Smith Brimming With Confidence

In order to succeed in a game like the McDonald's All-American game, it helps to feel you deserve to be there. The same can be said for success on the college level. If that's the case, there should be little doubt about whether or not Nolan Smith will be a productive player at Duke.

The 6-2 guard carries himself with a confidence and maturity that you won't find in many players his age. Because of that, he's been able to enjoy his time in Louisville.

"It's been fun, being out here with a bunch of great guys and players," said Smith. "We're all just having fun, playing basketball and best of all it's for a great cause like the Ronald McDonald House."

The game carries a little extra meaning for Smith. His late father Derek, was a college star at Louisville and the chance to play in Freedom Hall in front of family is something that he cherishes.

"It means a lot to me, I have a lot of family here," said Smith. "My grandparents are in town. Just to come home to where my dad made his legacy means a lot. To step onto the court and see his championship banner hanging up and his jersey in the rafters it's going to bring a smile to my face."

When Smith talks of his father's legacy at Louisville, he can't help but think maybe he could do the same thing at Duke.

"Hopefully I'll leave one just like his," said Smith. "In the years when I come back to Duke I hope to see my jersey in the rafters. Hopefully it will be there with two national championships. Who knows, maybe three or maybe four. Hopefully I can help to do that."

An easygoing kid who can be found with a smile on his face more often than not, Smith is also enjoying the opportunity to see and play against his future teammates Taylor King and Kyle Singler. Although King and Singler are on the opposing West squad, they've been able to find plenty of time to hang out and plot their futures in Durham.

"It's cool, I get to see them play again, I had a chance to play with them on the USA 18 and under team last summer," said Smith of his future teammates. "Now we're here getting to know each other and it's been fun. Everybody's had great seasons and that's why we're all here. The three Dukies, we're just here loving it."

Looking ahead to his freshman season, Smith hopes that he can bring some swagger back to the Duke program.

"I just want to bring back that swagger that they are used to having," says Smith. "They've always had that one or two guys that could get it done. They had players this year, but they just didn't get it all together like they wanted to. So now with Taylor, Kyle and myself coming in we can help.

"Kyle can just flat out play, Taylor's a shooter and myself we're just coming in winners. Hopefully those close games that they lost this year, they won't be losing next year."

With his campus arrival only a few months away, Smith is busy readying himself for life in the ACC. There are areas of his game that he knows need work, but it is no surprise that he's confident in his abilities to get the job done and that bodes well for his future.

"I'm going to work on my ball handling and getting stronger," said Smith. "I just want to get in shape so I can lock up on defense and get after it pushing the ball on offense and scoring. It really doesn't matter to me whether I play the one or two, whichever Coach K wants me to play, I can do it."


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