DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke University men's basketball program is well represented in the NBA Playoffs this season as 10 former Blue Devils have helped guide their teams to postseason play. Nine of the 10 players will be in the Eastern Conference playoffs with five Blue Devils facing off in the Chicago Bulls-Indiana Pacers series.
The Bulls-Pacers series begins on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the United Center in Chicago. Former Duke standouts Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng are both starters on the top-seeded Chicago team that closed the season with an NBA-best 62-20 record. Boozer, an All-America selection in 2002, averaged 17.5 points and 9.6 rebounds in 59 regular season games. Deng, an all-conference selection in his only season in Durham, started all 82 games and averages 17.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game.
The Indiana rotation features Mike Dunleavy, Dahntay Jones and Josh McRoberts. That trio combines to average 24.9 points, 11.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Dunleavy, a second team All-America in 2002, recorded 11.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 61 games. McRoberts, a second team All-ACC pick in 2007, averages 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds with 51 starts. Jones, an All-ACC selection in 2003, has played in 45 games and averages 6.3 points per game.
Elton Brand will lead his Philadelphia 76ers into a playoff series with the Miami Heat beginning on Saturday at 3:30 pm. Brand, the 1999 National Player of the Year, averaged 15.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while guiding the 76ers to a 41-41 regular season record. Philadelphia is also led by head coach Doug Collins, the father of Duke associate head coach Chris Collins.
J.J. Redick and Chris Duhon will also be in action on Saturday (7 p.m.) when the Orlando Magic takes on the Atlanta Hawks. Redick, a two-time National Player of the Year, averages 10.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He has missed 17 straight games with a lower abdominal strain but is expected to be ready for the opening round of the playoffs. Duhon, the 2001 ACC Rookie of the Year, is a key reserve off the Orlando bench.
Shane Battier, the 2001 NCAA National Player of the Year, returned to Memphis in a trade deadline deal and helped the Grizzlies cap off the regular season 46-36 overall. Memphis takes on the Western Conference top-seed San Antonio on Sunday at 1 p.m. Battier is averaging 5.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 23 games with the Grizzlies.
Shelden Williams, a two-time National Defensive Player of the Year at Duke, is a member of a New York Knicks team that will face the Boston Celtics in the opening round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs. Williams has played in 17 games (six starts) with the Knicks since joining the team from Denver following a trade deadline deal. He is averaging 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game while shooting 54.0 percent from the field.
Duke's 10 former players in the NBA Playoffs are the most by any school. Florida and Kansas each have eight former players in action in the 2011 NBA Playoffs. A complete schedule for the NBA Playoffs is available at www.nba.com.