Duke basketball: Would Nolan Smith consider a return to Durham?

Former Duke basketball assistant coach Nolan Smith
Former Duke basketball assistant coach Nolan Smith /

Is it time for Nolan Smith to consider coming back to the Duke basketball program? 

As he enters his second season as an assistant coach at Louisville, former Duke basketball player and coach Nolan Smith has encountered a multitude of substantial challenges, to say the least.

The Cardinals found themselves delayed on the recruiting trail due to the timing of head coach Kenny Payne’s hiring and the subsequent completion of his coaching staff.

Consequently, Louisville concluded the season with a disappointing 4-28 (2-18 ACC) record.

Presently, the team faces another setback as prized 5-star recruit Trentyn Flowers announced his decision to leave the Cardinals at the end of its summer workout sessions and instead pursue a professional basketball career in Australia.

Could another underwhelming season potentially raise concerns about the job security of head coach Kenny Payne? It could seem unlikely, but stranger things have happened.

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While it’s crucial to acknowledge that this is entirely speculative, should such a scenario unfold, would the former Blue Devil contemplate a return to the sidelines at Cameron Indoor?

Making the case for a potential return to Duke basketball

It feels like just yesterday when Nolan Smith graced the Duke sideline, transitioning from a player to a coach.

He truly shined as a standout guard during his tenure in Durham and carved out a remarkable career for himself after averaging 13.8 points and 2.8 assists per game during his four year career.

As a National Champion alongside current head coach Jon Scheyer in 2010, the shared journey of the two Blue Devil legends led them to cultivate a dynamic partnership both on the court and on the sidelines.

The Smith and Scheyer duo established a dominant presence on the recruiting trail and showcased their exceptional ability to build connections with prospects, securing commitments from top-tier players year after year.

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Their recruiting efforts garnered widespread respect for their strategic approach to building a winning roster.

The Duke fanbase would undoubtedly welcome Nolan Smith back with open arms and, currently, the Blue Devils have a single available coaching spot that is yet to be filled.

During his tenure at Duke, he was renowned as an elite recruiter and the adding him back to the program him would further strengthen the already formidable coaching staff.

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