Duke basketball’s Mike Krzyzewski — better known as Coach K — and UNC basketball’s Tyler Hansbrough headline the 2023 National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame class.
College basketball’s fiercest rivals on the court, the Blue Devils and Tar Heels came together Wednesday night at a ceremony in Chicago to honor Krzyzewski, Hansbrough and former Duke star Johnny Dawkins.
That trio made its mark along Tobacco Road, the ACC and the rest of the nation as three of the best in the history of the sport. Overall, UNC (14) and Duke (10) have a combined 24 representatives of their programs in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
“I’ve loved being at Duke, I’ve loved being in North Carolina. … It’s the home of a couple of the greatest programs in any sport. To share this night with you guys from North Carolina and our guys from Duke, what a great night,” Krzyzewski said Wednesday during the ceremony.
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“To have so many North Carolina and Duke players and coaches in this hall of fame is a testimony to the excellence of both institutions, but also the excellence we brought out in one another. Talent makes talent better. Talent and competition makes talent better. … This has been a cool thing, sharing this night in this manner.”
Here’s a look at what Krzyzewski, Hansbrough and Dawkins did during their time in college basketball and what stood out from their induction speeches Wednesday.
ESPN’s Sean Farnham was the host of the ceremony, which can be viewed on YouTube.
Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski
Over the course of four decades in Durham, Krzyzewski became the standard in college basketball as its all-time wins leader with 1,202 victories and five national championships.
After initially being a part of the hall of fame’s founding class in 2006, Krzyzewski’s retirement in 2022 allows his induction to become official. He led the Blue Devils to 15 ACC Tournament titles, 14 ACC regular-season championships and 13 Final Four appearances. He also revived Team USA basketball, leading the U.S. to Olympic gold medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
But Krzyzewksi, who said Wednesday he grew up about three miles from where the ceremony was held, shifted attention to his family, players and North Carolina’s role in college basketball history.
“Forget about dreams coming true. This is incredible for this to happen,” Krzyzewski said.
“(Former UNC coach) Roy Williams and I talk … we have said all the time we’re the luckiest guys in the world, because we get to coach these two programs. We’re the luckiest guys in the world because these two programs have given us an opportunity to coach some of the greatest players in the history of this sport. … This is home. This is our home – men’s college basketball.”
UNC basketball’s Tyler Hansbrough
Arguably the greatest player in the history of UNC basketball, Hansbrough is unquestionably the Tar Heels’ most accomplished player.
During his four seasons in Chapel Hill, “Psycho T” became the program’s all-time leading scorer and the only player in ACC history to be named a four-time, first-team All-American and All-ACC selection. He was the National Player of the Year in 2008 and led the Tar Heels to an NCAA title in 2009.
The only player in ACC history to lead his school in scoring and rebounding for four seasons, Hansbrough is simply the standard at UNC. But he never saw it playing out that way when he arrived in Chapel Hill.
“I really couldn’t. I just knew when I went to Carolina as a small-town kid, I was just gonna try hard, work hard and see what happens,” Hansbrough said.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of people a part of my success in my career. … I put a lot into it and it was a lot of hard work to get here.”
Duke basketball’s Johnny Dawkins
A prized player in Duke’s famed 1982 recruiting class, Johnny Dawkins helped the Blue Devils rise to national prominence.
During his four seasons in Durham, Dawkins racked up 2,556 points to become the program’s all-time scoring leader before J.J. Redick took the throne in 2006. The 1986 Naismith Player of the Year, Dawkins led Duke to a sweep of the ACC championships and an appearance in the national title game. He’s currently the head coach at UCF.
But that journey to stardom started with a message from his father, Johnny Dawkins Sr.
“I told my father I wanted to get a job for the summer,” Dawkins said.
“He said, ‘No, you’re not gonna get a job. You said you wanted to be a basketball player. Your mom and I work 9-5. We’ll continue to do that. You commit to working 9-5 like that on the basketball court and that’ll be your job. The day you don’t do that, you can go out and find a summer job for your school clothes.’ The rest is history.”
Staff writer Rodd Baxley can be reached at [email protected] or @RoddBaxley on Twitter.