Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Duke's Smith keeps emotions under wraps

Duke senior guard Nolan Smith has a plan for after tonight’s game with Clemson at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“I’m an emotional guy,” Smith said. “I’ll say that now. If we take care of business and get the win, I expect my after-the-game speech to be very short so I can get out of there without anybody seeing me cry.”

Tonight is the final Duke home game for Smith and Kyle Singler, two seniors who helped lead the Blue Devils to the NCAA title last season and have led the current team to a 26-3 record and a No. 4 national ranking.

Smith is a candidate for national player of the year and seems almost certain to receive first-team All-America honors. Singler ranks fifth in Duke history in career points and has played in 119 wins.

“That’s a lot of basketball and a lot of winning basketball,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. “It’s an emotional thing for them, and you have to be careful that those two kids don’t get too emotional about it and just play their game.”

The final week of the final regular season for Smith and Singler has some drama associated with it. Tonight’s game is an opportunity for Duke to bounce back from Saturday’s disappointing, 64-60 loss at Virginia Tech.

On Saturday, Duke will visit rival North Carolina. Regardless of what happens tonight for Duke or for the Tar Heels at Florida State, the Duke-North Carolina winner will clinch the No. 1 seed for the ACC tournament.

“It’s definitely exciting,” Smith said. “Last home game, and then the next one will be against Carolina at Carolina. It’s two games we know we have to win, and it’s kind of like, ACC tournament, right now. You win two and you’re a champion. Wednesday night is the semifinals and next will be the championship.”

In between those games, Smith plans to keep his speech short and sweet.

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Great Duke careers with still more to be written. Should see both jerseys in rafters if Nolan makes All-American.