Duke basketball legend looking to make jump to professional hoops

Former Duke basketball coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Nolan Smith (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Former Duke basketball coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Nolan Smith (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

A former Duke basketball coach is looking to get out of college basketball. 

The struggles at Louisville have been well documented a former Duke basketball player and coach Nolan Smith could be looking to remove himself from the mess in Kentucky.

Reports surfaced from college basketball social media personality ‘Trilly Donovan‘ on Tuesday that the current assistant coach for the Cardinals will be interviewing for the head coaching position of the Go-Go Wizards, the NBA G-League affiliate of the Washington Wizards.

Cody Toppert, an assistant coach at LSU, is also reportedly interviewing for the job, according to Donovan.

Smith, a Louisville native, left the Duke coaching staff following the final season of Mike Krzyzewski’s tenure as the head coach of the program to join Kenny Payne’s staff and try and revitalize the once proud tradition of the Cardinals.

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Louisville was arguably the worst major conference team in the country last season after a 4-28 (2-18 ACC) season and things did not get better this offseason after 5-star recruit Trentyn Flowers decided to leave the program after summer workouts to begin a professional career in the Australian NBL.

Nolan Smith began his coaching career in 2016 when he joined the Blue Devils staff as a special assistant before being promoted to Director of Basketball Operations and Player Development in 2018 before finally becoming an assistant coach in 2021.

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Ball Durham’s contributor Pablo Cong speculated about Smith’s future at Louisville following the surprising departure of Flowers and debated whether or not he would return to a coaching role on Jon Scheyer’s staff at Duke.

While the idea of returning to Durham seemed far-fetched, the 35-year old trying to bolt from the program in which his father won a National Championship is closer to a reality than a dream.

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Nolan Smith was the No. 21 overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers and played two seasons with the organization before embarking on a professional career overseas.

He returned to the United States and played in then NBA D-League for one season for the Delaware 87ers, the affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers.

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