Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Duke tops Findlay; Smith suspended 2 games

DURHAM – As junior guard Nolan Smith sat on the bench in the first half Tuesday night, Duke wobbled like a truck with one under-inflated tire.

Like it or not, though, the Blue Devils will have to get used to playing without Smith for a couple games. After Duke defeated Findlay 84-48 at Cameron Indoor Stadium, coach Mike Krzyzewski announced that Smith will miss the first two games of the regular season because of an NCAA suspension.

Smith was suspended because he played in a summer league that wasn’t sanctioned by the NCAA. He will miss games Nov. 13 against UNC Greensboro and Nov. 16 against Coastal Carolina.

Outside of normal play on their own teams, college players are forbidden by the NCAA from participating in organized games that aren’t sanctioned or approved in advance by the NCAA. The NCAA rule governing this is in place in part to preserve players’ amateur status.

"He shouldn’t have done it,” Krzyzewski said. “The guys know. And this is what every basketball player has to know, don’t play in a game that has time and score (being kept), unless it’s a sanctioned game.”

Smith, who’s from Upper Marlboro, Md., said he played in a summer league game in the Washington, D.C., area while he was home before the second session of summer school. He said he didn’t realize he’d made a mistake until he got back to campus.

Krzyzewski said the suspension was for two games because Duke’s staff was uncertain whether Smith had played in one game or two and wanted to err on the side of caution in reporting to the NCAA. Smith said he accepted the punishment.

"I was definitely disappointed in myself,” he said. “. . .With the rules the NCAA has, you’ve got to get permission as a college athlete. I definitely learned my lesson.”

This will be the second time in six years that a guard from a Triangle ACC school served a suspension to open the season because of unsanctioned summer play. In 2004, North Carolina point guard Raymond Felton was suspended for the season opener for playing in an uncertified summer league.

The Tar Heels lost that game against Santa Clara but they went on to win the national title.

Maryland’s James Gist and Landon Milbourne were suspended for the 2007 opener for participating in a non-sanctioned summer league game.

Smith’s impact on Duke’s lineup was obvious against Findlay, as he was held out of the first half but played 12 minutes after halftime. Without him in the first half, a Blue Devil team that already was thin in the backcourt looked disjointed against the defending NCAA Division II champions.

Senior Jon Scheyer and freshman Andre Dawkins are the only other scholarship players on the team who are true guards. Kyle Singler, a post player in previous seasons who’s the starting “small” forward at 6-foot-9, moved to shooting guard in the starting lineup.

Walk-on Jordan Davidson was the first guard off the bench and played five minutes in the first half, which ended with Duke leading just 36-23. Without one of their primary ball handlers in Smith, the Blue Devils committed 10 first-half turnovers.

"Where’s Greg Paulus when you need him?” a female Duke student wondered late in the first half, referring to the 2008-09 senior guard.

In the second half, Smith scored seven points and handed out three assists as Duke outscored Findlay 48-25.

"We’ve known about it since the summer,” Krzyzewski said of the suspension. “So it’s no big deal. We’re ready to move on. We’re a different team without him, though. There’s no question about that.”

Ken Tysiac and Robbi Pickeral


Anonymous said...

Duke "tops" Findlay. Nice, Disturber...they win by like 40 without a starter and you imply Findlay actually had a chance.

Anonymous said...

Yep, but whats new? Funny how Vandy, w/o their best player, waxed the Holes the other day in a "secret scrimmage". Best believe the disturber is doing its best to keep it a secret too.

Anonymous said...


Disturber's covering it up like Watergate.

More overrated team: Heels football or Heels basketball?

r4ds said...

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this article was not related to games but it related to technology and i had also hobby to search gadget and latest gadgets and many more so this article was really great in my opinion.