PRODUCTS: Danny Ferry (1986-89), Christian Laettner (1989-92), Bobby Hurley (1990-93), Chris Collins (1993-96), Steve Wojciechowski (1995-98); J.J. Redick (2003-06); Greg Paulus (2006-)
J.J. Redick should've seen it coming, right? He was almost too ripe for the picking when he arrived at Duke in 2002, a two-guard with a devilishly perfect shooting stroke, a confident disposition and the talent to help the Blue Devils add to their long list of Final Four appearances. But when Redick was thrust into the role of the newest Hated Dukie as a freshman, the vitriol spewed by opposing ACC fans was so stunning in its ferocity that his memory of it remains vivid four years later.
"My first ACC road game, when we played at Maryland and were 15-0 and No. 1 in the country," Redick recalled this offseason, "I came out for warmups and was like, HOLY CRAP. I didn't know what was going on. [The Maryland students] just started in on me with the verbal berating and the signs."
After three years of road trips in the ACC, however, Redick is no longer a deer in the haters' headlights. "We get it pretty much everywhere we go," he said, and it's not like Redick started this firestorm. He merely reignited the flames that were fanned into a blaze by the Most Hated Dukie of All, Christian Laettner. The floppy-haired forward -- considered by some to be the greatest collegiate player of all-time -- made four trips to the Final Four, led the Blue Devils to back-to-back national titles in 1991 and '92, and hit one of the most memorable shots in college basketball history, a buzzer-beater against Kentucky in the '92 NCAA tournament.
Yet for all his acclaim, Laettner also became the symbol of everything Duke's detractors disliked about the team and the institution: He was frequently labeled "whiny" or "annoying," he was an elite player at a school considered elitist ... and worst of all, he was dominating the conference year-in and year-out. Critics channeled a mix of infuriation and envy toward the Blue Devils and Laettner, and when he graduated to the NBA, they redirected it to a series of high-profile players who fit the Hated Dukie mold: Bobby Hurley, who played the point alongside Laettner; Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski, high-strung guards in the mid-'90s who are now both Blue Devils assistant coaches; and, after a five-year hiatus, Redick.