christian laettner plaque

Christian Laettner was selected for induction in the inaugural class of the ACC Hall of Fame with 90.9 percent of the media vote.


Christian Donald Laettner
Duke, 1988–92
6–11 forward/center

Regarded as one of best players in college basketball history. Career averages of 16.6 points and 7.8 rebounds. Made nearly half of his 3-point attempts (79 of 163). Made Final Four all four seasons, leading Duke to 1991 and 1992 NCAA titles. Final Four Most Outstanding Player in 1991. All-ACC and ACC Athlete of the Year in 1991 and 1992. Consensus National Player of the Year, consensus All-American, ACC player of the year and ACC Tournament MVP in 1992. Duke retired his No. 32. Owns school record for free throws made (713), and is third in points (2,460) and rebounds (1,149).

His career 3-point shooting percentage, a school record. That is easily better than the ACC record of 44.0% by Miami’s Jack McClinton, but Laettner’s 79 made threes falls short of the 150 league minimum.


March 24, 1990
No. 15 Duke 79, No. 3 Connecticut 78, OT; Meadowlands Arena, East Rutherford, N.J.
23 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists
With 2.6 seconds left and trailing 78–77, Duke came out after the timeout and Coach Mike Krzyzewski didn’t think the play he called would work against the defensive alignment he saw from the Huskies, so he called out, “special.” That meant that Laettner would throw the inbounds pass and the ball would immediately go back to him. Laettner got the quick pass back from Brian Davis, took one dribble, double-pumped in the air to avoid the Huskies’ Lyman DePriest and made the jumper to earn a Final Four trip.

Full game video

March 30, 1991
No. 6 Duke 79, No. 1 UNLV 77, Hoosier Dome, Indianapolis; NCAA semifinal
28 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists
Laettner made two free throws with 12.7 seconds left. Guarding Larry Johnson in the final seconds, he didn’t flinch as Johnson faked a 3-point attempt, forcing the Runnin’ Rebels to settle on a desperation shot from Anderson Hunt in one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history. It ended their 45–game win streak and avenged a Final Four loss a year earlier. UNLV had blown out Duke 103–73 in the 1990 NCAA final.

Full game video

March 28, 1992
No. 1 Duke 104, No. 6 Kentucky 103, OT; The Spectrum, Philadelphia; East Regional final
31 points, 10 of 10 from floor, 10 of 10 from free-throw line, 7 rebounds, 3 assists
The Blue Devils trailed 103–102 with 2.1 seconds left when Laettner took a three-quarter court pass from Grant Hill. He faked, turned and then nailed the shot to end a classic game and send Duke to the Final Four. He put Duke ahead 100–98 on a short jumper and later made two free throws to give Duke a 102–101 lead before the game-winning bucket.

Full game video
ESPN documentary on game
“Christian’s a guy who won’t ever choke, and that’s unique. He’s never afraid to make the play, be it a shot, rebound, pass, block, whatever. He wants to be there when the game is decided. Of course, he reads so much Stephen King, he has to be warped. But you’ve heard of guys who burn to win? This guy’s got a forest fire inside him.”  –Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, quoted in Sports Illustrated

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