LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — One of the primary University of Louisville basketball gamers that Kenny Payne met when he arrived on campus in the summertime of 1985 used to be Cardinal legend Derek Smith.
They shared Southern roots: Smith from Georgia and Payne from Mississippi. They performed the similar place: ahead. And they have been dedicated to luck.
Payne and Smith performed towards every different on the offseason league that after raged each and every summer time at Atherton High School. Payne, the brand new head basketball trainer at Louisville, will let you know that no person ready him for the demanding situations of faculty basketball greater than Derek Smith.
“Derek was like my big brother,” Payne as soon as informed me. “He was family.”
Nobody who is aware of the historical past of the Payne and Smith friendship is stunned by means of the scoop that Smith’s son, Nolan, has informed Duke University that he’s going to no longer go back to the Blue Devils’ training body of workers subsequent season. A supply as regards to the U of L program mentioned Smith is thinking about an be offering to transform affiliate head trainer on Payne’s body of workers at Louisville, however a choice has no longer been finalized. Smith has been given time to suppose during the transfer.
Smith, 33, simply finished his first season as a full-time assistant trainer at Duke after serving 5 seasons as a different assistant and director of operations. Smith used to be an very important contributor to the top-ranked, six-player magnificence that Duke has signed for subsequent season, a category that includes 4 five-star potentialities in addition to a couple of four-stars.
Duke, after all, simply noticed its NCAA Tournament run finish Saturday night time when the Blue Devils have been defeated by means of North Carolina on the nationwide semifinals in New Orleans.
Duke returned to Durham, North Carolina, on Sunday as this system started the transition from the tip of Mike Krzyzewski’s four-decade Hall of Fame reign because the Blue Devils trainer to the beginning of this system being led by means of Jon Scheyer, Coach Ok’s selection as his successor.
Smith and Scheyer have been four-year teammates at Duke. During their senior yr, they shaped the beginning backcourt and led the Blue Devils to the 2010 NCAA name in Indianapolis
Smith, who attended Kentucky Country Day college all over the years his circle of relatives lived in Louisville, averaged higher than 13 issues consistent with recreation whilst beginning 98 video games over his Duke profession.
He used to be a first-round NBA pick out of the Portland Trailblazers in 2010. Smith performed two seasons within the NBA ahead of completing his skilled profession within the G-League and out of the country.
Derek Smith began at ahead on Louisville’s 1980 NCAA name workforce in addition to at the U of L workforce that complex to the 1982 Final Four. He stays the No. 7 scorer in Louisville historical past with 1,826 issues. He performed 9 seasons within the NBA ahead of more than one knee accidents pressured his retirement.
He coached two seasons with the Washington Bullets ahead of his tragic dying in August 1996. Smith suffered a middle assault whilst on a workforce cruise along with his circle of relatives. He used to be buried in Cave Hill Cemetery. Nolan Smith’s mom, Monica, is a Louisville local and U of L graduate, and his sister, Sydney, may be a U of L alum.
One of Derek Smith’s profession objectives used to be to go back to Louisville as a basketball trainer. Now his son, Nolan, is in line to meet that dream.
Copyright 2022 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.