With the 2020-21 NBA season tipping off tonight, the Duke men’s basketball program boasts an ACC record 26 former players on opening-day rosters.
The Blue Devils have had as many as 25 players on NBA rosters during each of the last two seasons, which was the ACC record until the 26 for this season. The list was compiled from the NBA’s official opening-day rosters (including two-way and inactive lists) and includes any Blue Devil that played and finished their college basketball careers at Duke.
Duke’s 26 are spread among 17 NBA franchises, including three each in New Orleans (Brandon Ingram, J.J. Redick, Zion Williamson), Portland (Harry Giles, Rodney Hood, Gary Trent Jr.) and Memphis (Grayson Allen, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow). Three other clubs – New York (RJ Barrett, Austin Rivers), Detroit (Jahlil Okafor, Mason Plumlee) and Sacramento (Marvin Bagley III, Jabari Parker) boast multiple Blue Devils.
The three newest-minted NBA players – Vernon Carey Jr. (Charlotte), Tre Jones (San Antonio) and Cassius Stanley (Indiana) – represented the 98th, 99th and 100th Blue Devils all-time to have their names called in an NBA draft.
Duke’s 26 NBA players represent 5.3% of the 495 listed on opening-day rosters across the NBA. All have been coached by Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has seen 67 Blue Devils drafted in his four decades at Duke – including 41 first-round picks to lead all active coaches.
Through the 2019-20 season, Coach K’s former Duke players have accumulated a staggering $2 billion in NBA contracts. Lottery selections who played for Krzyzewski at Duke have combined to earn more than $1.6 billion in contracts, an average of nearly $60 million per individual. These figures don’t include the recent five-year, $195 million max contract extension signed by Jayson Tatum, nor the five-year $158 million max contract extension inked by Brandon Ingram.
Coach K’s 28 lottery picks represent an NBA Draft record for both a coach and a school.
Tatum inked his new deal on the heels of breakout season in 2019-20 that saw him become the fifth Blue Devil to earn a spot on an All-NBA Team, and at 22 years old, became the youngest Boston Celtic to garner All-NBA honors.
Williamson joined Tatum with their first career All-NBA honors as Williamson was tapped as a first-team All-Rookie pick. Duke has boasted at least one NBA All-Rookie pick in five straight seasons and eight of the last nine. Tatum and Ingram each were named to the NBA All-Star Game for the first time in their young careers.
In addition to his spot in the All-Star Game, Ingram was named the 2019-20 NBA Most Improved Player as the 22-year-old became the first player with New Orleans, and the first Blue Devil, to garner the award.
Quinn Cook capped last season by securing his second career NBA title as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Cook was also part of the Golden State Warriors’ 2018 title run and became the sixth different Blue Devil to win a total of eight NBA titles. He and Shane Battier (2012 and 2013 with the Miami Heat) are the only multiple NBA title winners to play at Duke. At least one Blue Devil has won an NBA title in five of the last nine NBA seasons, including Kyrie Irving in 2016 with the Cavaliers.
Duke’s and Coach K’s ties to the NBA run deeper than just the players on the floor. Including former Blue Devil Quin Snyder as the head coach of the Utah Jazz, 26 of Coach K’s former players, assistant coaches, staff and managers occupy positions on NBA coaching staffs or in front office positions.
Blue Devils in the NBA (26)
Grayson Allen — Memphis Grizzlies
Marques Bolden – Cleveland Cavaliers
Marvin Bagley III — Sacramento Kings
RJ Barrett — New York Knicks
Vernon Carey Jr. — Charlotte Hornets
Wendell Carter Jr. — Chicago Bulls
Quinn Cook — Los Angeles Lakers
Seth Curry — Philadelphia 76ers
Harry Giles — Portland Trail Blazers
Rodney Hood — Portland Trail Blazers
Brandon Ingram — New Orleans Pelicans
Kyrie Irving — Brooklyn Nets
Tre Jones — San Antonio Spurs
Tyus Jones — Memphis Grizzlies
Luke Kennard — Los Angeles Clippers
Jahlil Okafor — Detroit Pistons
Jabari Parker — Sacramento Kings
Mason Plumlee — Detroit Pistons
Cam Reddish — Atlanta Hawks
J.J. Redick — New Orleans Pelicans
Austin Rivers — New York Knicks
Cassius Stanley — Indiana Pacers
Jayson Tatum — Boston Celtics
Gary Trent Jr. — Portland Trail Blazers
Zion Williamson — New Orleans Pelicans
Justise Winslow — Memphis Grizzlies