Local News

Dean Smith Calls Duke an All-Time Great Team

Posted March 26, 1999

— Dean Smith agrees with most, that Duke is one of the great teams of in college basketball history and should roll to the NCAA championship.

The former North Carolina coach said a team with a shot-blocking center would give the Blue Devils some trouble. There's nobody left in the Final Four that fits that bill.

``A team that bothers them would be someone like a Ralph Sampson, where they would get a defensive rebound,'' said Smith, the game's winningest coach. ``You would need a Sampson, a Kareem-Abdul Jabbar or a Tim Duncan so they could play Elton Brand one-on-one. There isn't any in the Final Four that can play one guy behind him and bother his shot.''

While Duke is talented in many areas, Smith said their rebounding sticks out.

``When they do miss a shot, they are a tremendous offensive rebounding team,'' Smith said. ``Let's say they miss 10 shots, they get five of those back, and that is sensational rebounding.''

Kansas' Roy Williams calls Duke the most impressive team he's seen in 21 years of coaching. But he'd be hesitant to rank them among the best ever before the end of the weekend.

``Before you say that,'' Williams said, ``I do think they have to finish the job.''

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