CountDown to “CountDown …” – Assistant Coach Nate James

 This Article by Bermuda Bob

Simply Duke Basketball - 2014 Profiles - Nate James Collage

Very often, the overlooked member of Coach K’s support ensemble, Nate James played from 1996 to 2001.  As part of the 2001 National Championship team he was known as a defensive warrior. He brought his defensive intensity to his work outs and weight training.  It would be that vigor that would bring him back to the Duke sidelines in a different role.

Unfortunately, that verve would find him injured in his Sophomore season and Red Shirted. Because of this, he would eventually become the only player ever to be a member of five (5) regular-season conference season championships.  He was a Co-Captain in both his Junior and Senior years, the latter being a National Championship, when he earned ACC All-Defensive honours. It is his defensive prowess that often overshadows his 1000+ career points.

The eternal “role player” type of contributor, Nate’s name was passed over in the NBA Draft, so for the next eight (8) years, his Passport saw more action than he did.  He toured Europe from the Netherlands to France to Hungary to Poland and Bosnia. Add to that Brazil to Japan to the Philippines and you can imagine what his Frequent Flyer account must have looked like.

When Johnny Dawkins left for the Head Coaching job at Stanford in 2008, Coach K brought Nate in as a strength and conditioning coach.  The next year he would be named an Assistant Coach which means he became the first person ever to be part of a team that won National Championships as a Player and a Coach at Duke.

Since then, he has welcomed Jeff Capel and Jon Scheyer back to their Alma Mater.

Nate has been credited with working with Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas in their Championship season and just about any player who excelled defensively since 2008.  I’m sure his contributions to Duke basketball make him a valued member of “the family” and causes us all to hope he stays in Durham for quite some time !!!

He earned a Bachelor’s in Sociology with a Minor in African -American studies.

He is married to Bobbi Baker-James and they have a son named Nathaniel Drake James III

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