Nolan Smith: Early Life, NBA & Marriage

Nolan Smith is a former professional basketball player from the United States who is now an assistant coach for men’s basketball of the Louisville Cardinals.

Smith’s high basketball IQ and excellent ball security allow him to run an offense with the ball in his hands efficiently. He’s a capable outside shooter, but he’s at his best when someone creates open looks for him.

Likewise, the player’s awareness allows him to read defenses and make the right pass at the right time. Defensively, Nolan’s best qualities revolve around his length, intelligence, and effort.

Nolan Smith
Nolan Smith (Source: Instagram)

Want to know more about Nolan Smith? If yes, hurry up and read the entire article! However, first, have a look at some quick facts about Smith. 

Quick Facts

Full NameNolan Derek Smith
Birth DateJuly 25, 1988 
Birth PlaceLouisville, Kentucky
EthnicityBlack
ReligionChristianity
NationalityAmerican
High SchoolOak Hill Academy
CollegeDuke University
Playing Career2011 – 2015
ZodiacLeo
Chinese ZodiacDragon
Father’s NameDerek Smith
Mother’s NameMonica Smith
SiblingsOne sister (Sydney Smith)
Age33 years old
Height6 feet 4 inches
Weight84 kg
NBA DraftRound: 1, Pick: 21st overall, 2011 
ShootsRight
Food HabitsNon-veg
Hair ColorBlack
Eye ColorBlack
BuildAthletic
Marital StatusMarried
WifeCheyna Smith
ChildrenTwo
Jersey Number4
Coaching Career2016 – present
PositionAssistant Coach
LeagueACC
Net Worth$2-$3 million
Annual Salary$400,000
Social MediaInstagram, Twitter
Merch Cards
Last UpdateJuly 2022

Nolan Smith: Early Life and Family

Nolan Smith, the NBA player was born on July 25, 1988, in Louisville, Kentucky. Hence, his nationality is American.

His father’s name is Derek Smith and his mother’s name is Monica Smith. Nolan also has one elder sister named Sydney Smith.

Nolan Smith with his parents and sister
Nolan with his family (Source: Instagram)

Nolan’s father was a member of the 1980 NCAA championship team that defeated UCLA while playing basketball at Louisville. He played nine years in the NBA.

Death of Nolan’s Father

Nolan’s father, Derek, went on a cruise on the Norwegian Cruise Line ship MS Dreamward for Bullets and Capitals season ticket holders in August 1996. He also brought his family with him.

During the cruise, Derek and then-Bullets player Tim Legler volunteered to hold basketball clinics.

Derek suffered an apparent massive heart attack during a cocktail party in the presence of members of his team on August 9, 1996.

At that time, the ship was near Bermuda and returning to New York City. Ship medics tried for 25 minutes to resuscitate him. However, they could not save him.  

At that time, Nolan was only 8 years old, and his father was his hero. The death of his father left a deep impact on his life. 

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High School Career

Nolan played varsity basketball for The Key School in Annapolis, Maryland as an eighth-grader. After that, he transferred to St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., for his freshman season in 2003–04.

The player was a third-team all-conference selection at St. John’s. He attended Riverdale Baptist School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, as a sophomore in 2004–05. Smith led Riverdale to a 33–1 record. 

Nolan attended Oak Hill Academy in the Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, for his junior and senior years. The player was a two-year captain and played alongside several future NBA players, including Ty Lawson, Michael Beasley, and Brandon Jennings.

In 2005–06, he led Oak Hill to a 40–1 overall record and a final USA Today No. 2 national ranking by averaging 17 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals per game. 

Nolan Smith: College Career

Nolan started 37 games as a senior in 2010–11. He was named the school’s 12th ACC Player of the Year after becoming the 11th Duke player to lead the league in scoring.

The player was also nominated for the Naismith Trophy, the Wooden Award, the Oscar Robertson Trophy, and the Bob Cousy Award. 

Likewise, Nolan also scored 34 points in a home win over No. 20 North Carolina on February 9, 2011, making a career-high 13 field goal attempts.

Along with fellow senior Kyle Singler, Smith served as team captain in 2010–11. He became only the ninth player under Mike Krzyzewski to average more than 20.0 points per game. 

Moreover, his 764 total points in 2010–11 were the ninth-highest single-season total and the 19th time a Duke player scored 700 or more.

Professional NBA Career

The Portland Trail Blazers selected Nolan with the 21st overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft. He signed his rookie scale contract with the Trail Blazers on December 9, 2011.

He played 44 games (four starts) as a rookie, averaging 3.8 points, 1.4 assists, and 1.3 rebounds in 12.3 minutes per game. Nolan was assigned to the NBA Development League’s Idaho Stampede on January 6, 2013.

After appearing in both of Idaho’s games at the 2013 NBA D-League Showcase in Reno, the Trail Blazers recalled the player on January 9.

Smith joined the Boston Celtics for the 2013 NBA Summer League in July 2013, where he played one game and scored four points. 

Nolan Smith playing basketball
Nolan Smith playing basketball (Source: Wikipedia)

Following that, Nolan signed a one-year contract with Cedevita Zagreb of the Croatian League on August 18, 2013.

Nolan signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 2014 NBA Summer League in July 2014, where he averaged 4.6 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in five games.

Likewise, the player signed a one-year contract with Galatasaray Liv Hospital of the Turkish Basketball League on August 29, 2014. However, on October 27, 2014, he parted ways with Galatasaray. 

Nolan was acquired by the NBA Development League’s Delaware 87ers on November 26, 2014. The 87ers waived him on January 15, 2015, which officially ended his playing career. 

Facts and Trivia

During his college years, Nolan was well-liked by his teammates. Everyone gravitated towards Nolan in the locker room due to his passion for the game and ability to remain energetic and loose in high-pressure situations.

Likewise, Nolan received a lot of media attention in the country after hitting a buzzer-beater three-pointer with 0.6 seconds left in the ABA League Final Four semi-final.

His act had secured his team’s spot in the 2014–15 Euroleague and left Serbian legendary club Partizan out of the Euroleague for the first time in 14 years. 

On October 19, 2014, while being subbed out in a Turkish League game against Banvit, the player threw a towel, prompting head coach Ergin Ataman to expel him from the arena. Later, he apologized for the incident.

Awards

  • Croatian League champion, Croatian Cup champion, Croatian League All-Star (2014)
  • NCAA champion (2010)
  • Consensus first-team All-American, ACC Player of the Year, First-team All-ACC, ACC All-Defensive Team (2011)
  • Second-team All-ACC (2010)
  • McDonald’s All-American, First-team Parade All-American (2007)

Nolan Smith: Coaching Career

Nolan joined the Duke Blue Devils coaching staff as a special assistant on February 22, 2016.

In March 2018, he was promoted to director of basketball operations and player development. Likewise, in April 2021, he was named an assistant coach. 

The former player joined the Louisville Cardinals coaching staff on April 4, 2022, reporting to Kenny Payne.

Derek Smith, Smith’s father, also played at Louisville and was a member of the 1980 championship team.

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Body Features of Smith

Nolan Smith, a former NBA player, has a strong body and an athletic build. The player weighs around 84 kg. Likewise, Smith has a height of is 6 feet 4 inches. 

The player is 33 years old. He was born in the Dragon year according to the Chinese calendar. Similarly, Smith’s zodiac sign is Leo.

Tattoos

Nolan says he likes to express himself by getting inked up. Whenever a new idea hits up the player’s mind, he gets himself a tattoo. As a result, the player’s body is inked with many tattoos.

Nolan got his first tattoo when he was 16 years old. He wanted to do something for his dad and remember him forever.

So, he asked his mother if he could get a tattoo of his dad on his arm. Monica never liked the idea of putting ink on the body. However, she agreed. 

Nolan Smith Tattoo
Smith’s biceps tattoo depicting his father, Derek Smith (Source: blazersedge.com)

The player has the portrait of his father inked on his right biceps with the words “Forever Watching” written above it. 

Likewise, the player has another tattoo on his chest that says “Family 1st”. He also has another tattoo of the world with the words Monica and Sydney written above and below it. 

Nolan also has another tattoo that reads, “Built to Win”. Similarly, his other tattoo reads “Never be denied”. The player also has a Final 4 Logo on his stomach.

The Story of the Smiths

The couple first met when Cheyna was a freshman at the University of North Carolina and Nolan was a senior at Duke University.

On February 2, 2011, Nolan had just finished playing a basketball game in Maryland when a fan from the opposing team tweeted something extremely derogatory about him.

Cheyna happened to see the Tweet and immediately Tweeted back about how rude and uncalled for his message was. She was half asleep later that night when she heard her phone ring.

Nolan had slipped into her Twitter DMs to thank her for defending him, although they didn’t know each other. He joked about how Duke and Carolina were rivals, and one thing led to another.

Engagement 

In 2015, Chenya told Nolan that she wanted them to do a Christmas photoshoot with their new puppy, Kobe, whom they had gotten earlier that year.

Nolan let her choose where she wanted to go, and they went to the Duke Gardens, Duke Chapel, and Cameron Indoor Stadium. 

The couple went to Duke Gardens first, then to the Chapel. Cheyna remembers that the humidity had destroyed her hair by that point, so she was ready to call it quits and forget Cameron. However, Nolan insisted that since he had already paid, they had to do it.

When the couple arrived at Cameron, Nolan said that he needed to “use the restroom,” which turned out to be his way of stalling until the family and friends arrived.

When they walked into Cameron, the lights were turned off. Just then, Nolan grabbed Cheyna and held on tight, kissing her and refusing to let go.

When Nolan let go, Cheyna turned around to see her family and friends. Nolan was down on one knee, and the rest is history.

Nolan Smith: Marital Life

The couple got married in August 2017, which was six years after their first meeting. The high school sweethearts were united with a sentimental and a modern wedding at Duke University.

Their honeymoon destination was Jamaica & Cayman Islands. Nolan and his wife Cheyna have two children together.

Nolan Smith enoying in the pool with his wife
Smith enjoying in the pool with his wife (Source: Instagram)

Their first child was a girl whom they named Camryn Smith. Likewise, their second child was a boy whom they named Derek Indy Smith.

Of course, the first name honors Nolan’s father. Furthermore, “Indy” is Duke’s home away from home, having hosted three of its five national championships, including the first in 1991 and the most recent in 2015.

Net Worth

According to a signed offer letter obtained by the Courier-Journal through an open records request, Nolan Smith, as Payne’s first assistant, will earn $400,000 in base salary.

Further, he will also receive a $500 monthly stipend for a car. Nolan signed the offer letter on April 6, including a family membership to the University of Louisville Golf Club.

The player is eligible for up to $15,000 in moving costs and 30 days of temporary housing.

Apart from this, the player also made a hefty sum during his professional NBA career. His estimated net worth is $2-$3 million. 

Social Media

FAQs

Did Derek Smith and Nolan Smith win the same championship?

Yes, Derek Smith and Nolan Smith won NCAA Championships in the same city, 30 years apart. Derek won the championship in 1980, whereas Nolan won it in 2010. Like father, like son!  

How many years did Nolan Smith play in the NBA?

The former NBA player Nolan Smith played in the NBA for five years (2011-2015). 

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