that way from the cheap seats.

But he was wiry strong and unbelievably quick. One of his most famous plays at Duke was a backwards dunk over two Navy defenders in 1986. It was not something you’d necessarily expect to see from a thin 6-2 guard on a fast break.

But he could do stuff like that. Dawkins was a phenomenal athlete.

As great as that play was though, we can think of one that was even more impressive. In fact, it was downright badass and there is no better way to celebrate his induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Wednesday night than his brilliant clutch play to take out Notre Dame in Cameron in 1986.

This was the first year that Duke really became a great team under Mike Krzyzewski and his pal Digger Phelps brought his Irish in and gave Duke a hell of a game.

With time running out, Notre Dame had called time out and drew up a play for their great guard David Rivers, who backed Dawkins into the lane and tried a jumper. But Dawkins went up with him, Mano a Mano, and blocked his would-be buzzer beater. It was one of the great plays in the history of Cameron Indoor Stadium.