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What Was His Name? Duke Edition

Posted on Mar 6, 2015 by

Growing up rooting for North Carolina, it’s hard to forget many Duke players. The likes of those as random as Daniel Ewing, Roshawn McLeod, Ricky Price and Rasheed Sulaimon stick out in the memories of many Tar Heel supporters. Fans can even reel off the list of dismissed players transfers to leave the Duke program.

Joey Beard, Eric Boateng, Jamal Boykin, Chris Burgess, Olek Czyz, Mike Chappell, Michael Gbinije, Taylor King, Billy McCaffrey, Alex Murphy, Semi Ojeleye, Marty Pocius, Andre Sweet, Elliot Williams

For most college basketball fans, that is a who’s who list of “What Was His Name” Duke players. Not for a North Carolina fan. You have to dig deep into the bowels of the Duke record book to find a player that makes Tar Heel fans go, “oh yeah… that guy.” Lee Melchionni is not an acceptable answer because everybody knows Lee Macaroni. Brian Zoubek? Pssh, household name both in Duke basketball lure and the pastry industry. It took extensive research and minutes of scouring the numerous college basketball resources available to us, namely the Internet, but we’ve found the guy. This guy made only 55 shots in his time at Duke, which is 26 fewer than Joel James has so far in his Carolina career. This guy made five fewer three-point shots in his career at Duke than Nate Britt has this season alone. This guy scored four fewer points in Duke – Carolina games than Desmond Hubert.

This guy is Kyrie Irving.

Yes, the three-time NBA All Star and starting point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers played at Duke. Also known as Dexter Strickland’s high school teammate, Uncle Drew played in just 11 games in his college career thanks due to a foot injury and, to be honest, I only remember two of those games. I recall Irving scoring approximately half of his career points in a Duke win over Michigan State early in the season. I then remember watching him somehow look like the second best NBA prospect on the court as Derrick Williams and Arizona mollywhopped the Blue Devils in the Sweet 16.

Derrick Williams, by the way, would be a perfect subject for this feature if the Heels face Arizona before Tar Heel Depot is purchased by Yahoo for millions of dollars.

It doesn’t get much more random than a guy who played in one more game than Casey Peters and tallied fewer assists than Mason Plumlee in 2010-11. If you’re churning out those numbers and still getting drafted No. 1 overall, I can’t wait to see where Grayson Allen goes in this summer’s NBA Draft. So the next time you turn on a Cleveland Cavaliers game and see Kyrie Irving take a contested jump shot rather than pass to LeBron James, you can say, “oh yeah… he went to Duke.”

Bryan Ives — Contributing Editor

Affiliations: ESPNU, SBJ, IC,

Bio: Bryan made the peculiar decision a few years back to leave the finance industry and pursue sports journalism with his blog, Thrown Away To Worthy. So far, so good as Bryan has worked and written for Inside Carolina, SportsBusiness Journal and currently for ESPNU / SEC Network (gasp!). A Charlotte native, Bryan is a proud Tar Heel alumnus with a brief stop at Northwestern.

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