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Back to School, Part II


From college to the pros


Although certain programs are traditionally dominant in the collegiate ranks, this has not stopped other teams from carving out their niche in later years. The University of Connecticut Huskies have honed the skills of NBA stars from Ray Allen and Rudy Gay to Kemba Walker and are sixth on the all-time list with four titles, which have all been clinched in the past two decades. Even traditional powerhouses have experienced on-court revolutions as they seek to keep up with the times.


Villanova: The Villanova Wildcats have been very successful in the past years, having won the national crown in 2016 and 2018. Their style revolves around guard play, often trotting out a small line-up, and they were early adopters of the three-point shot. With their heady guard play and accurate, relentless bombs from deep, they have managed to knock off other powerhouses. Kyle Lowry and the reigning National Player of the Year Jalen Brunson are prototypical Villanova products, currently plying their trade in the NBA.


North Carolina: There is probably no college rivalry as intense as North Carolina-Duke, with the Tar Heels having a slight edge with six championships to Duke’s five. Beyond their successes, they are also famous as the alma mater of Michael Jordan, and their rosters have always been choked full of offensive-gifted high-flyers, including James Worthy and Vince Carter. As such, they have been a hotspot for NBA talent, through their emphasis on a free-flowing offense with few set plays.


Duke: Duke is the other half of the biggest collegiate rivalry, and the Blue Devils are led by Mike Krzyzewski, otherwise known as the esteemed Coach K, who has also coached the United States to three Olympic gold medals and two FIBA World Championship trophies. Over the years, the program renowned for its lockdown team defense (characterized by a slap of the hardwood floor and embraced by stars like Grant Hill and Shane Battier) has expanded their offensive repertoire, bringing in top prospects with the ability to light up the score sheet, such as Kyrie Irving and Jabari Parker.