Some of our favorite blue devils

Duke has had wonderful players over the years who have blown everyone away. Johnny Dawkins, Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, Brandon Ingram, Marvin Bagley, Zion Williamson and Paolo Banchero come to mind.

But there were also a number of players who were…different. More charismatic than most people.

Let’s take a look at a few of them.

  • Art Heyman. In the annals of Dukedom, no one is a larger-than-life character in quite the same way. Heyman was a brilliant talent but a free spirit and hedonist. If he were alive and in school today, we wonder if he might be diagnosed with ADHD or something, because he always seemed to seek stimulation and his attention span was maybe not. not be the best. King Arthur was the greatest bon vivant in Duke history.
  • Steve Vandenberg. Another Bubas-era player, Vandenberg, idolized Jerry Lee Lewis – and had chops like his, too. He could do the whole act, right down to using his shoes on the keyboard. We understand that he used to play the Mustang Club occasionally, unlike the average Duke student in the 1960s.
  • Mark Corbeau. Another guy who loved to party, Crow was an average, fun-loving player. He used to prepare for her foul shots by dribbling with one hand and patting her when she bounced. His greatest contribution to Duke may have made a huge impression on Kenny Dennard, who ultimately chose Duke over Wake Forest and a few other schools, at least in part because of the impression Crow made.
  • Kenny Denard. The only player in Duke history, ACC history, and perhaps college basketball history to pose naked for a centerback, with only a strategically placed basketball.
  • Gene banks. Banks was almost in Heyman’s class as a charismatic bon vivant. In his final game at Cameron, he threw roses at the Crazies and then hit the shot that put Carolina’s game into overtime, where Duke won. No one had ever enlightened Cameron the way Banks had.
  • Billy King. A defensive savant, King could keep anyone on the field and stop them – but he could barely hit a layup. As incredible as it is to watch him strangle great players, he has struggled with anything other than a dunk. We’ve seen him take over a media day in ways impossible to describe.
  • Chris Carwell. Carrawell is one of the most genuine people to come through Duke, and we’re not just talking about basketball. He is compulsively candid and funny as hell. It’s also impossible not to love him.
  • Shane Batter. The ultimate blue devil in many ways. There are so many great stories about Battier that it’s hard to narrow them down. The time he watched a documentary about monks and the will of Shaolin – then went out and lit a team from three points. It was when no one thought he could shoot. But our favorite Battier story was this: Duke had held the No. 1 spot in the ACC for most of his career. When Duke scrambled briefly and then reclaimed first place, someone asked Battier how he felt: “normal.” And said with a smirk.
  • Jason Williams. An amazing talent, the truth about Williams is that he’s a bit of a nerd. Which, at Duke, isn’t a bad thing.
  • Dahntay Jones. A close friend of J-Will, Jones pushed the bad boy at Duke as much as anyone since Laettner. Virginia fans are probably still mad at the pushups he did after dunking more than half the team.

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