Duke Report

Duke Basketball: What’s the Best Number That Hasn’t Been Retired?

Cameron Indoor Stadium

Many numbers hang from the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium. Numbers on jerseys with names like Redick, Dawkins, Williams, Laettner, and Hurley. However, there are also many numbers that have been worn by other incredible players at Duke that haven’t been retired. Numbers on the jerseys of players who were All-Americans, National Champions, and top picks in the NBA draft. It shows how truly special it is for a Duke player to have his number retired.

There are still numbers being used by Duke players that have a rich history. Here are a few of the most decorated numbers in the program. What’s your pick for the best number that hasn’t been retired? We encourage you to vote in the poll and leave your comments.

#21 – Jay Bilas, Trajan Langdon, DeMarcus Nelson, Chris Duhon, Robert Brickey, Antonio Lang

No. 21 is likely the favorite on this list. Jay Bilas is a fan-favorite among Duke followers, especially on Twitter, and there are many other great players that have worn #21 at Duke. Trajan Langdon was one of the greatest shooters in Blue Devil history while DeMarcus Nelson and Chris Duhon are often talked about as two very underrated guys who were solid all-around leaders. Antonio Lang was a solid role-player and Robert Brickey was an incredible athlete. No. 21 doesn’t have much star power, but it’s a deep collection of talent.

Current Blue Devil wearing No. 21: Amile Jefferson

#30 – Jon Scheyer, Seth Curry, Alaa Abdelnaby, Dahntay Jones

If Jon Scheyer played at almost any other school in the country, No. 30 would likely be hanging from the rafters. Scheyer had an outstanding career at Duke – averaging double-figure scoring all four years and leading the team to a national championship as a senior. Scheyer was also an All-American in his senior season. No. 30 also belongs to two of the best transfers in Duke history – Seth Curry and Dahntay Jones. And Alaa Abdelnaby finished off his Duke career with a great senior season in 1990.

There is no current Duke player wearing No. 30.

#12 – Steve Wojciechowski, Kyle Singler, Tate Armstrong, Vince Taylor, David Henderson, Thomas Hill

No. 21 is the favorite, but No. 12 isn’t far behind. A starting lineup featuring Duke players who have worn No. 12 would win quite a few games. Steve Wojciechowski was an incredibly tough point guard who played smothering defense and provided tremendous leadership. Kyle Singler is a national champion and Final Four MVP who had an outstanding four-year career in Durham. And Tate Armstrong, Vince Taylor, David Henderson, & Thomas Hill all had important roles and contributions during their time.

Current Blue Devil wearing No. 12: Alex Murphy

#42 – Elton Brand, Lance Thomas, Mike Lewis, Bob Fleischer

Had Elton Brand elected to return to Duke for his junior season, there’s a good chance No. 42 would also be on the list of retired numbers at Duke. Brand was the National Player of the Year as a sophomore and helped carry the team to the 1999 Final Four. Unfortunately for Blue Devil fans, Brand declared for the NBA Draft following the 1998-99 season and became the No. 1 pick in the 1999 NBA Draft. Along with Brand, Lance Thomas was a key piece of Duke’s 2010 National Championship team and Mike Lewis and Bob Fleischer were two great No. 42′s from the Pre-Coach K era.

There is no current Duke player wearing No. 42.

Which number is the best? Are there any other numbers that you think should be considered?

Photo by BaldBoris.

2 Comments

  1. OZZIE4DUKE

    July 22, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    #34 should be retired before all the others. It should have been retired for Jimmy Spanarkel. If Mike Dunleavy hadn’t left unexpectedly before his senior season, and he would have been a favorite for NPOY, it would have been a double ceremony for both players – I had talked with Nan about it before MD left, and she liked the idea. Ryan Kelly has added to the lore of #34, but he shouldn’t have had a chance to wear it! Best wishes to Andre Dawkins as he dons #34 this coming season!

    • David Aldridge

      July 22, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      I consider it a privilege that Ozzie commented on this article. The Great and Powerful Oz should have his own jersey hanging from the rafters at Duke!

      Great point about #34, Ozzie.

      I’m also a big fan of No. 2. Nolan Smith was fantastic, Luol Deng was great (although only a year), and Quinn Cook also appears to be on his way to an outstanding career.