As Duke basketball fans, we often take our situation for granted.
Instead of appreciating the fact that Duke basketball is one of the premier programs in college sports and has a team capable of contending for championships almost every year, we spend more time focused on a particular team’s flaws or looking at what-ifs and projected lineups based on potential recruiting classes.
Sometimes, it’s good to take a deep breath and be thankful for all the great moments we get to experience.
To help with that, all of us on the Duke Report team came up with our favorite Duke basketball memories. Here we go!
Chris Summerville – @DukeOfHoops
My favorite Duke memory is of course Christian Laettner’s shot against Kentucky.
I was 11 at the time and watching with my parents. We were all on the edge of our seats in the living room the entire game. When the shot went in, I remember jumping off the couch into my dad’s arms and we were all cheering as loud as we can.
My cousin, who’s a UNC fan, said he could hear the entire state of NC erupt in joy that night.
Freddie Hodges – @Skeelow22
I have many special memories, but getting to work the 2015 Final Four and standing on the court watching the Duke players and coaches cut the nets down is my top memory by far.
I will never forget the entire 2015 Final Four experience. Sitting on press row and watching Duke be down by double digits in the second half, I started to tell myself, “Hey, man, even if Duke loses this was an awesome experience.” My faith was shaken, but then we all saw what happened. Grayson Allen rallied the team as Duke came back to win its 5th national championship. I caught the last few seconds of the game from my spot on press row in video below.
Anytime working as a media member you always have to act professional. But when the confetti started raining and the fireworks went off, it was time to celebrate with the team, other media members, coaches, and Duke fans. I walked on the court and well…I had to get a selfie with the Blue Devil as we celebrated championship #5. I took pictures as the team cut down the nets. But one moment I am very proud of was capturing in video “One Shining Moment” of the Duke players and coaches on stage…(not the version you see on tv with the highlights of entire tourney). I zoomed in as I saw Coach K wipe tears away from Quinn Cook’s face.
Brian Evans – @BdotEdot
2004 OT Win in Chapel Hill
Chris Duhon’s game winning layup is one of the best moments in the history of the Duke-UNC rivalry. The 2004 game in Chapel Hill served as a sort of reset in the rivalry. It was Roy Williams’ first game against Duke as head coach at UNC. This might be one of the more underrated teams in Duke history too. Senior Chris Duhon led a talented team that featured freshman star Luol Deng, junior guard Daniel Ewing, and sophomores JJ Redick and Shelden Williams.
Duke trailed late before digging in on defense and taking the lead before Jawad Williams tied the game with a 3 to send it to OT. Rashad McCants made a game tying 3 before Duhon went end to end and hit the reverse layup with 6 seconds left. Duke would win the second game Durham in another nail biter and went on to reach the Final Four that season.
Zion Olojede – @DukeNBA
The Austin Rivers Buzzer Beater
It’s always great to beat North Carolina but beating the Heels on a buzzer beater in the Dean Dome? You can’t script a better moment. Everyone remembers where they were for that game. I was just satisfied with the Blue Devils’ effort to get back into the game late. I thought that alone was something to build on, especially being on the road, but when Rivers’ three hit all nylon, I lost it. The shot still gives me chills today.
Jim Oliver – @DukeReport
My favorite Duke Basketball memory is from 1992. It was the Duke vs Kentucky Regional Final game, you know, the one with “The Shot.” I remember being so upset when Sean Woods hit that impossible one-hander over Christian Laettner. I turned off the TV in anger, mad that last year’s “Destiny Darlings” lost in the Elite Eight to Kentucky.
Luckily, cooler heads prevailed, mostly because my Dad scolded my behavior. I turned the game back on and was able to watch Christian Laettner hit the most improbable shot. I immediately jumped up and started celebrating. In my excitement, I nearly broke the ceiling fan in our family room. Many life lessons were learned that day.
David Aldridge – @davidmaldridge
The 2001 season was full of awesome moments, including a national championship, but my favorite will always be the unbelievable comeback at Maryland. The ending of this game has become known as the “Miracle Minute,” when Duke erased a 10-point deficit in the final 55 seconds to send the game to overtime and ultimately steal a victory over a Top 10 Maryland team.
This was a time when the Duke-Maryland series was peaking in intensity, and many in the national media were suggesting that this game was becoming a bigger rivalry than Duke-UNC (obviously, they were wrong.)
Once the final buzzer sounded and the Duke players began celebrating the victory, I remember running around my house screaming and celebrating like I was right there with them.
What’s your favorite Duke basketball memory? Let us know in the comments section or on social media!