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Nolan Smith On What Coach K Said About His Move To Louisville

Another example of Mike Krzyzewski’s emotional intelligence

Syndication: The Courier-Journal
 UofL assistant basketball coach Nolan Smith during his introductory press conference Monday afternoon. Smith came from Duke University, where he was noted as a strong recruiter and up-and-coming coach. April 11, 2022 
Matt Stone/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

When Mike Krzyzewski was recruiting Tommy Amaker, his future point guard wanted to make one thing very clear: he was not interested in playing for a Bobby Knight clone.

Krzyzewski gave assurances, not for the last time, that he was not a clone of his old coach Knight but that he would always be his own man.

And of course Amaker bought in and helped to change the history of Duke Basketball.

We mention it because of Coach K’s reaction to Nolan Smith’s move to Louisville.

Smith, correctly, saw that he could not leave Duke without talking to Krzyzewski. And while Knight might have berated him, called him disloyal or thrown him out of his office, K did nothing of the kind.

Smith: “There’s no way I could leave that office without going up there and talking to him. I think he was finalizing his plans to go to Vegas and start his retirement, but he said this was a great business decision. There was no pullback. Nothing where he felt like, ‘I need you here.’ No. He said it was a great business decision and (that) he was so happy for me and my family.”