Being a Dukie has it’s perks. One, you’re playing for an NCAA title contending team year in and year out. Two, you’re coached by the best of the best in Coach K. And three, your game is visible all season long. All of these points contribute to scouting and how comfortable an NBA team would feel picking you come draft night.
Nolan Smith, a 6-2 guard out of Duke University, averaged 20.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game in his senior season as a Blue Devil. Stepping in for and injured Kyrie Irving, Smith played a stellar season earning him first-team All-American accolades as well as the title of ACC Player of the year. His high-level playing was visible on the national stage.
“Nolan, I’ve seen him a lot. I saw him last year against the Olympic team and he did a good job playing against those guys,” Head Coach Nate McMillan said. “Duke is on TV probably weekly, so I’ve seen him play a lot and had the opportunity to work with Coach K who is a big fan of his. But he had a good workout today.”
As a skilled combo-guard forced to play more of the point—which he did successfully—Smith’s strong ability to pass defenders and consistent mid-range game that make him stand out.
“Nolan, we’ve seen him for so long, he is just a rock-solid, high-character guy. He’s proven at the college level, he’s improved every year, which we like,” Interim General Manager Chad Buchanan said. “He can score it, good defender. That was kind of his identity coming into college, was a defensive guard and he’s evolved into a pretty good offensive player as well.”