Duke basketball coaching staff on verge of unexpected shakeup

Duke basketball assistant Jon Scheyer (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball assistant Jon Scheyer (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball coaching staff is on the verge of an unexpected shakeup. 

Every offseason there are rumblings that a Duke basketball assistant coach could get the call to become a head coach, but in this offseason, that idea feels much more tangible.

In the midst of the Elite Eight battle between Baylor and Arkansas, Stadium college basketball insider Jeff Goodman tweeted that Duke associate head coach Nate James is “one of the leading candidates” for the head coaching vacancy at Austin Peay.

James was a player for the Blue Devils from 1996-2001 in which he appeared in two Final Fours and won the 2001 National Championship. After completing a professional career overseas, he returned to Durham as a conditioning coach in 2008 and was promoted to an assistant in 2009.

The 43-year-old helped guide Duke to two National Championships (2010, 2015) while sitting next to Mike Krzyzewski on the bench, and his name has been floating around for some mid-major head coaching jobs over the last two seasons.

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Austin Peay is coming off a 14-10 season (10-10 Ohio Valley), and the Governors have made the NCAA Tournament once since 2010 and just three times since 2000.

Nate James is one of the best recruiters in the country and would be a major loss for the Blue Devils should he find himself as the next head coach of Austin Peay.

Duke basketball coaching staff could undergo more changes

Amid the Nate James news, fellow associate head coach Jon Scheyer is still in the mix for the head coaching vacancy at DePaul, located approximately 30 minutes outside of his hometown of  Northbrook, Illinois.

Should either James and/or Scheyer take a head coaching job, it would leave the door open for the return of Steve Wojciechowski to Durham after he was recently fired at Marquette.

Wojciechowski finds himself in a similar situation as Jeff Capel as the former Blue Devil was the head coach at Oklahoma, got fired, and returned to Durham as an assistant before landing the head coaching gig at Pittsburgh.

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Mike Krzyzewski could also promote Director of Basketball Operations and Player Development Nolan Smith to an assistant coaching position as he was rumored to be joining the Memphis Tigers last season as an assistant.

It’s not even April 1, and there are a lot of questions surrounding the roster of players and coaches heading into an offseason unlike any other in Durham, North Carolina.

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