Nolan Smith, a sophomore guard out of Oak Hill Academy in Virgina, has taken the Duke Blue Devils' starting point guard position from senior and three-year-starter Greg Paulus.
Not only did Smith start in Duke's season opener against the Presbyterian Blue Hose, but he out-performed Paulus in both points and assists.
Smith was 6-of-7 from the floor and 2-for-2 at the free throw line for a total of 15 points. He also recorded three assists and two rebounds. Smith has excellent speed and quickness to go along with great vision. What was clear tonight, even though Presbyterian is a weak opponent, is that he can shoot, too.
Paulus has had a great career at Duke and I still think he will get significant playing time, but it will be from off of the bench. He will play a similar role to what John Scheyer filled last year, making significant contributions from the bench.
With Smith showing drastic improvement from last year, the season outlook for the Blue Devils is bright. Smith, Scheyer, Kyle Singler, and Gerald Henderson are top-notch talents, and Coach K has plenty of depth in his cast around them. Freshman Miles Plumlee makes a good addition to the Devils' front court.
Smith admitted that Duke "was just off" on the offensive side of the court, as they scored only 80 points. Do not be scared of this score 80-49 if you are a Duke fan, because that was a result of playing against a weak opponent that the team did not take very seriously.