DURHAM, N.C. – As part of its Top 75 Celebration of March Madness, the NCAA has released a list of its 75 best players, all-time best teams and all-time top moments in the history of the men’s basketball championship tournament. The list heavily features Duke, which placed six former Blue Devils among the top 75 NCAA Tournament players, had five of top 35 moments and one of the 25 best NCAA Tournament teams.
Representing Duke among the top 75 players were Danny Ferry (1986-89), Bobby Hurley (1990-93), Johnny Dawkins (1984-86), Christian Laettner (1989-92), Grant Hill (1991-94) and Shane Battier (1998-2001). Each of those six have their jersey numbers retired at Duke and each was part of a Duke team that advanced to a national championship game. Hurley, Laettner, Hill and Battier all won NCAA titles during their tenure at Duke, while Dawkins and Ferry took Duke to its first national championship game under head coach Mike Krzyzewski in 1986. Laettner (1991), Hurley (1992) and Battier (2001), meanwhile, were all named NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player during their championship seasons.
Laettner holds NCAA Tournament records for points (407), games played (23), games started (23), free throws made (142) and free throws attempted (167). He is also tied for third in field goals (128) and sixth in tournament history with 169 rebounds. Hurley holds the NCAA Tournament assists record (145) and is second in three-point field goals with 42, while Hill owns the steals record with 39 thefts.
Duke’s six selections tied for the most of any team on the list, matching North Carolina and UCLA.
Among Duke’s top moments highlighted on the list were Laettner’s game-winning jumper at the buzzer against Connecticut in 1990 that sent Duke to the Final Four, Duke’s upset of undefeated UNLV in the 1991 national championship game, Laettner’s more well-known game-winner in the 1992 Sweet 16 against Kentucky and Duke’s down-to-the-wire win over Butler in the 2010 national championship.
Duke’s 1991-92 national championship team, which featured All-Americas Laettner, Hurley and Hill, was picked as one of the 25 best teams in the history of the tournament. That group went 34-2 on the way to Duke’s second consecutive national title which Duke claimed following an NCAA run that included wins over Campbell (82-56), Iowa (75-62), Seton Hall (81-69), Kentucky (104-103, OT), Indiana (81-78) and Michigan (71-51).