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Everybody Loves Nolan

And it’s not hard to see why

Duke v Miami
 MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 04: Director of Operations & Player Development Nolan Smith of the Duke Blue Devils looks on against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at the Watsco Center on January 04, 2020 in Miami, Florida.
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Out of everything that has us psyched about the Jon Scheyer era at Duke, nothing got us amped more than a couple of pictures. They showed Scheyer, Chris Carrawell, Amile Jefferson and Nolan Smith on what we think was a recruiting trip and it had this aura like the Beatles. You could see the chemistry and the excitement that they were feeling that they would be driving the bus themselves soon.

The first three probably will but Smith accepted a job at Louisville Monday where he’ll work for his father’s old teammate, Kenny Payne as his associate head coach.

It must have been a tough choice. On the one hand, he’s been part of great things at Duke. He won a national title as a player and came back in 2016 as a special assistant. In 2018 he became director of basketball operations & player development and in April of 2021 was named as an assistant coach.

Everyone recognizes his brilliance and charisma and we’ve said a couple of times now, he seems destined to someday be the Louisville coach. It’s a brilliant hire by Payne.

He has a home here and he’ll always be loved, but Louisville means an awful lot to him too. He was born there and bonded with the program and city. We hope he’s very happy with the move.

By the way, we came across this really nice link about Nolan’s lovely wife, Cheyna, and how they met: turns out she was at UNC and defended Smith against an obnoxious Maryland fan on Twitter. It’s a pretty great story.