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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

The ACC School Mount Rushmores: Duke

The Confidential has been having some fun with league-wide coaches Mount Rushmores.  Football and Basketball, plus polls for each of football and basketball to share your thoughts.  In fact, it was so sufficiently fun and controversial that we are going to do school-wide Mount Rushmores now.  And we will only put three people on the list, leaving you–our readers–to comment as to who should be the fourth.  We will not do polls anymore.  For today, let’s go with a school that helps define the ACC: Duke.

As we discussed previously, these school-wide Mount Rushmores are limited to sports only–players and coaches.  That being said, athletes that have gone on to have careers that have furthered their legend are rewarded also.   And negative publicity will also be factored in.  We do not believe that USC would put OJ Simpson on its Mount Rushmore.  It is what it is.  Admittedly, there will be a recency bias too.  While historical accomplishments are typically quite impressive, coaching college football (as an example) in 1955 was a lot different than coaching today, where coaches rarely get 5 years to make their mark anymore.  Similarly, in an era of up to 14 college football games or 40 college basketball games, as well as daunting pressure from the fans and media, today’s game is more challenging.  That’s our opinion and we are sticking to it.

If Notre Dame was all about football, Duke has to be all about hoops, right?

The Confidential gives the first spot to Coach K If it needs to be explained, you haven’t been following sports since Jimmy Carter was running the country.  You want longevity?  30+ years at Duke.  You want success?  The most wins of any mens basketball coach ever.  You want national titles?  How about four of them for Duke in his tenure.  Throw in some gold medals and the absence of serious controversy, and you’ve got yourself one of the easiest Mount Rushmore spots ever.

The #2 spot goes to Christian Laettner.  Laettner’s pro career fizzled, but he had an unbelievable career at Duke.  He was there for two of Duke’s national titles.  One of those involved beating a UNLV team along the way that most people considered unbeatable–having won the national title the year before (beating Duke by 30 points) and going undefeated.  Duke and Laettner won.  He was player of the year in 1992.  He is also responsible for one of the greatest basketball moments ever… the shot:

He won a gold medal later than year as the only college student on the Dream Team. 

The #3 spot for Duke is as difficult as any.  We’ll turn on the way-back machine and select Art Heyman.  This is what the Duke Hall of Fame has to say about Heyman:

The greatest scorer in Duke History, Arthur Bruce Heyman was selected the NCAA Player of the year in 1963 after three years of All-America selections. He is still considered by many as the most dominant player ever to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He averaged 25.1 points per game during his three year career and is the only Duke Player ever to be named team MVP three times. He was ACC Athlete of the year in 1963 and was the number one draft pick that spring by the New York Knicks. He still holds Duke school records for most points, most free throws and highest career scoring average. Heyman under the tutelage of coach Vic Bubas led Blue Devil basketball back into the national limelight in the early sixties and to the NCAA final four in 1963, where Heyman was named the MVP of the finals. He saved one of his greatest performances for last against arch-rival North Carolina in the 1963 regular season finale. Heyman poured in a career high 40 points and grabbed a career high 24 rebounds in leading Duke to a 106-93 victory in Durham.

So, yeah, with all the great players to come through…. Heyman still holds records.  We’ll give him the nod.

A lot of options for #4.  Football’s Sonny Jurgensen.  Will some folks give Steve Spurrier a vote?  Eddie Cameron–athletic director, football coach, basketball coach, and even one of the founders of our beloved A.C.C.   And then many modern hoops players: Tommy Amaker, Shane Battier, Jay Bilas, Johnny Dawkins, Danny Ferry, Mike Gminski, Dick Groat, Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley, Jim Spanarkel, JJ Redick, Jason Williams… the list goes on and on.

Who will be the Confidential’s third and fourth on its Mount Rushmore for Duke?

Other Mount Rushmores:

  1. Maryland Preliminary   Maryland Final
  2. Boston College    Boston College Final
  3. Wake Forest   Wake Forest Final
  4. Miami   Miami Final
  5. Virginia Tech
  6. Syracuse   Syracuse Final
  7. Virginia   Virginia Final
  8. Pittsburgh
  9. North Carolina State
  10. Clemson
  11. Georgia Tech
  12. Louisville
  13. Notre Dame
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