NBA Players

12 Famous Duke Players That Went To The NBA

By Biraj Timilsina / 21 September 2023 07:43 AM

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Duke players that went to the NBA include Grant Hill, Kyrie Irving, Christian Laettner, Brandon Ingram, Jason Tatum and Seth Curry

A total of 108 players from Duke University have been drafted into the NBA. Duke is the second-highest contributor of college players to the NBA till now.

73 out of 108 players were selected in the era of Mike Krzyzewski. Out of 73, 46 players were selected in the first round of the draft.

Heyman was the first among the Duke players to get in the NBA draft and was selected by the New York Knicks in 1963. Two Duke players were drafted into the NBA in 2023 and were selected in the first-round draft of the league.

Dereck Lively II and Dariq Whitehead were in the 2023 draft for the University. Lively II was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder as a lottery pick.

Whitehead was selected by the 'Brooklyn Nets as the 22nd overall draft in the league.

1) Grant Hill

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Grant Hill is one of the most talented players in the NBA coming out of Duke University. Detroit Pistons picked Grant in the 1st round of the 1994 NBA draft event.

In his debut year, he was listed among the first team of All-Americans in 1994. Hill won two NCAA championships. one in 1991 and the other in 1992. He was also named the Co-Rookie of the Year in 1995. 

Grant was selected in the NBA all-star team list 7 times and has won many individual awards. But, he could not win the NBA title with any of the franchises he joined.

He played for 18 years in the league with 4 different franchises. Hill has also achieved an Olympic gold for the USA in the 1996 Olympic games. 

2) Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving was picked in the first round draft by the Cavaliers in 2011. He has played for a total of 4 franchises till now.

He was a favorite to win the NCAA Freshman of the Year 2010. But an unexpected ligament injury blocked him from continuing for the rest of the season.

Irving scored 28 points in his last college game and moved to the NBA. He was even the Rookie of the Year in 2012.

Till now he has won an NBA title and an MVP title in 2016 and 2014 respectively. He is currently associated with the NBA team, Dallas Mavericks.

He also won the Olympic gold medal for the country at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. He has also won gold in the 2014 World Cup held in Spain.

3) Christian Laettner

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Christian Laettner is also one of the Duke players picked by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1992 draft as the third overall pick.

Laettner won 2 NCAA championships in his college career. He won the titles in 1991 and in 1992. He was even the national College player of the year in 1992.

He was among the NBA All-Rokkie first team in his primary season for the club. He was also an NBA All-star player of 1997.

Christian played for a total of 6 franchises in the league. He won a bar of Olympic gold in the 1992 Olympic Games held in Barcelona.

4) Jayson Tatum


Jayson Tatum was selected in the 2017 draft by the Boston Celtics as the third overall pick.

He was honored with the Gatorade National Player of 2016. He was also listed on the ACC All-Freshmen team of 2017.

Playing for the NBA all-star teams 4 times, Tatum was even NBA All-Star Game MVP in 2023. He started his career by being on the NBA the All-Rookies team in 2018.

Jayson has been with the Celtics since being drafted in 2017. He is also the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medalist for the country.

5) JJ Redick

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JJ Redick was picked by the Orlando Magic in the 2006 draft. He was chosen as the 11th overall on 1st round.

He was the national college payer of the year in 2006. Redick was two-time ACC MVP for the team in the years 2005 and 2006.

JJ played for a total of 6 franchises in the NBA from 2006 to 2021. He could not get any title in his whole NBA career. 

He was a team player and specialized in shooting outside from the arc.

6) Brandon Ingram

Brandon Ingram is one of the most refined Duke basketball players in NBA. He was selected in the 2016 draft by the Los Angeles Lakers

He was the second overall pick in the first round of the season. He has only been affiliated with two franchises until the moment

Ingram did not have a great NCAA tournament runs during his college days. However, in 2016 he was awarded with the Rookie of the Season award.

Brandon was among the 2020 NBA team of All-Star because of his dominant performance. He is currently linked with the 'New Orleans Pelicans'.

7) Zion Williamson

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Zion Williams is one of the Duke basketball players selected in the 2019 draft by the New Orleans Pelicans.

Williams was the first round first overall pick of the season. He has been with the same franchise since his debut.

He has won National College Player of the Year, ACC Player of the Year, and ACC Tournament MVP during his college playing days.

Zion was nominated as the NBA Rookie of the Year in his debut season (2019). He has been listed in the NBA all-star team, once in 2021 and the other in 2023.

8) Elton Brand

Elton Brand was the first pick in the first round of the draft in 1999. He was drafted by the Chicago Bulls. 

He has since changed a total of 6 teams in the league.

Brand was selected as the ACC Player of the Year in 1999 along with being on the first team on ALL-ACC.

USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year in 1998 and National College Player of the Year in 1999 were some of his individual achievements in college.

Elton was awarded as the Co-Rookie of the year in his initial season for the club. He even managed to get listed in the NBA all-star team for the years 2002 and 2006.

9) Shane Battier

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Shane Battier is a two-time NBA champion. He was a 2001 draft for the Vancouver Grizzlers.

He was in the first round 6th overall draft of the season. He won the NCAA championship in 2001 and was even awarded as the national college player of the year. 

Battier was an NBA rookie in his debut season in 2002. He was named the NBA teammate of 2014.

10) Seth Curry

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Seth Adham Curry was a 2013 undrafted player from Duke. He made his debut in the NBA on 5th January 2014 for the team Memphis Grizzlies.

Curry was listed in the ALL-ACC first team list during his college days in 2011. He was also selected in the NBA D-League All-Star team in 2014 and 2015.

Seth has a rich basketball background. His father 'Dell Curry' and brother 'Stephen Curry' are among the elite basketball players in the country. Having the basketball passion in his blood has made him more famous than his actual NBA achievements.

11) Carlos Boozer

Carlos Boozer was the 2nd round 35th overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft. He was picked by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He won the NCAA Championship from his college in 2001 and was the ACC tournament MVP in 2002.

Boozer was listed in the NBA All-Star Team in 2007 and 2008. He averages 16.2 points per game in the league.

Carlos won the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics gold medal while representing his nation USA.

12) Luol Deng

Luol Deng was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the 2004 draft. He was 1st round 7th overall pick for the team.

He won the USBWA National Freshman of the Year in 2004. Luol was even included in the All-ACC Third Team in 2004 and the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2005.

Deng was awarded with NBA Sportsmanship Award in 2007. He got listed on the NBA All-Star team for two seasons straight in 2012 and 2013.