|Position:||Associate Head Coach|
|High School:||St. Johns|
|Alma Mater:||Duke '01|
Former Duke standout Nate James has served on Mike Krzyzewski’s staff since returning to the program prior to the 2007-08 season. James’ role at Duke has increased from strength and conditioning coach to special assistant to assistant coach to his most recent promotion as associate head coach following the 2017-18 campaign.
The Washington, D.C., native has had a hand in three of Duke’s five national championships, one as a player in 2001 and as an assistant coach in 2010 and 2015. His three NCAA titles are more than anyone in Duke history aside from Coach K.
In eight total seasons as an assistant coach, James has helped the Blue Devils to a 240-58 (.805) record with four ACC Tournament championships. Duke has been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament three times in James’ eight seasons as an assistant coach.
Duke has averaged 29.5 wins per season since James joined the staff prior to the 2007-08 campaign. The Blue Devils have also produced 23 NBA Draft picks, including 19 first-round selections and 11 lottery picks, during that time. From 2009-11, James helped lead Duke to three consecutive ACC Tournament championships, winning at least 30 games in each of those seasons.
James has shown a talent for coaching frontcourt players, as Harry Giles, Jabari Parker, Mason and Miles Plumlee brothers, Jahlil Okafor, Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. are all currently playing in the NBA. Giles, Parker, Mason Plumlee, Miles Plumlee, Okafor, Bagley and Carter were all first-round picks following their time under James’ tutelage. Mason Plumlee (2014) and Okafor (2016) were both named first-team NBA All-Rookie selections during their first years in the league.
Last season, Bagley was named both the ACC Player and Rookie of the Year, and became just the third player in ACC history to lead the conference in scoring (21.0), rebounding (11.1) and field goal percentage (.614). His teammate Carter was a second-team All-ACC pick.
James played in 135 games, making 63 starts, for Duke from 1997-01. The two-time team captain scored 1,116 points, made 111 three-point field goals and grabbed 500 rebounds while shooting .473 from the floor for his career. The Blue Devils won outright or shared the regular-season ACC championship in each of the five years that James was on the roster, a feat achieved by no other player in league history.
As a senior, James was named to the ACC All-Defensive Team and garnered third-team All-ACC recognition from the league’s media.
One of James’ most significant contributions to Duke’s 2001 NCAA crown was the way he handled his move out of the starting lineup late in the season. Coming off the bench in a reworked lineup following an injury to Carlos Boozer, James averaged more than 24 minutes per game in the Blue Devils’ nine postseason victories.
With 117 career victories in a Duke uniform, James is tied for seventh in program history and 11th in ACC history with Quinn Cook, Andre Dawkins and Danny Ferry. Duke posted a winning percentage of .867 (117-18) with James on the court, a mark that still ranks seventh in school history.
James was part of nine major championships while playing at Duke: one NCAA title, three ACC Tournament championships and five regular-season ACC championships.
He is one of 67 players in Duke history to break the 1,000-point barrier and his 1,116 points currently rank 55th on the program’s career chart.
Following his collegiate career, James played professionally in the United States and overseas from 2002-07. After being named the Carolinas Basketball League MVP in 2003, James played in Bosnia, Brazil, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Philippines, Poland and Russia over the next five years. He also participated in training camp with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2004. While playing in Hungary, he teamed with former Blue Devil Casey Sanders to claim a league championship.
In the offseason, James directs has directed a summer basketball camp in Durham for 12 years. The camp, which he started with Chris Carrawell, teaches the importance of fundamentals in the game of basketball and life.
In high school, James was a 1996 McDonald’s All-American and won the McDonald’s All-American Game Three-Point Contest. He was also selected as the McDonald’s All-American Sportsmanship Award winner.
James graduated from Duke in 2001 with a degree in sociology and a minor in African-American studies. He and his wife, actress Bobbi Baker James, have two sons, Nathanial Drake James III and Michael Dash James.