The evolution of Nolan Smith
Blue Devils' star has become more of a distributor -- and more efficient -- in 2011
Ever want a way to compare every player in college basketball? John Hollinger has your answer. With his college player efficiency ratings (PER), we can now evaluate the productivity of Division I hoopsters from Syracuse to Siena to see who's really helping his team the most.
Here's the key difference between Hollinger's NBA PER and the college PER: The vastly different schedules of college teams have an impact. To address this, we've broken down Division I schools into three sections: high majors (teams that play in a major conference or against elite nonconference programs, such as the Gonzaga Bulldogs), mid-majors (teams from conferences that are usually in the running for at least one at-large NCAA tournament bid) and low majors (teams from conferences that traditionally earn only an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament).
Entering Durham as a top-100 recruit, Nolan Smith has enjoyed one of the more successful college careers in Duke's history. Four consecutive NCAA tournaments (barring a complete collapse over the next few weeks, Duke is a shoo-in for a No. 2 seed) and a national title constitute a successful four-year ride. Yet, for the first time since stepping onto Mike Krzyzewski Court, Smith is facing a scenario he has never experienced before -- thanks to Kyrie Irving's injury, Smith has had to act as a playmaker and assist-maker.
Smith did average a decent assist number in 2010 (3.0 apg), but he did not need to worry about generating the team's offense; those duties fell to former guard Jon Scheyer. Smith was able to, for the most part, play off-guard and concentrate on his offense.
For the full breakdown here, you need to be an Insider.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- Florida, Zona, Wichita, UVa get No. 1 seeds
- Brown, SMU snubbed by NCAA tournament
- Florida holds off Kentucky to win SEC crown
- No. 6 UVa tops No. 7 Duke to reign in ACC