Duke’s Pros Greater Than Carolina’s? Can’t Be!

There are certain laws of life that are so immutable, so ingrained that we never even think of them anymore. You don’t question gravity; you just know that it’s there and if you jump, you’ll fall. The sun will rise. The grass will grow. Clemson will play in the Thursday Night Les Robinson Invitational Play-In Game. We need these certainties in an uncertain world. They are our anchors.
One given in the ACC has always been that North Carolina produces the most and the best NBA players. It was never questioned. It was fact. Jordan. Perkins. Worthy. Cunningham. Wenstrom. Giants, all.


When Duke began to challenge Carolina’s ACC supremacy in the middle 80’s, that didn’t change things. In fact, that only helped to prove the maxim, as Duke’s players all seemed to flop at the next level. In fact, that too became something of a law, maybe more like a theorem – Duke players suck in the NBA.
It was only after the end of Dean Smith’s time that things started to change a bit. Carolina produced flops like Ed Cota and Joe Forte while a few Dukies actually gained footholds in the League – Grant Hill, Elton Brand, Alaa Abdelnaby.
Suddenly, today it was, I came to realization that up is down. Black is white. Herb Sendek is funny. Duke has a better collection of NBA players than North Carolina.
It’s hard to believe, hard to accept, but it’s true. Check this table of the current Carolina and Duke players in the NBA right now. It includes their points, rebounds, assists and minutes per game (I bolded the particularly good numbers in each category). Not only does Duke have more players in the league, ten to eight, they are better.

Player G MPG RPG APG PPG
Carlos Boozer 33 36.8 9.7 3.0 20.1
Corey Maggette 28 37.8 5.9 3.4 22.2
Elton Brand 30 37.3 8.8 2.9 18.6
Grant Hill 29 34.8 4.1 3.7 19.3
Luol Deng 29 28.8 5.3 2.3 12.9
Mike Dunleavy 30 31.4 5.2 2.8 11.6
Shane Battier 31 28.5 4.6 1.3 8.0
Christian Laettner 23 17.4 3.3 0.9 6.7
Chris Duhon 29 23.3 2.0 4.7 3.8
Dahntay Jones 21 11.1 1.6 0.3 4.1
Vince Carter 26 32.7 3.8 3.1 17.4
Brendan Haywood 27 28.3 7.1 0.9 9.6
Antawn Jamison 30 39.0 8.7 2.5 20.7
George Lynch 23 24.3 4.2 2.3 4.5
Jeff McInnis 31 38.3 2.3 5.7 15.6
Jerry Stackhouse 26 29.5 3.2 2.3 14.3
Rasheed Wallace 29 34.6 7.6 1.8 13.8
Scott Williams 17 8.5 1.6 0.4 1.9

Now, I’ve taken the same data, but sorted the players by who I think is better. This is subjective, of course, but you’d have a hard time convincing me that there’s a way to make things look much better for Carolina.

Player G MPG RPG APG PPG
Carlos Boozer 33 36.8 9.7 3.0 20.1
Antawn Jamison 30 39.0 8.7 2.5 20.7
Elton Brand 30 37.3 8.8 2.9 18.6
Corey Maggette 28 37.8 5.9 3.4 22.2
Grant Hill 29 34.8 4.1 3.7 19.3
Vince Carter 26 32.7 3.8 3.1 17.4
Jeff McInnis 31 38.3 2.3 5.7 15.6
Rasheed Wallace 29 34.6 7.6 1.8 13.8
Jerry Stackhouse 26 29.5 3.2 2.3 14.3
Luol Deng 29 28.8 5.3 2.3 12.9
Mike Dunleavy 30 31.4 5.2 2.8 11.6
Brendan Haywood 27 28.3 7.1 0.9 9.6
Shane Battier 31 28.5 4.6 1.3 8.0
George Lynch 23 24.3 4.2 2.3 4.5
Christian Laettner 23 17.4 3.3 0.9 6.7
Chris Duhon 29 23.3 2.0 4.7 3.8
Dahntay Jones 21 11.1 1.6 0.3 4.1
Scott Williams 17 8.5 1.6 0.4 1.9

Pretty shocking, isn’t it? Duke has four of the top five players. If Vince Carter ever fully recovers from his yeast infection, he will probably move higher in the list, but that won’t change the overall result. Even having Duke close in the comparison is Earth-moving.
So, what does this mean. Will the world spin backwards tomorrow? Will apples fall up? I don’t know.
I just don’t know.
I do know we’ll get through this together though. And then we’ll wait for McCants, Felton, May and Williams (Marvin, not Jawad) to set things straight.
p.s. You might wonder why I haven’t mentioned any other ACC schools. The simple reason is that all of them together probably don’t have enough pros to challenge either Carolina or Duke. It’s pretty much always been that way. Georgia Tech had a run of some good pros and Wake has a few, but otherwise, most schools put out one good player every five years or so. Hell, Virginia doesn’t even have one active player right now. There’s a reason why there’s so much hardware in Durham and Chapel Hill.

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