Duke Basketball Champ Nolan Smith May Join Fellow Blue Devil's Staff

It looks as though Nolan Smith will be an assistant to a Duke basketball legend.
Duke basketball guard Nolan Smith
Duke basketball guard Nolan Smith / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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Former four-year Duke basketball guard Nolan Smith spent six seasons as an assistant under Mike Krzyzewski before joining Kenny Payne's staff at Louisville in 2022. That move occurred about the same time fellow 2010 national champion Jon Scheyer officially began his tenure as head coach of the Blue Devils.

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But Smith has been out of a job since the Cardinals parted ways with Payne in mid-March. Now, judging by growing chatter and a few reports on social media, the 35-year-old's next stop appears to be Orlando, Fla., to become an assistant under 1982-86 Blue Devil great Johnny Dawkins.

Dawkins, boasting a 148-103 record between his eight seasons at the helm with the Knights, has known Smith since he was in diapers and Dawkins was playing alongside Smith's father, the late Derek Smith, with the Philadelphia 76ers from 1989 to 1991.

Their lasting bond and shared Duke basketball connection should make for an ideal fit.

Before beginning his coaching career in Durham, Nolan Smith, the No. 21 overall pick at the 2011 NBA Draft, saw action in 84 games across his two seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers. He then spent a few years playing overseas and in what was the NBA D-League (now the G League).

Johnny Dawkins (2,556 points as a Blue Devil) and Nolan Smith (1,911 points) rank No. 2 and No. 18, respectively, on the all-time Duke basketball scoring list.

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Matt Giles


Matt Giles is the editor and publisher of FanNation's Blue Devil Country and All Tar Heels, covering the Duke Blue Devils and UNC Tar Heels on SI.com.