- The Washington Times - Monday, March 27, 2006

Myth: Duke doesn’t produce NBA players.

Fact: The Blue Devils have produced more current NBA players (11) than any other school.

North Carolina, Connecticut, Arizona, Kentucky and Kansas are tied for second with 10 each. UCLA has eight and Maryland seven.

These numbers indicate (1) how well these schools recruit top talent and (2) how well they develop that talent.

But make no mistake: The first part of that equation is the most important because short-timers like Corey Maggette and Luol Deng were going to be good pros no matter where they spent their college layovers.

The Duke players are an interesting lot because they often have been more famous for their poor decisions and even worse luck.

Danny Ferry chose to play in Europe rather than in Los Angeles for the Clippers. Bobby Hurley and Jay Williams had auto accidents that all but ended their careers. Grant Hill had six All-Star seasons but missed the next four with a series of ankle injuries and complications.

But now Duke alums are enjoying a resurgence, led by Elton Brand’s MVP-type season. He is joined by Maggette, Deng, Hill, Shane Battier, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Duhon, Dahntay Jones, Daniel Ewing and Shavlik Randolph.

Four of North Carolina’s 10 players are rookies who played for last season’s national championship team.

Current Tar Heels coach Roy Williams also can claim some credit for all 10 of Kansas’ pros. He coached in Lawrence for 15 seasons.

Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun consistently has produced pro players going back to 17-year veteran Clifford Robinson.

As for Kentucky and Maryland, their numbers are an indication of how good those programs used to be.

Six of Kentucky’s 10 pros played on Rick Pitino’s 1996 national title team. Now Pitino is at Louisville, and Kentucky doesn’t snag the top talent anymore.

Four of Maryland’s seven pros played on Gary Williams’ 2002 national title team. The Terrapins haven’t made the NCAA tournament the past two seasons.

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