DURHAM, N.C. – Seniors Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith were named team captains for the 2010-11 men’s basketball season, head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced on Tuesday. Both players are first time team captains.
“We’re really excited about naming our co-captains so early this year, and the reason is obvious – Nolan and Kyle are our leaders,” Krzyzewski said. “They have big shoes to fill. Losing the three seniors, who all were outstanding leaders, is the biggest gap we have to fill. But we’re confident that these two young men can do it.”
Singler, the 2010 Final Four Most Outstanding Player, averaged 17.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.0 steals per game as a junior while leading Duke to a 35-5 record and the school’s fourth NCAA Championship. He became one of 18 players in school history to score over 700 points in a single season, finishing with 707 points in 2010. Singler, a two-time AP honorable mention All-America selection, ranks 18th on Duke’s career scoring list with 1,767 points. He is also 11th on the career three-point field goals chart with 205, 18th with 762 rebounds and 15th with 95 blocked shots. Singler has scored in double-figures 95 times with 32 games with 20 or more points scored. He also has 20 career double-doubles to his credit. Singler, a three-time All-ACC selection and the ACC Rookie of the Year in 2008, has helped Duke to a 93-18 (.838) record over the last three seasons. He has been a member of back-to-back ACC Tournament Championship teams in 2009 and 2010, making the ACC All-Tournament team both years and earning ACC Tournament MVP honors this year.
“Nolan and I have grown so much over the last three years and now it is time for both of us step forward and become vocal leaders of this team,” Singler added. “I am honored to be a team captain and take great pride in my ability to help lead the team. We had three great senior leaders a year ago and Nolan and I are determined to follow their example.”
Smith is coming off a breakout junior campaign in which he averaged 17.4 points per game, a 9.0 point per game increase over his sophomore season. He collected NCAA Tournament South Region Most Outstanding Player honors after scoring a career-high 29 points in Duke’s 78-71 win over Baylor in Houston. Smith also earned NCAA All-Final Four Team, ACC All-Tournament Team and second team All-ACC honors a year ago. Smith became the 60th player in Duke history to top the 1,000-point plateau in 2010 and ranks 45th at Duke with 1,147 career points. He has scored in double figures in 59 career games, including 36 times as a junior.
“Being named team captain along with Kyle is a huge honor,” Smith said. “I am excited about my leadership role with the 2010-11 team. We have high goals set for this team and the only way we can accomplish them is with hard work and great leadership.”
The Blue Devils are 93-18 since Singler and Smith joined the program, with the 93 victories matching the fifth-best three-year win total in school history. Duke is 52-8 over the last three seasons with the tandem in the starting lineup.