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The Chronicle's Duke men's basketball all-decade team

The 2010s were kind to Duke men’s basketball—Mike Krzyzewski’s program brought home a pair of national titles in addition to a host of individual accolades. With the embrace of one-and-done players, this decade brought perhaps the most individual talent that Durham has ever seen. 

As the 2010s come to a close, The Chronicle decided to compile our own all-decade team consisting of the five most impactful Blue Devil seasons over the last 10 years. Narrowing it down to just five players was not easy, but here are the results:

Our all-decade team

Former Duke guard Nolan Smith will start his coaching career on the Blue Devil bench as a special assistant, effective immediately, the program announced Monday.

G: 2010-11 Nolan Smith (Four votes)

One of the brightest personalities to ever wear a Duke uniform, Smith followed up the 2010 national championship with a career senior season, in which he won ACC Player of the Year and garnered consensus first-team All-American honors. His 20.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds per contest should have been enough for National Player of the Year honors, but BYU’s Jimmer Fredette was an absolute force in 2010-11. With classmate Kyle Singler struggling to score efficiently, Smith stepped up as Duke’s go-to guy and seamlessly transitioned to point guard with Kyrie Irving missing 27 games due to a toe injury. -Shane Smith, V. 115 Blue Zone Editor

Sophomore Grayson Allen and the Blue Devil guards struggled on the glass and from downtown Sunday. Duke shot just 11-of-32 from downtown. Kristen Shortley

G: 2015-16 Grayson Allen (Three votes)

Among his four years in a Duke jersey, sophomore Grayson Allen shined the brightest. Already a national champion, Allen took the reins of the Blue Devils. He scored 21.6 points, dished out 3.5 assists and nabbed 1.3 steals per game, all team highs. Allen did this with cyborg-like efficiency. He logged an impressive 26.1 PER, shooting better than 40 percent from deep and 83.7 percent from the charity stripe. As if a ring wasn't enough, Allen's sophomore season granted him a special place in Blue Devil lore. -Glen Morgenstern, V. 115 Assistant Blue Zone Editor

Marvin Bagley III could get another crack at Michigan State after he had to miss most of the teams' first matchup. Ian Jaffe

F: 2017-18 Marvin Bagley III (Five votes)

The No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2017—even after reclassifying—instantly became one of the most dominant big men to ever wear the Blue and White. Bagley averaged 21.0 points and 11.1 rebounds during his lone season in Durham en route to a program-record 22 double-doubles as a freshman. Bagley also became the first Blue Devil to lead the ACC in scoring and rebounding. The Tempe, Ariz. native announced his arrival at the PK80 Invitational, where he led Duke to the title with a pair of 30-point, 15-rebound efforts in back-to-back dramatic comebacks against Texas and Florida. Bagley would never look back, dominating throughout the season before becoming the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. -Michael Model, V. 114 Sports Editor

Zion Williamson electrified the college basketball world in his lone season at Duke. Michelle Tai

F: 2018-19 Zion Williamson (Five votes)

Trying to put Williamson’s freshman season at Duke into words is nearly impossible, but the 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward was an absolute sensation. The accolades for Williamson merely begin to tell the story of how the Spartansburg, S.C., native took college basketball by storm: he took home National Player of the Year and ACC Player of the Year with ease thanks to a never-before-seen blend of efficient scoring, otherworldly athleticism and elite defense. Not many players have dominated on the court like Williamson, but certainly nobody has dominated the national conversation or attracted the social media following that the 2019 NBA Draft’s first pick did in his only season in Durham. -Derek Saul, V. 115 Sports Editor

Standout freshman center Jahlil Okafor had a dominant season in his only season at Duke. Elysia Su

C: 2014-15 Jahlil Okafor (Four votes)

Okafor came to Durham as the No. 1-ranked recruit in the country, and it didn’t take long for Blue Devil fans to realize why. The Chicago native sunk 25 of his first 30 collegiate field goal attempts, eventually winning ACC Player of the Year—the first freshman to ever take home the honor—and finishing second in the Wooden Award only to Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky. Okafor got the last laugh, however, as Duke defeated Kaminsky’s Badgers in the season’s final game to capture the program’s fifth national championship. -Evan Kolin, V. 115 Assistant Blue Zone Editor

Honorable mentions:

G: 2009-10 Jon Scheyer (Two votes)

Scheyer’s 39.9 percent mark from the field won’t drop anyone’s jaw. However, throughout the entirety of that national championship campaign, the point guard from Illinois did all the little things right, including leading the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio and free throw percentage. If there were a list of players who defined what it truly meant to be a Blue Devil, Scheyer’s name would be one of the first ones there. -Kolin

R.J. Barrett becomes the second Duke product, after Marvin Bagley III, to sign a multi-year shoe deal with Puma. Sujal Manohar

G: 2018-19 R.J. Barrett (One vote)

If there is one major snub from the team, it has to be Barrett, who delivered an incredible freshman campaign in Durham despite being outshined by Williamson. The consensus first-team All-American was the first high-major player since 1993 to average 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a season, and although his shot selection was faulty at times, he simply produced and kept the Blue Devils afloat with Williamson out. Barrett also recorded Duke’s only triple-double of the decade. -Smith

Wendell Carter Jr. will take his talents to the NBA after playing just one collegiate season at Duke, joining three of his other classmates that will leave Durham after their freshman years. Sanjeev Dasgupta

C: 2017-18 Wendell Carter Jr. (One vote)

Carter will forever be known for the blocking foul that ended the Blue Devils’ NCAA tournament run. However, Carter played a remarkably efficient lone collegiate season, scoring 13.5 points, hauling in 9.1 rebounds and blocking 2.1 shots per game in a frontcourt with Bagley. What's more, he finished second all-time among Duke freshmen in rebounds and blocked shots, and the 6-foot-10 big man shot 41.3 percent from deep. -Morgenstern

Notable misses:

Kyle Singler shot poorly from the perimeter against California but found some success getting to the rim. Singler, a junior, finished with 17 points against the Golden Bears. Melissa Yeo

F: 2010-11 Kyle Singler

There is a strong argument that can be made for Singler getting his jersey hung in the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium. He gets left off the list, however, because of the expectations coming into his senior year. The Oregon native saw dips in points, rebounds, assists and 3-point percentage, despite being selected preseason ACC Player of the Year after holding off the NBA Draft. Singler was selected to the All-ACC first team, his second consecutive nod. -Smith

Luke Kennard knocked down several clutch shots in the second half and was one of three Blue Devils to score 20 points in their win against Clemson. Hank Tucker

G: 2016-17 Luke Kennard

With a smooth lefty stroke from outside, Kennard had a standout sophomore campaign, averaging a team-high 19.5 points per game on a highly efficient .629 true shooting percentage. Ultimately, Kennard was left off this list as the 2016-17 team had a forgettable finish to the season, and the Ohio native had a less well-rounded game than Allen, Smith or Scheyer. -Saul

Lead by a 30-point performance from Dez Wells, Maryland upset Duke 83-74 in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. The Blue Devils were lead by senior Mason Plumlee, who scored 19 points.

C: 2012-13 Mason Plumlee

If Okafor’s 2015 squad did not win the national championship, Plumlee would have made my all-decade team. The Warsaw, Ind., native peaked during his senior season, averaging 17.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while serving as Duke’s leader on both ends of the floor. Plumlee led Duke to the Elite Eight—where it fell to Louisville in the ‘Kevin Ware’ game—and earned first-team All-ACC and second-team All-American honors. -Model

Our ballots

Derek Saul, Sports Editor V. 115:

G: 2009-10 Jon Scheyer

G: 2015-16 Grayson Allen

F: 2017-18 Marvin Bagley III

F: 2018-19 Zion Williamson

C: 2014-15 Jahlil Okafor

Michael Model, Sports Editor V. 114:

G: 2010-11 Nolan Smith

G: 2015-16 Grayson Allen

F: 2018-19 Zion Williamson

F: 2017-18 Marvin Bagley III

C: 2014-15 Jahlil Okafor

Evan Kolin, Assistant Blue Zone Editor V. 115:

G: 2009-10 Jon Scheyer

G: 2010-11 Nolan Smith

F: 2017-18 Marvin Bagley III

F: 2018-19 Zion Williamson

C: 2014-15 Jahlil Okafor

Glen Morgenstern, Assistant Blue Zone Editor V. 115:

G: 2010-11 Nolan Smith 

G: 2015-16 Grayson Allen

F: 2018-19 Zion Williamson

F: 2017-18 Marvin Bagley III

C: 2017-18 Wendell Carter Jr.

Shane Smith, Blue Zone Editor V. 115:

G: 2010-11 Nolan Smith

G: 2018-19 R.J. Barrett

F: 2018-19 Zion Williamson

F: 2017-18 Marvin Bagley III

C: 2014-15 Jahlil Okafor

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