Duke basketball holds one of the richest histories in all of college hoops. Likewise, several Hall of Famers and NBA stars have undergone the program of one of the greatest college mentors ever: Mike Krzyzewski.
The legendary Duke coach has certainly seen a lot of great players come and go. Recently, per Shawk Krest of Sports Illustrated, Krzyzewski singled out two players whom he considered the best in team history: Grant Hill and Christian Laettner.
Krzyzewski called Hill the “most talented player”, while he considered Laettner as the “most accomplished.”
“Grant (Hill) was the most talented player we’ve coached at Duke,” Mike Krzyzewski said. “Really, he could be president of the U.S. That would be nice, by the way.
“The most accomplished player is (Christian) Laettner. In the history of college basketball, he’s got to be in the top three who played college basketball. If you win a national championship you have to win six games in the NCAA Tournament. If you’re here for four years, the best you could be is 24-0. That’d be something. That’s (Lew) Alcindor like. He was 18-0 (in three years). Laettner was 21-2. He’s the leading scorer in the history of the NCAA Tournament. Just magnificent. I like both those guys.”
Hill and Laettner won two national championships together in 1991 and 1992. The two Duke stars connected on arguably the greatest play in college basketball history, when Hill flung a 75-foot pass to Laettner who then knocked down the turnaround fadeaway game-winner to win the 1992 championship.
Christian Laettner didn’t find as much success in the NBA as he did in college. In 13 seasons in the league, he played for six different teams and turned in career averages of 12.8 points and 6.7 rebounds.
Grant Hill, meanwhile, became an instant superstar when he arrived in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons. He won Co-Rookie of the Year in 1994 and became a seven-time All-Star.
Unfortunately, injuries derailed Hill’s career right in the middle of his prime. He did, however, revitalized his career late and wound up playing 18 years in the NBA.