Duke University has been a perennial powerhouse in college basketball for the last few decades with the Blue Devils serving as the one team that everyone loves to hate. There have been certain players throughout the years that have taken the hatred of the team to a new level. Grayson Allen’s antics this season have put the idea of Duke villains back into circulation.
From tripping to floor-slapping, here’s the list of the top villains to play at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
5. Steve Wojciechowski (1994 – 1998)
Born: Severna Park, Maryland
Weight: 180 lbs.
Wojciechowski is on the list for his floor-slapping abilities throughout the duration of his Duke basketball career. He took the defensive move to a new level during his career and is the reason why so many players have followed suit. He started the trend and it is still seen from the Duke villains today.
Wojciechowski continued to terrorize the college basketball world, serving as an associate head coach for the Blue Devils before receiving the head basketball coaching job at Marquette University.
4. Greg Paulus (2006 – 2009)
Born: Medina, Ohio
Weight: 180 lbs.
Paulus carried on the Duke villain tradition of floor-slapping, which is the main reason he made the cut. He was not an overwhelmingly talented basketball player, but was still quite successful, mainly due to his constant hustle, which included getting into scuffles and taking charge after charge. He was a small, gritty player that fit the team’s mold.
Paulus went on to play football for Syracuse University after his Duke days. He didn’t stay far away from college basketball as he is now an assistant basketball coach for the Ohio State University.
3. Grayson Allen (2014 – Present)
Born: Jacksonville, Florida
Weight: 202 lbs.
Allen is the only current Duke player on the list and he has embraced being the newest villain at Cameron Indoor. He was a huge catalyst in Duke’s championship win coming in off the bench his freshman year and sparking a run to take down Wisconsin. Allen has continued to the run with the role. He seems to enjoy pissing every non-Duke fan off and has even been benched by head coach Mike Krzyzewski for it. Two straight seasons of the same actions finally caused Coach K. to take action.
Initially, the tripping seemed unintentional but it has escalated to essentially kicking opponents this season. He’s not just Duke’s villain, but now the entirety of college basketball’s. He’s also pretty talented to make things better.
2. J.J. Redick (2002 – 2006)
Born: Cookeville, Tennessee
Weight: 190 lbs.
You hated J.J. Redick because he was good. Redick was seemingly automatic from beyond-the-arc and his range seemed to have no limits. Although he denies being a villain, he got under every opposing team’s skin. Redick was booed at nearly every away game and he thrived under the animosity. When your rival schools’ students pass around your cell phone number at bars and chant “F*** you, J.J.” that hatred and number two ranking is real.
During his time with the Blue Devils, Redick set ACC records for the most career points scored, as well as the most career points in the ACC tournament. Also, to the disdain of many college basketball fans, Redick was named National College Player of the Year in 2006.
1. Christian Laettner (1988 – 1992)
Born: Angola, New York
Weight: 235 lbs.
The top spot comes as no surprise. Laettner isn’t just the most hated athlete to play for Duke, he may be the most hated college basketball player in history. ESPN didn’t allow 30 For 30 to title an episode “I Hate Christian Laettner” for nothing. Laettner had an arrogance and cockiness in his style of play that made him the ultimate Duke villain. He was especially tough on his teammates whenever they struggled through the years.
Leading the team to the Final Four and hitting that unreal shot against Kentucky on a perfect 10-for-10 shooting percentage to advance to the semi-finals didn’t help his case, but it helped bring him acclaim. Along with being named the College Player of the Year during his senior season, Laettner played for the USA’s historic 1992 Olympic basketball team.