Just a month before the start of full practices for the 2023-24 Louisville men’s basketball season, Kenny Payne could be in danger of losing his most notable assistant coach.
According to a report from college basketball insider Trilly Donovan of Burner Ball (what a world), both Smith and LSU assistant Cody Toppert are interviewing for the Capital City Go-Go head coaching job. The Go-Go are the G-league affiliate for the Washington Wizards.
Nolan Smith arrived in Louisville in 2022 as an assistant on Kenny Payne’s staff. He spent the previous six years in different roles on Mike Krzyzewski’s staff at Duke. Smith is intimately familiar with the DMV, having played high school and prep-ball there growing up. Smith’s interest in the G-league position isn’t surprising. Louisville is staring down the barrel of a second consecutive losing season and Smith has had his eyes on the NBA for a long time. He’s considered one of the best assistants in the country and this may be the right time to make a move.
With this news coming on the heels of Louisville’s top 2023 recruit, Trentyn Flowers, bolting for the NBL, it’s getting more and more difficult to feel overly optimistic about year two of the Payne era.
It’ll be interesting to see if Smith makes any sort of public comment about this.