The 11 Most Annoying Duke Players of the Last Decade

No, it's not just 11 photos of Grayson Allen.

Grayson Allen.
Image via Getty/Abbie Parr/Stringer
Grayson Allen.

Duke basketball players aren’t quite as annoying as they used to be. While Duke’s roster was once littered with guys like Steve Wojciechowski, J.J. Redick, and Christian Laettner every season, Duke—thankfully—got with the times and started embracing the one-and-done mentality over the course of the last 10 years. As a result, their most recent teams have been led by guys like Kyrie Irving, Brandon Ingram, and Jayson Tatum as opposed to guys like the players listed above, which has made them slightly more bearable for all the Duke haters out there.

But a reputation can be a hard thing to shake, and no one knows that better than the Blue Devils. Furthermore, no one knows that better than Duke guard Grayson Allen, who has solidified a spot for himself on the long list of annoying Duke players that have played for Mike Krzyzewski over the years. In fact, this would have been almost unfathomable a year or two ago, but you could almost argue Allen has unseated Laettner as the most annoying—and subsequently, most hated—Duke player of all time. Allen has single-handedly kept the negative perception of some Duke players alive through a series of dirty plays and questionable on-court tactics.


Earlier this week, Gilbert Arenas and the rest of the Out of Bounds crew discussed Allen’s latest dirty play and touched on all of the other annoying players who have suited up for Coach K. You can check out the discussion above. As you prepare to root against Duke during their game against Iona in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament on Thursday, you can also take a look at the most annoying Duke players of the last decade below.

Gerald Henderson, Jr.

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Years Played: 2006-2009

Henderson probably wouldn’t have appeared on this list of Duke players, if not for one fateful night back in March 2007 when he decided to bust North Carolina star Tyler Hansbrough’s nose on a hard foul at the end of a game. Henderson was simply frustrated and appeared to get caught up in the moment. But that moment lingered with him for the next two years and made many people—especially those in Chapel Hill—hate him.

Brian Zoubek

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Years Played: 2006-2010

Zoubek seemed like a nice enough guy during his time at Duke. He never developed into a spectacular player, but he was serviceable enough and won a national title with the team in 2010. He also went on to run a (now-defunct) cream puff shop in New Jersey after a back injury forced him to give up his pro basketball dreams. None of this would suggest Zoubek was that annoying, but he apparently annoyed enough people to get his own "I Hate Brian Zoubek" Facebook page.

Ryan Kelly

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Years Played: 2009-2013

Kelly is another guy you might not automatically classify as annoying. But the fact that he stayed at Duke for four seasons and gradually got better each and every year got on some ACC fans’ nerves. He was clumped in with all of the other annoying white guys who came up through the Duke program, even though he didn’t necessarily have the same attributes as some of the other prominent Duke players. One UNC hater even had to invent a reason to hate Kelly by critiquing him for his "complete lack of a chin." That seems like a stretch, but it goes to show you just how far people will go to find reasons to hate on Duke.

Miles, Mason, and Marshall Plumlee

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Years Played: 2008-2016

How’s that old saying go? Familiarity breeds contempt? That was definitely at play here. In reality, the Plumlee brothers were able to make it through eight years without causing any major controversies at Duke that would rile up opposing fan bases. But the fact they hung around for eight years with one Plumlee after another showing up on campus in Raleigh was enough to annoy even the most tolerant ACC fans. The Plumlee era just…wouldn’t…end.

Kyle Singler

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Years Played: 2007-2011

Singler once apologized for Duke not coming out with the right attitude during a game against lowly Presbyterian that the Blue Devils won by 31 points. He very well may have been right, but it’s that overconfident, arrogant, and sometimes even smug approach to basketball that is the reason so many people root against Duke once March comes around.

Jon Scheyer

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Years Played: 2006-2010

Scheyer was a little like J.J. Redick—without all of the things that made J.J. Redick one of the most annoying Duke players ever. Scheyer didn’t usually show opponents up. He didn’t taunt opposing crowds. He didn’t pull off crazy celebrations every time he made a three. He just played ball. But he had this annoying habit of making what fans called the "Scheyer Face" every time he shot, passed, dribbled, or did anything else on the court, and it drove Duke haters insane.

Austin Rivers

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Years Played: 2011-2012

This was how Rivers revealed what number he would wear at Duke.

He didn’t need to play a single minute for the Blue Devils to get on everyone’s nerves.

Greg Paulus

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Years Played: 2005-2009

Remember when people used to get so mad at Duke players for trying to take charges? Long before everyone else started doing it, Duke players were notorious for trying to step into the lane to take a charge. And no one tried it more often than Paulus, who eventually earned himself the nickname—ahem—"Tea Bag."

Grayson Allen

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Years Played: 2014-2018

Consider this: Back in late 2016, GQ put out a piece called "Grayson Allen Is Already the Most Annoying Player in Duke History" after he got suspended for tripping an opposing player. And that was before he tried to trip someone again, before he appeared to shove an opposing coach, and before he used his butt to knock a North Carolina player to the ground. If he was "already the most annoying player in Duke history" back then, what is he now?

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