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Prospect Profile

Nolan Smith

  • Full Name: Nolan Smith
  • Position: Guard
  • Height/Weight: 6-2 / 185
  • Birthdate: July 25, 1988
  • College: Duke
Portland Trail Blazers Round 1: Pick 21

Strengths:

  * Can get past defenders and attack the rim
  * Combo guard who really can play both positions well
  * Solid mid-range game
  * Can change games with his defense
  * Good facilitator
  * Tireless

Weaknesses:

  * Three-point shot can be a bit streaky
  * Not ideal size for a shooting guard
 

NBA projection:
Smith will be a first-round pick and be able to swing back and forth between point and shooting guard as his new team needs him. Unlike a lot of so-called combo guards, he's equally adept playing both spots.

2010-11 Season:
Smith had an exceptional season after being asked to take over the point when freshman Kyrie Irving went down with a freak toe injury in the Blue Devils' eighth game. He was voted the ACC Player of the Year and also earned first-team All-America honors.

Key statistics:
20.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 5.1 apg, 3.1 tpg, 1.2 spg, 34.0 mpg, .458 FG, .350 3PT, .813 FT

Cool statistic:
Smith made a bid this season to become the first player in ACC history to lead the league in scoring and assists. He managed to do the former but lost the assists title (6.2 apg to 5.1 apg) after North Carolina freshman Kendall Marshall was promoted to the starting lineup.

Reminds me of:
C.J. Watson

What Insiders Say:
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski
"Nolan's had an incredible year. I never talk about player of the year, but it's not even close in our conference. This kid nationally has got to be recognized. He's been consistent even with Kyrie [Irving], and then Kyrie goes down and that's a big load. I don't think anyone in the country has had that change and especially not the preseason and the first part of the season to prepare for your role. He's just, 'Okay I'll be Spiderman. I'll sing the lead. I'll take all those.' I think it's one of the best performances in a long time in our league, especially when you consider those things."

What Outsiders Say:
UAB coach Mike Davis
"The thing I like about him is his endurance. You can watch a game and you see a guy make eight points in a row and he's got to come out of the game, or he'll make a couple of hard plays and he's tired and got to come out. This guy is unbelievable from that standpoint. He plays the same way the whole night. When he's making shots, he's almost impossible to guard."

Chris Dortch is the editor of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook.

 

Duke
Season G MPG FGM FGA PCT FTM FTA PCT RPG APG SPG BPG PTS AVG
2007-08 34 14.7 70 150 .467 40 52 .769 1.5 1.3 0.5 0.1 202 5.9
2008-09 34 21.6 98 230 .426 62 73 .849 2.2 1.7 0.9 0.1 285 8.4
2009-10 38 35.5 239 542 .441 122 159 .767 2.8 3.0 1.2 0.2 660 17.4
2010-11 37 34.0 260 568 .458 187 230 .813 4.5 5.1 1.2 0.1 764 20.6
Totals 143 26.9 667 1490 .448 411 514 .800 2.8 2.8 1.0 0.1 1911 13.4
Three-point field goals: 2007-08, 22-for-57 (.386); 2008-09, 27-for-78 (.346); 2009-10, 60-for-153 (.392); 2010-11, 57-for-163 (.350). Totals: 166-for-451 (.368).

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