Duke basketball’s top 10 shooters of the past decade

Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball guard Nolan Smith (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Top 10 Duke basketball shooters of the past decade: No. 9 Nolan Smith

434. Pick Analysis. Guard. 2007-11. Nolan Smith. 9. player. Scouting Report

Nolan Smith is one of mine and duke fans everywhere’s favorite Blue Devils of all-time. Nolan was such a fun player to watch and was responsible for many Duke basketball victories. It is awesome that we still get to see Nolan Smith every game, just now on the sidelines.

If this list was purely about scoring, Nolan Smith would certainly be in the top five. As a shooter, though, Smith was still excellent. He didn’t come to Duke with the reputation of being an amazing 3-point shooter. In his first two seasons, Smith was not a great outside shooter. He made 22 threes his freshman year and 27 his sophomore year.

He wasn’t a guy you could leave wide open, but he wasn’t a legitimate knock-down shooting threat just yet. But Smith’s shooting took a huge jump from his sophomore to junior season. He connected on 60 threes his junior year and became a reliable outside shooter.

It seems like in his junior year, Smith became a much more confident outside shooter. He began to seek out the 3-point shot, something he didn’t do as much in his first two seasons as a Blue Devil. Smith’s improvement as a shooter was a huge reason why Duke was able to cut down the nets in April 2010. He hit four 3-pointers in each of Duke’s Elite Eight and Final Four victories over Baylor and West Virginia.

Smith’s shooting numbers took a little bit of a dip his senior season, mostly because he had to be the point guard after Kyrie Irving missed the majority of the season with a toe injury. Smith had to run the offense as well as set up his teammates, which forced him not to hunt his own shot as much.

He led the ACC in scoring during the 2010-11 season at over 20 points per game. And Smith shot close to 46 percent overall from the field his senior year. He wasn’t a guy you would run off screens to get open because he had the handles and shiftiness to create his own shot. He also greatly improved his catch-and-shoot game in his junior and senior years.

Nolan Smith was one of the most dynamic players to ever suit up for Duke basketball. He would be more accurately labeled as a scoring guard, but Smith was always a 3-point threat. And especially his final two seasons, he emerged as an extremely viable outside shooting threat.