From Tokyo to Rio and everywhere in between, Duke and USA Basketball have shared many of the moments that have shaped the nation’s basketball identity.
Throughout the week on GoDuke.com, we'll take a closer look at the relationship between the two programs. Today we take a closer look at the 1990's.
The start of the decade was a busy year for Duke and USA Basketball with Blue Devils taking part in the Junior World Qualifying Tournament, the Goodwill Games and the FIBA World Championship.
Bound for Duke later in the summer of 1990, Grant Hill helped get USA Basketball’s summer schedule off to a great start, leading the U.S. to the gold medal at the Junior World Qualifying Tournament in Montevideo, Uruguay. With the win, the Americans qualified for the 1991 FIBA U19 World Championship.
Hill averaged 16.3 points per game to rank second on a U.S. squad that posted 109.3 per night and outscored its opponents by an average of 36.7 points. He also recorded a team-high 3.6 steals per game and added 6.1 rebounds to rank second on the team.
Krzyzewski and Laettner were tabbed to represent the U.S. on the world stage in both the Goodwill Games and the FIBA World Championship in 1990, with Bobby Hurley accompanying them to the former after bursting onto the national scene as a Duke freshman.
In Krzyzewski’s second USA Basketball head coaching appointment, he led the U.S. to a silver medal at the Goodwill Games in Seattle. The five-game run featured an impressive 112-95 victory over previously unbeaten Brazil in the semifinals and a furious late-game rally that came up just short against Yugoslavia in the title game.
Laettner averaged 4.2 points and 3.6 rebounds for the tournament, going a perfect 9-of-9 from the line, while Hurley averaged 1.2 points and 1.2 assists in a reserve role.
Little more than a week after finishing their run in Seattle, Krzyzewski, Laettner and the U.S. FIBA World Championship Team were taking the court in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A resilient but young team that averaged just over 20 years of age, the Krzyzewski-led squad trailed with less than two minutes remaining in five of its eight games but was able to gut out a bronze-medal finish in his third USA Basketball head coaching appointment.
Laettner posted averages of 6.9 points and 5.1 rebounds for the tournament, shooting a sparkling 23-of-26 (.885) at the free throw line.
On the heels of the program’s first national championship in 1991, Duke was at the forefront of USA Basketball with six players combining to help the U.S. win medals at three different tournaments, including two golds.
Hurley and the duo of Antonio Lang and Cherokee Parks were in action almost simultaneously at the World University Games and FIBA U19 World Championship, respectively, with the same outcome: international gold medals.
Suiting up for the U.S. in Sheffield, England, at the WUGs, Hurley averaged 4.3 points and a team-high 5.0 assists per game to orchestrate an offensive attack that scored 103.2 points per game and had an average scoring margin of nearly 40 points. Team USA finished off the tournament with a 96-56 win over previously unbeaten Canada in the gold medal game.
Meanwhile, in Edmonton, Lang was playing hero for the U.S. in the semifinals of the FIBA U19 World Championship against Yugoslavia. With the game deadlocked at 72-72 and 23 seconds on the clock, Lang was fouled in the act of shooting and made both free throws to give the U.S. a two-point lead. After a defensive stop, Lang calmly made two more free throws that proved to be the winning margin in a 76-74 U.S. victory.
The Americans capped the gold-medal run with a 90-85 overtime win over Italy in the final. For the tournament, Lang averaged 7.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals, while Parks – headed to Duke in the fall – contributed 4.5 points and 4.5 boards.
Laettner, Grant Hill and Thomas Hill gave Duke three players on the U.S. Pan American Games Team, making it the only program with more than one representative on the squad. Despite cruising through pool play with a 4-0 record, the U.S. was defeated in the semifinals before rebounding to beat host nation Cuba to finish with the bronze medal.
Laettner put up averages of 14.1 points and 6.0 rebounds – both good for second on the team – while shooting .917 (44-of-48) from the free throw line. Grant Hill chipped in with averages of 5.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game and Thomas Hill added 4.5 points per contest.
In the fall of 1991, Laettner was named USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year, becoming the first Duke player to garner the award.
In basketball circles, the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona will forever be remembered for the Dream Team, perhaps the most dominant and iconic basketball team ever assembled. Coming off of its second consecutive NCAA championship, Duke was represented on both the sideline, with Krzyzewski serving as an assistant coach, and the court, as Laettner was the only collegian selected to the team.
Averaging an Olympic-record 117.3 points per game, the USA won by an average margin of 43.8 points on its way to the gold medal. Laettner saw action in all eight games for the Dream Team, averaging 4.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per contest. He continued his run of stellar free throw shooting in a USA uniform, going 18-of-20 (.900) during the 1992 Olympics. After four consecutive years of donning the red, white and blue in the summer, the gold-medal run in Barcelona was Laettner’s final competition with USA Basketball.
In 2010, Laettner became a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame when the Dream Team was inducted as a group.
Lang earned his second gold medal with USA Basketball in 1993, representing Duke and the U.S. at the World University Games in Buffalo, N.Y.
He averaged 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds for a dynamic team that netted an average of 107.9 per game and won its seven contests in Buffalo by an average margin of 46.9 points.
Parks picked up two medals in the summer of 1993, helping lead the U.S. to silver at the first FIBA Americas U20 Championship and gold at the inaugural FIBA U21 World Championship.
Following a standout junior season at Duke, Parks earned another opportunity at an international medal in the summer of 1994 and helped the U.S. come away with bronze at the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Though the Americans’ hopes of gold were erased with a semifinal loss to Italy, the squad rebounded with a win over host Russia in the bronze medal game. Parks played in all five games in St. Petersburg, averaging 9.6 points and ranking second on the team with an average of 6.6 rebounds.
The latter part of the summer saw three of Duke’s incoming freshmen lead the U.S. to an 8-0 record and a gold medal at the Junior World Qualifying Tournament in Santa Rosa, Argentina.
Ricky Price averaged 10.9 points to finish as one of seven players to net double figures for a team that scored 106.1 points per contest and posted an average margin of victory of 40.1 points.
Trajan Langdon averaged 5.8 points during the tournament, shooting .476 (10-of-21) from outside the arc, and Steve Wojciechowski added 1.6 points and 3.0 assists to help the U.S. qualify for the 1995 FIBA U19 World Championship
Former Duke star and two-time national champion Brian Davis helped the U.S. rebound from an 0-2 start to claim the silver medal at the 1995 Pan American Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina. A team comprised of younger professional players, the team reeled off four consecutive wins before falling to the host nation in the gold medal game.
Davis averaged 10.0 points and 3.7 rebounds for the U.S., going 24-of-31 (.774) from the free throw line for the tournament.
After helping the U.S. qualify for the tournament in 1994, Langdon and Wojciechowski returned to USA Basketball for the FIBA U19 World Championship in Athens, Greece, and were joined on the squad by incoming Duke freshman Taymon Domzalski.
Langdon averaged 8.5 points and 3.1 rebounds to lead the Duke contingent as the U19 team struggled and finished with a 4-4 record. Domzalski, one of just three high-schoolers on the team, averaged 4.8 points and 3.2 rebounds in five appearances, while Wojciechowski chipped in with 1.8 points and 1.0 assists per game.
The summer of 1996 gave USA Basketball in Atlanta an opportunity to both defend its Olympic gold medal and carry on the Dream Team legacy on home soil. Grant Hill and a collection of some of the game’s other marquee players did just that, averaging 102.3 points and outscoring their opponents by nearly 32 per game.
Hill averaged 9.7 points, 3.5 assists and a team-best 3.0 steals in six games as the U.S. rolled through the eight-game slate. His best performance of the Olympics came in a 133-70 rout of China, as he tossed in 19 points to contribute to the highest single-game scoring total in U.S. Olympic history.
The spring of 1997 saw Duke’s first foray into the Nike Hoop Summit, an annual game played under international rules that pits the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Select Team against the World Select Team. Duke had four incoming freshmen on the U.S. roster – William Avery, Shane Battier, Elton Brand and Chris Burgess – making it the only school with more than one representative in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
A tight contest throughout, Team USA emerged with a 97-90 win thanks to some clutch play from Avery down the stretch and some timely free throw shooting as a team.
Brand led the Duke contingent with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Battier had eight point, seven rebounds and three steals in just 23 minutes. Burgess also drew a starting assignment and scored four points, while Avery came off the bench for six points.
Brand was back in a USA Basketball uniform in the summer of 1998 after one of the most outstanding freshman seasons in Duke history, helping the U.S. roll to a gold medal at the Goodwill Games at Madison Square Garden.
Starting all five games not far from his hometown, Brand ranked second on the team with an average of 17.0 points and led the team with marks of 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He was nearly unstoppable in the post during the five-game run, shooting .650 from the field (39-of-60).
Later that summer, Langdon returned to Athens, Greece, - the site of Team USA’s seventh-place finish at the 1995 FIBA U19 World Championship – to represent his country at the FIBA World Championship. This time, he left with a medal after helping Team USA ease past host nation Greece in the bronze medal game.
Langdon averaged 2.9 points per game and shot .571 from three-point territory for a team comprised of both college players and professionals.
As 1998 drew to a close, Brand was honored as the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.
Duke once again placed the most incoming freshmen in the Nike Hoop Summit in 1999, sending the trio of Mike Dunleavy, Casey Sanders and Jason Williams to Tampa for the fifth annual event.
Williams put on a dynamic performance in a 107-95 USA win, totaling 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds in 29 minutes. Dunleavy was also a member of the starting lineup and accounted for three points, while Sanders registered five points and five rebounds off the bench.
Later that summer, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Duke rising senior Chris Carrawell got a jump start on what would be an outstanding senior season by helping the U.S. claim gold at the 1999 World University Games.
In eight games, including six starts, he averaged 8.3 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting better than 55 percent from the field.
Coming Tomorrow: The 2000's