First off, I'd like to thank Nolan Smith for taking his time do this interview with me. It worked out great and it is definitely a must-read!
Nolan Smith will be a senior next season at Duke after he decided to come back to school and get his degree and play alongside teammate Kyle Singler and Coach K.
Despite losing key players, the Blue Devils expect to be at the top come next March, and, hopefully, capture a repeat championship.
Nolan was nice enough to answer 11 questions with me.
Garrett Tucker: To you, what area(s) of your game do you need to work on this offseason to help you not only succeed next year at Duke, but in the NBA as well?
Nolan Smith: This offseason I planned on getting more explosive and finishing stronger around the basket. And also increasing my range on my shot. Outside of that, just tightening up all areas of my game.
Tucker: What is the best thing about playing at Duke?
Smith: The exposure we gain, playing 30 plus TV games, and we get to play for the best coach (Mike Krzyzewski) with the best staff around him.
Tucker: Why do you think Duke should be the No. 1 team in the preseason polls come next fall?
Smith: I really don’t care if we are No. 1 in the preseason polls, because now next year's team has to prove we are the No.1 team at the end of the year, not the beginning. But I will say next year's team will be deep and ready to play.
Tucker: How has Coach K help you achieve what you want to do with your life?
Smith: Coach K has taught me so many life lessons. When I leave Duke University, I will be a better person, with a great mind for learning and competing, which is what life throws at you.
Tucker: What did it feel like to win a National Championship this season?
Smith: It was incredible. It was an amazing feeling and a dream come true. This team worked so hard for this and the best part about it, nobody believed in us, but we believed in ourselves the whole season.
Tucker: What was the biggest factor for you to return to school for another year?
Smith: Kyle Singler and I came in together, so we wanted to leave together. We have a team that can possibly do it again and that excites me. I'd love to pull a back-to-back.
Tucker: The team is losing a great group of seniors. Who will help replace them, according to you?
Smith: Mason and Miles Plumlee will step up and be ready to be our forces in the paint like Zoubs (Brian Zoubek) and Lance (Lance Thomas) were for us this year. As for Jon (Jon Scheyer), we will be loaded at the guard position to help pick up the slack for losing Mr. Scheyer.
Tucker: What is your opinion on underclassmen (especially freshmen) declaring and entering the draft?
Smith: If they are ready, they are ready. Some want a college degree, but some want the money. Can't go wrong with either way.
Tucker: Where do you think LeBron James will be playing come next season?
Smith: He has unfinished business to take care of in Cleveland.
Tucker: Are there any players that you communicate with regularly, whether it be high school, other college, or NBA players?
Smith: Yeah, Mike Beasley, Kevin Durant, Ty Lawson, Juwan Howard, and Stephen Jackson.
Tucker: Is there anything you want to tell the Cameron Crazies to get them excited for next season?
Smith: Get ready for another amazing season!
Thanks Nolan! Great interview!
Make sure to follow Nolan Smith on Twitter @NdotSmitty
For more info and updates on college basketball, including more interviews, follow Garrett Tucker on Twitter @GTuckersports