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December 10, 2005
The best ever
The best ever.
It's a term that goes thrown around a lot in sports. But are the feats that are called the best ever ever really , well, the best ever? Not usually.
J.J. Redick, the senior captain for the Blue Devils, poured in 41 points in a 97-66 victory over the No. 2 Texas Longhorns on Saturday afternoon at the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey. Redick connected on nine of 16 shooting from three.
Everyone loves to call Redick the greatest shooter in college basketball history. That's fine. Debate that all you'd like. It's a good conversation to have.
But don't bring the best ever tag to that arguement unless you are ready to challenge that one with a good debate.
And despite my distain for the best ever tag, forgive me when I say this: Redick is the best clutch shooter ever.
When Duke needed a bucket, Redick was happy to oblige. That was the case on Saturday. It was the case against Indiana. It will certainly be the case later this season in the ACC tournament and in the team's quest to the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.
This 41-point performance wasn't against a slouch either. They earned the No. 2 ranking that they currently hold. They took no prisoners. Texas came into the game beating teams by an average of 27 points. Rick Barnes has a frontline worthy of canceling any early plans in April and a sophomore point guard that will spend a 12 years of his life in the NBA. This was not just an average team.
Redick quite simply took the oxygen right out of the Texas game day lungs. He did it time and time again. Mike Krzyzewski has said Redick "has a will to win that you cannot teach."
The senior from Roanoke has certainly proven that. Redick has only scored over 30 points just eight times in his Duke career. In those eight games, he's connected on 54.6 percent (47-86 3 FG, 76-139 FG) from down town and from the floor. In those eight career games, he has put in 34.1 points a game.
It was only fitting that Redick broke the Duke record for most three-pointers made in a career. He's sitting at a cool 350 made treys in his career. He passed Trajan Langdon's 342 on Saturday.
Redick's performance against Texas will have a buzz for a while but not like it would had this game been in March in the NCAA tournament. Duke has a week before it's next game. The buzz Redick created will stay around for a while. The Heisman trophy talk will end on Saturday night. National sportswriters and talking hair-dos will discuss the USC-Texas game. Lost in the shuffle is Redick's game against the Horns.
So perhaps repetition will keep it on everyone's mind. That was the best performance J.J. Redick has had at Duke.
It was the best ever.