Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Nolan Smith Promoted to Assistant Coach

DURHAM – Duke Men's Basketball Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski has announced the promotion of Nolan Smith to assistant coach. Smith, a national championship player for the Blue Devils on the 2010 squad, has served as a member of the basketball staff since 2016.

Smith's promotion comes following the departure of Associate Head Coach Nate James to Austin Peay State University as its head coach.

"Nolan is a rising star," said Krzyzewski. "To get him on the court with our players on a day-to-day basis will mean so much to our program. Our players will benefit immensely from his enthusiasm to teach, but also the fact that he's young enough, he can show them. He can still play. We're very fortunate that he and his wife Cheyna are so involved in our program and our community. He is a national champion and has been such a great member of my staff as director of basketball operations, but he's done so much more for our school and our community. Nolan has always used his platform for the good of others. We are so lucky to have him and Durham is even luckier. The staff I'm fortunate to have of Jon ScheyerChris Carrawell and now Nolan Smith is a truly special one."

Smith joined the men's basketball staff in February 2016 and spent two seasons as the team's special assistant before his promotion to director of basketball operations and player development in March 2018.

"The game of basketball has been a blessing in my life, and so has Coach K and Duke University," said Smith. "Duke Basketball has meant the world to my family and me and I'm honored and humbled to be named an assistant coach. So many coaches, including Coach K, have meant so much to me and made such a positive impact on my life. I can't wait to help teach and develop the young Brotherhood stars and hopefully have a similar impact on them. I look forward to working with and learning from the great staff that we have at Duke with Jon and Chris and I can't wait to get started."

Duke's current coaching staff of Smith, Scheyer and Carrawell have all served as Duke captains, while Krzyzewski's assistants have been exclusively former Duke players since the 1998-99 season.

A consensus first-team All-American and ACC Player of the Year in 2011, Smith helped lead Duke to three consecutive ACC championships (2009-11) and the 2010 NCAA title during his tenure as a student-athlete.

He was a two-time All-ACC selection (2010-11) and named ACC Tournament MVP as a senior in 2011. Smith led the ACC in scoring in his final season and his 764 points that year still rank as the ninth-best total in program history.

In helping propel Duke to its fourth national championship in 2010, Smith was named Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA South Regional in Houston and earned a place on the All-Final Four Team after the Blue Devils cut down the nets in Indianapolis.

The Upper Marlboro, Md., native currently ranks 17th on Duke's career scoring chart, having amassed 1,911 points from 2008-11. He played in 121 victories in a Duke uniform to rank fifth in program history and sixth in ACC history, and his 143 games played are tied for the eighth-most in Duke annals. He served as a team captain as a senior in 2011.

During his tenure as a student-athlete, Duke went 65-2 (.970) at Cameron Indoor Stadium to set program records for both home wins and winning percentage in a four-year period.

Following his graduation, Smith was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 21st overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

In the summer of 2016, Smith was named the North Carolina state ambassador for Teen Cancer America. TCA is an organization designed to help bridge the gap between pediatric and adult oncology care. Smith serves as an ambassador alongside celebrities such as The Band Perry, Eddie Vedder and Joan Jett for the organization that was founded by rock icons Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who.

In addition to his work with TCA, Smith continues to use his platform in basketball for the benefit of others. Active for quite some time in the Durham community in raising awareness of social justice issues, Smith was named a George H.W. Bush Points of Light Inspiration honoree in the summer of 2020. He was also recognized as the Tar Heel of Month in October 2020 by the Raleigh News & Observer, awarded to a citizen that has made significant contributions to North Carolina and the region.

In July 2018, Smith was one of 11 from Division I basketball named to the Teamworks Basketball Leadership Committee. The committee, comprised of the most forward-thinking Teamworks' partners from around the country, will converge to help shape the future of athlete engagement and drive the development of best practices throughout the athletics industry.

Smith and his wife Cheyna have a young daughter, Camryn, and a young son, Derek.

Matthew Hurt Declares for NBA Draft

DURHAM – Duke sophomore forward Matthew Hurt has declared for the 2021 NBA Draft. The first-team All-ACC selection, who led the league in scoring this season, intends to hire an agent.

"First I want to thank God and my family for blessing me with this opportunity and helping me continue to achieve my goals," said Hurt. "And of course, I'm so appreciative of Coach K, the coaches and staff at Duke for always trusting and believing in me. It was always a dream of mine to play at Duke, and it's also a dream of mine to play in the NBA. Duke has made me become a better player and person, and has put me in a position to take this next step in my career. I know this has been a difficult year for so many people, and although our Cameron Crazies didn't get to see us play this season, know that we appreciate all the love the and support you show our team. Finally, I want to thank all of my past and current teammates for driving me to get better every day. Although I will miss putting on the Duke jersey, it means so much that I'll have a part in the Duke Brotherhood for life."

A native of Rochester, Minn., Hurt emerged as one of the ACC's elite offensive performers in his sophomore campaign. His 18.3 points per game and 18.6 points in conference-only games both led the league, while his .556 field goal percentage ranked second in the conference and 38th nationally. A consistent threat from the perimeter, Hurt knocked down 56-of-126 (.444) from three-point range, and his 2.33 made three-pointers per contest were good for fourth in the ACC.

"The NBA team that drafts Matthew is getting a player very dedicated to his craft," said head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "He is already a pro in how he approaches the game and approaches his development as a player and a person. I want to thank Matthew and his family for being a part of our program for two years, and I can't wait to follow his growth at the next level. He is a skilled offensive player and it's a shame our fans didn't get a chance to appreciate in person the incredible season he had as a sophomore. We will miss Matthew and wish him all of the best as he attacks the next phase of his journey."

Named the ACC's Most Improved Player, a first-team All-ACC pick and a two-time ACC Player of the Week in 2021, Hurt boosted his scoring average from 9.7 points per game as a freshman to 18.3 as a sophomore, while his field goal percentage rose from .487 to .556, his three-point accuracy from .393 to .444 and his rebounding from 3.8 boards per game to 6.2. He posted 20+ points on 10 occasions and registered three double-doubles this past season.

In addition to his ACC accolades, Hurt was the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) District III Player of the Year and named to both the USBWA and National Basketball Coaches Association (NABC) All-District Teams.

The Blue Devils have had at least one player selected in 33 of 40 NBA Drafts under Krzyzewski. Coach K has tutored 67 draft picks since taking over the Duke program, including a Draft-record 41 first-round selections.

Duke offers Jaylen Blakes

Duke offers 2021 guard Jaylen Blakes a scholarship per a source close to the situation. Blakes played his shoe camp ball for the New York Lightning and attends Blair Academy.

The Blue Devils covet another guard this year and Blakes would fill in nicely as a tweener. Blakes ranks #85 in the ESPN Top 100.

Blakes holds offers from St. John's, Texas, UConn, and others. Duke is looking to add depth to a thin backcourt, so stay tuned for more as this situation progresses.

Trevor Keels to Duke!

The Duke Blue Devils landed a much-needed recruit today when Trevor Keels elected to play his college basketball career in Durham, N.C.

The shooting guard prospect is a strong guard capable of knocking down the three pointer or driving the ball. Keels played alongside current Blue Devil Jeremy Roach at Paul VI Catholic High School. so there is a familiarity there.

Keels stands about 6-5 and weighs over 200 pounds making for strong play on the court with a ready-made body for the college level.

The Virginia native chose Duke over Kentucky, Villanova, and home state school Virginia.

Duke has lost three players to the transfer portal and one early to the NBA with Matthew Hurts decision expected to come soon. Should Hurt leave as many expect, Keels addition gives Duke just eight scholarship players on their roster.

The Blue Devils will likely turn their attention to filling out the roster via the transfer portal or prospects still unsigned or who may de-commit via coaching changes at other schools.

More to come.