Georgetown Basketball History: The Top 100
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6. John Duren
AB 1980
Hometown: Washington, DC
High School: Dunbar
Position: Guard
Height: 6-3
Weight: 150
Years on Team: 1976-80
Highlights:
All-American 1978,79,80
GU Athletic Hall of Fame

All-Big East, 1980
Career Points, #7
Career Scoring By Decade, #2
Career Assists, #4
Daly MVP Award, 1979,80


The late sportswriter Ralph Wiley once observed that Georgetown didn't produce point guards, but "point rocks"--sturdy and solid. Chief among these was John Duren, its greatest point guard of the modern era.

"He is the ideal," John Thompson said of Duren. "His judgment in the heat of play is like a coach going over game films in slow motion. He's totally unselfish and honest--I can't think of one thing on a basketball floor he can't do."

Duren was a consensus high school All-America at Washington's Dunbar HS, the chief playmaker for the undefeated Crimson Tide team of 1976, ranked #1 in the nation. Only a year removed from the arrival of Al Dutch, Duren's signing confirmed that John Thompson could recruit major local talent, something his predecessors had failed to do for many years.

For his freshman year, Duren began as an understudy to guards Derrick Jackson and Mike Riley, but once he entered the starting lineup at mid season, he was a fixture in the Georgetown lineup for the next three-plus seasons. Duren proved himself not only a fine shooter, but a court general of the highest order. His passing skills and overall court leadership elevated the entire Georgetown offense, and by 1977 the Hoyas' shooting percentage had increased from 46 percent to just under 50 percent for the season. Duren finished fourth in scoring, with a season high 19 against Boston College and a 15 point average down the stretch, when an ankle injury sidelined him for two games late in the season.

A healthy Duren returned in 1978 and proved his offensive skill as well. The MVP of the ECAC Holiday Classic for a combined 22 point per game effort, Duren was the regional player of the week three times during the season, scoring 20 or more points 10 times and in double figures in 27 of 31 games. Coupled with his 3.8 assists per game, Duren was a major factor for a Georgetown team which approached the end of the season with a 21-5 mark.

At season's end, health problems forced leading scorer Derrick Jackson to the sidelines, and the Hoyas struggled to adjust. Duren stepped up with some of the best games of his career: 23 points against VCU in the ECAC tournament, followed by 22 points and 11 assists versus Virginia in the NIT, 17 versus Dayton, 26 versus N.C. State, and 23 versus Rutgers, leading the Hoyas to the brink of the NIT finals. At season's end, Duren was named as to the honorable mention All-America team, the first underclassmen so honored since Jim Barry in 1963.

Duren traveled overseas for an ECAC all-star team in the summer of 1978, and returned as the unquestioned leader of the Georgetown backcourt. He played a then-record 1,024 minutes on the court in 1978-79 (35.3 minutes a game, with eight complete games), averaging 14.6 points and 5.4 assists. For the year, he shot just under 50 percent from the field and 83 percent from the line, leading the time in nine different statistical categories. Duren's court sense and the ability to set up teammates for the high percentage shot was in evidence all season, as the Hoyas shot 51% from the field and posted a 24-4 regular season record.

A highlight of the season was Duren's 22 point, six assist game in the home finale against Holy Cross; a week later, his 17 point, six assist and seven steal effort helped the G-men to an upset win over Syracuse in the ECAC final. Despite the absence of Tom Scates in the middle, Duren and Hoyas wore down the Orangemen at the line, connecting on 30 free throws to Syracuse's six.

Duren's finest days were at the helm of the 1979-80 team, perhaps the greatest Georgetown team not to make it to the Final Four. The "Heart Attack Hoyas" were a never-say-die bunch who thrilled fans from November deep into March. The team won seven games by five points or less, conversely, of the team's six losses that season, four came within the last five seconds or in overtime.

At season's end, Duren's 12.3 points per game were respectable enough, but that only told part of the story. He destroyed the Georgetown assist record by posting 228 assists in 1980, or 7.1 a game. He played a team high 1,164 minutes, without a single game lost to a foul-out. The consistency in the Hoyas' game plan throughout the inaugural Big East season rested with Duren, as his passing and poise saw the Hoyas increase its shooting to a record 53% from the field and carry a 16 game win streak to the brink of the Final Four. At year's end Duren was named All-Big East and honorable mention All- America.

Had it not been for contemporary names like Isiah Thomas and Mark Aguirre, perhaps John Duren would have received more national attention for this play. The recognition due him was, in part, received when he became the first Georgetown player ever selected in the first round of the NBA draft by the Utah Jazz. Following an injury early in his pro career, Duren played in parts of three seasons before returning to Washington, where he resides today.


Season

GP

GS

Min

FG

FGA

%

3FG

3GA

%

FT

FTA

%

Off

Reb

Avg

PF

Ast

Blk

Stl

Pts

Avg

1976-77 26 801 105 219 47.9 * * * 41 54 75.9 * 78 3.0 80 250 9.6
1977-78 31 31 1061 213 437 48.7 * * * 93 128 72.7 * 124 4.0 61 118 1 44 519 16.7
1978-79 29 29 1024 170 341 49.9 * * * 83 100 83.0 * 90 3.1 56 157 1 57 423 14.6
1979-80 32 32 1164 159 350 45.4 * * * 77 106 72.6 * 91 2.8 68 228 3 57 395 12.3
Total 118 * 4050 647 1347 48.0 * * * 294 388 75.8 * 383 3.2 * 583 * * 1587 13.4
 
Top 25 Career Rankings By Statistic

GP

GS

Min

FG

FGA

%

3FG

3GA

%

FT

FTA

%

Off

Reb

Avg

PF

Ast

Blk

Stl

Pts

Avg

Total

13th * 5th 7th 7th * 17th 21st 14th * 20th * * 4th * 10th 11th *

Game Records Game High Game Low
Minutes Played 45 (12/26/79) Stats Incomplete
Points 27 (1/7/78) Stats Incomplete
Field Goals Made 10 (2 games) Stats Incomplete
Field Goals Attempted 25 (1/3/80) Stats Incomplete
3 Point FG Not Applicable Not Applicable
3 Point FG Attempted Not Applicable Not Applicable
Free Throws Made 9 (2 games) Stats Incomplete
Free Throws Attempted 10 (3 games) Stats Incomplete
Offensive Rebounds Not Applicable Not Applicable
Total Rebounds 9 (12/22/79) Stats Incomplete
Assists 13 (2/9/80) Stats Incomplete
Blocked Shots Not Recorded* Not Recorded*
Steals Stats Incomplete Stats Incomplete
* Individual game totals for these statistics not reflected in all box scores.

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