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Nolan Smith has national champion DNA. He is the son of Derek Smith, who won the 1980 national championship as a member of the Louisville Cardinals.
Only Nolan was forced to grow up without his father. When he was only eight years old, Derek Smith died from a massive heart attack.
Derek Smith was an assistant coach with the Washington Bullets at the time of his death and many Bullets players made it a point to mentor and look out for Nolan after his father passed away. Nolan formed strong relationships with many of the players, including Johnny Dawkins, who was then a member of the Bullets.
Dawkins would later become an assistant coach at Duke and his relationship with Smith helped lead the talented guard to Duke when he was being recruited out of high school.
Nolan would go on to become an All-American and National Player of the Year during his Duke career. He also helped the Blue Devils win the 2010 National Championship in Indianapolis—the same city Derek Smith and the Louisville Cardinals won the national championship in 1980.
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