Coach K promotes Nolan Smith to assistant coach. What that means for Duke basketball.

Steve Wiseman
·1 min read

With one former Duke basketball team captain moving to his first head coaching job, another is moving into a larger role on coach Mike Krzyzewski’s staff.

Nolan Smith, the 2011 ACC player of the year who also captained the Blue Devils that season as a senior, is now an assistant coach on Duke’s staff.

Smith replaces the position left open when Nate James, a team captain during his Duke player days before becoming an assistant coach, was named Austin Peay’s head coach on April 2.

A first-round pick by the Portland Trail Blazers following his Duke playing career, Smith returned to Duke as a special assistant on Krzyzewski’s staff in 2016. In 2018, Smith became the team’s director of basketball operations and player development.

Both roles, though, didn’t allow him to work on the court with players or recruit off-campus. NCAA rules limit those duties to the head coach and three assistant coaches.

With his promotion, the 32-year-old Smith can now fulfill those duties along with Duke associate head coach Jon Scheyer and Blue Devils assistant coach Chris Carrawell.

As a player, Smith was a two-time, all-ACC selection as a guard while helping the Blue Devils win the 2010 NCAA tournament championship. He and Scheyer comprised Duke’s starting backcourt that season.

As a senior, Smith averaged 20.6 points per game and was named a first-team, all-American in addition to the ACC’s player of the year and tournament most valuable player.