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Nolan Derek Smith (born July 25, 1988) is an American former professional basketball player and current director of basketball operations [1] for the Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team. He played college basketball for Duke before being drafted 21st overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2011 NBA draft.[2] As a junior, he started at shooting guard for Duke's national champion 2010 team. As a senior, he was named a consensus first-team All-American and the ACC Player of the Year.

Nolan Smith
Nolan Smith 2011 - FEB 13 - Miami Hurricanes at Duke Blue Devils 1.jpg
Smith playing for Duke in February 2011
Duke Blue Devils
PositionDirector of Basketball Operations
LeagueAtlantic Coast Conference
Personal information
Born (1988-07-25) July 25, 1988 (age 31)
Louisville, Kentucky
Listed height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High schoolOak Hill Academy
(Mouth of Wilson, Virginia)
CollegeDuke (2007–2011)
NBA draft2011 / Round: 1 / Pick: 21st overall
Selected by the Portland Trail Blazers
Playing career2011–2015
PositionPoint guard
Coaching career2016–present
Career history
As player:
20112013Portland Trail Blazers
2013Idaho Stampede
2013–2014Cedevita Zagreb
2014–2015Delaware 87ers
As coach:
2016–presentDuke (special asst./DBO)
Career highlights and awards
Stats at

Early lifeEdit

As a child, Smith frequently attended Washington Bullets practices after his father, then-former NBA player, Derek Smith, took their assistant coach position in 1994. Following the shocking death of his father in 1996, the Bullets made him a frequent guest at their home games. [3]

High school careerEdit

As an eighth grader, Smith played varsity basketball for The Key School in Annapolis, Maryland before moving to St. John's College High School in Washington, D.C. for his freshman season in 2003–04. At St. John's, he was a third-team all-conference pick while averaging 10.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game.[4]

As a sophomore in 2004–05, Smith attended Riverdale Baptist School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. There, he averaged 16 points, six rebounds, eight assists and three steals per game as he led Riverdale to a 33-1 record and subsequently earned third-team All-Metro honors.[4]

For his junior and senior years, Smith attended Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia where he was a two-year captain and played alongside several future NBA players, including Michael Beasley, Ty Lawson and Brandon Jennings. In 2005–06, he averaged 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals per game as he helped Oak Hill to a 40–1 overall record and a final USA Today No. 2 national ranking. He subsequently earned EA Sports second-team All-America honors.[4]

On November 13, 2006, Smith signed a National Letter of Intent to play college basketball for Duke University.[5]

As a senior in 2006–07, Smith averaged 22.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.2 steals per game as he led his team to a 40-1 record, tying the school's single season wins record and helping Oak Hill earn the top spot in the final USA Today 2007 Super 25 national rankings. He earned first-team EA Sports and Parade All-American honors and was named to the Les Schwab Invitational all-tournament team after leading Oak Hill to the championship. He also earned McDonald's All-American honors.[4]

Considered a four-star recruit by, Smith was listed as the No. 8 shooting guard and the No. 39 player in the nation in 2007.[6]

College careerEdit

Freshman yearEdit

As a freshman at Duke in 2007–08, Smith played in all 34 games, with one starting assignment as he averaged 5.9 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 14.7 minutes per game. He earned his first collegiate start against Cornell on January 6, 2008 and scored nine points on 4-of-6 shooting, while overall, he scored in double figures six times, including a season-high 21 points against Wake Forest on February 17.[4]

Sophomore yearEdit

As a sophomore in 2008–09, Smith played in 34 games, with 21 starting assignments as he averaged 8.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He finished the season ranked fourth on the team in double-figure scoring games with 17. He scored a season-high 16 points, along with five rebounds and four assists, against Michigan on November 21, 2008.[4]

Junior yearEdit

As a junior in 2009–10, Smith started 38 games after sitting out the first two games of the season, serving a suspension for playing in a non-sanctioned summer league game. He averaged 17.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He led the Blue Devils in field goals made; finished second in assists, steals and three-point field goal percentage; and third on the team in scoring, three-point field goals, free throws made, free throw percentage and minutes. He subsequently earned second-team All-ACC honors, and claimed USBWA All-District III and NABC Second Team All-District 2 honors.[4]

March 28, 2010, Smith scored a then career-high 29 points on 9-of-17 from the field in an Elite Eight game, as Duke defeated Baylor and advanced to the Final Four.[4] In that game, Smith (628 points), Jon Scheyer (690 points) and Kyle Singler (667 points) became the second trio in Duke history to each score at least 600 points in a season; in 2001–02, Jay Williams, Carlos Boozer and Mike Dunleavy, Jr. first accomplished that feat for Duke.[7]

Smith went on to earn NCAA All-Final Four team as he led Duke to an NCAA championship victory. He averaged 16 points and five assists per game in wins over West Virginia and Butler.[4]

Senior yearEdit

Nolan (2) was named ACC Player of the Year in 2011.

As a senior in 2010–11, Smith started 37 games as he averaged 20.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game.[8] He was named the 12th ACC Player of the Year in school history after becoming the 11th Duke player to lead the league in scoring. He earned first-team All-ACC and ACC All-Defensive team honors, and NABC and USBWA first-team All-District honors after leading Duke to a 32-5 record and a third consecutive ACC championship. He was also a finalist for the Naismith Trophy, Wooden Award, Oscar Robertson Trophy and Bob Cousy Award.[4]

On February 9, 2011, Smith scored a career high 34 points in a home win over No. 20 North Carolina, making a career-high 13 field goal attempts.[4]

Smith was the team captain in 2010–11, along with fellow senior Kyle Singler. He was well respected amongst his peers as teammates gravitated towards him in the locker room because of his passion for the game, and his ability to remain energetic and loose in high-pressure situations. He became just the ninth player under Mike Krzyzewski to average over 20.0 points per game, and with his 764 total points in 2010–11, he recorded the ninth highest single season total and is just the 19th time a Duke player has scored 700 or more.[4]

College statisticsEdit

2007–08 Duke 34 1 14.7 .467 .386 .769 1.5 1.3 .5 .1 5.9
2008–09 Duke 34 21 21.6 .426 .346 .849 2.2 1.7 .9 .1 8.4
2009–10 Duke 38 38 35.5 .441 .392 .767 2.8 3.0 1.2 .2 17.4
2010–11 Duke 37 37 34.0 .458 .350 .813 4.5 5.1 1.2 .1 20.6
Career 143 98 26.9 .448 .368 .800 2.8 2.8 1.0 .1 13.4

Professional careerEdit

Portland Trail Blazers (2011–2013)Edit

Smith was selected with the 21st overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. On December 9, 2011, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Trail Blazers.[9] As a rookie, he played 44 games (four starts) and averaged 3.8 points, 1.4 assists and 1.3 rebounds in 12.3 minutes per game.

In July 2012, Smith joined the Trail Blazers for the 2012 NBA Summer League, but managed just two games after he was ruled out for the rest of the competition on July 17 when he received an elbow to the head from Rockets' swingman Zoran Dragić while driving to the hoop. He was carried out on a stretcher and the game was called off with 27 seconds left to play. Later that day, after tests came back normal, he was released from Las Vegas hospital.[10]

On January 6, 2013, Smith was assigned to the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League.[11] On January 9, he was recalled by the Trail Blazers after competing in both of Idaho's games at the 2013 NBA D-League Showcase in Reno. He averaged 22.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.0 steals in 38.0 minutes per game as he was named Showcase honorable mention honors.[12][13] He finished his sophomore season with averages of 2.8 points, 0.7 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 40 games.

Croatia (2013–2014)Edit

In July 2013, Smith joined the Boston Celtics for the 2013 NBA Summer League where he played just one game and scored four points.[14]

On August 18, 2013, Smith signed a one-year deal with Cedevita Zagreb of the Croatian League.[15][16] He gained a lot of media attention in the country after hitting a buzzer beater three-pointer with 0.6 seconds left in the semi-final of the ABA League Final Four, securing his team a spot in the 2014–15 Euroleague, and leaving a Serbian legendary club Partizan out of the Euroleague for the first time after 14 years, and the first time since ULEB takeover of the competition in 2000.[17]

Turkey (2014)Edit

In July 2014, Smith joined the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 2014 NBA Summer League where he averaged 4.6 points, 1.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in five games.

On August 29, 2014, Smith signed a one-year deal with Galatasaray Liv Hospital of the Turkish Basketball League.[18] On October 19, 2014, in a Turkish League game against Banvit,[19] he threw a towel while being subbed out, after which head coach Ergin Ataman expelled him from the arena.[20] He later apologized for this incident.[21] He later parted ways with Galatasaray on October 27, 2014.[22]

Delaware 87ers (2014–2015)Edit

On November 26, 2014, Smith was acquired by the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Development League.[23] On January 15, 2015, he was waived by the 87ers.[24]

Coaching careerEdit

On February 22, 2016, Smith joined the Duke Blue Devils coaching staff as a special assistant.[25][26]

Career statisticsEdit

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high


Regular seasonEdit

2011–12 Portland 44 4 12.3 .372 .289 .714 1.3 1.4 .4 .1 3.8
2012–13 Portland 40 0 7.2 .368 .214 .714 .7 .9 .2 .0 2.8
Career 84 4 9.9 .371 .260 .714 1.0 1.2 .3 .0 3.3


2014–15 Galatasaray 1 0 16.4 .222 .000 1.000 3.0 1.0 .0 .0 6.0 -1.0
Career 1 0 16.4 .222 .000 1.000 3.0 1.0 .0 .0 6.0 -1.0


Smith is the son of Monica Smith, and the late Derek Smith, and one older sister, Sydney Smith.[4] His father played basketball at Louisville and was a member of the 1980 NCAA championship team that defeated UCLA. His father then played nine years in the NBA. At age 34, Derek died of a heart attack while he and his family were on a cruise ship near Bermuda.[3]

Smith has a tattoo on his right arm, with his father's likeness and the words: "Forever Watching."[27] He grew up with Michael Beasley and remains friends with him.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ Fagan, Ryan (March 7, 2010). "Duke's Nolan Smith: 'Our big guys have definitely gotten better'". Retrieved March 21, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Dinich, Heather (January 16, 2008). "Nolan Smith keeps the memory of his father close". Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Nolan Smith Bio". Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  5. ^ "Blue Devils Ink Three During Early Signing Period". November 13, 2006. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  6. ^ Nolan Smith Recruiting Profile
  7. ^ "Notes: Duke 78, Baylor 71". March 28, 2010. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  8. ^ "Nolan Smith Stats". Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  9. ^ "Blazers rookie Smith signs". December 9, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  10. ^ "Allen: Nolan Smith Likely Out For Remainder Of Summer League". July 17, 2012. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  11. ^ "BARTON, SMITH ASSIGNED TO STAMPEDE FROM BLAZERS". January 6, 2013. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  12. ^ "Trail Blazers recall Nolan Smith and Will Barton from D-League". January 9, 2013. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  13. ^ "Three Mad Ants Earn 2013 Showcase Honors". January 14, 2013. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  14. ^ Holmes, Baxter (July 4, 2013). "A quick look at the Celtics' Summer League roster". Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  15. ^ "Nolan Smith signs with Cedevita Zagreb". August 18, 2013. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  16. ^ Obradovic, Igor (August 18, 2013). "Nolan Smith agreed terms with Cedevita". Sports I.T. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  17. ^ "Smit kao Kecman, Partizan bez EL". (in Serbian). April 25, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  18. ^ "Galatasaray brings aboard point guard Smith". August 29, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  19. ^ "TBL 2014–2015 Day 2 Game – Banvit vs Galatasaray". Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  20. ^ Kalaf, Samer (October 19, 2014). "Nolan Smith Throws Towel While Walking To Bench, Infuriates Coach". Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  21. ^ "Nolan Smith: 'Havluyu hocaya fırlatmadım'". (in Turkish). October 21, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  22. ^ "Nolan Smith leaves Galatasaray". October 27, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  23. ^ "Sports dispatches for Thursday". November 26, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  24. ^ "Delaware 87ers acquire Jared Cunningham". January 15, 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  25. ^ Nolan Smith Joins Staff as Special Assistant
  26. ^ Nolan Smith joins Duke coaching staff as special assistant
  27. ^ Jones, Gordie (March 19, 2013). "Nolan Smith knows his father Derek is forever watching". Retrieved November 30, 2014.

External linksEdit