Nolan Smith: Following in his father's footsteps
Saturday morning my wife and I arrived at Card Gym on the Duke University campus at 8:00 a.m. to watch the son of former UofL great, Derek Smith. Nolan Smith, a 6'2 8th grader, is one of the top players nationally in his class.
Smith, who will attend St. John's Prep in Washington, D.C., next year, didn't shoot the ball particularly well in the early morning contest but clearly demonstrated the skills that will make him one of the most sought prospects in the nation in a few short years.
Nolan and his D.C. Assault 15-Under AAU team struggled against a talented Forrest City (NC) Heat and its effective zone defense, trailing by double digits most of the game against a bigger, more physical opponent.
The younger Smith, who sports a size 18 shoe, physically resembles his father. Doctors have indicated he will likely reach 6'6 or 6'7 before he's finished growing. But more importantly, Nolan possesses that same intense, competitive desire that endeared his late father to University of Louisville fans more than 20 years ago.
Nolan has the complete skill package for such a young player. He has a great stroke, has no trouble creating his own shot off the dribble, and is a smooth finisher on the break. He has solid passing and ball handling skills and uses his long arms to create problems for his opponents at the defensive end.
Against the Heat, Nolan had 19 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 assists and 3 blocked shots. He made 3 triples, two of which came during the crucial last minute of regulation. And with 1 second remaining in the contest, Nolan gave his defender a head fake, took one bounce to the right to free himself and drained the game tying three pointer that sent the game to overtime.
However, D.C. Assault would fall to the Forrest City team in a sudden death second overtime, 58-57. But don't feel sorry for Nolan Smith. The sky is limit for this young man!
Tournament of Champions