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Men's Basketball mm
Men's Basketball Coaching Staff
Nate James
Assistant Coach
Coach Info:
Position: Assistant Coach
City/State: Washington, D.C.
High School: St. Johns
Alma Mater: Duke '01
Phone: (919) 613-7500


Former Duke standout Nate James is in his 11th season as a member of the Duke men's basketball staff, having served as an assistant coach, special assistant and assistant strength and conditioning coach since returning to the program prior to the 2007-08 season.

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 head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

In seven total seasons as an assistant coach, James has helped the Blue Devils to a 211-50 (.808) record with four ACC Tournament championships. Duke has been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament three times in James' seven seasons as an assistant coach.

Duke has averaged 29.6 wins per season since James joined the staff prior to the 2007-08 campaign. The Blue Devils have also produced 18 NBA Draft picks, including 15 first-round selections and nine lottery picks, during that time.

James has shown a talent for coaching frontcourt players, as Harry Giles, Jabari Parker, the Plumlee brothers (Marshall, Mason and Miles) and Jahlil Okafor are all currently playing in the NBA. Giles, Parker, Mason Plumlee, Miles Plumlee and Okafor 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.

From 2009-11, James helped lead Duke to three consecutive ACC Tournament championships, winning at least 30 games in each of those seasons.

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.

Following the championship game win over Arizona, Krzyzewski said, “When he walked off the court in Minneapolis, he was not only a champion in basketball. Nate James was a champion in life.”

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.

In the offseason, James directs a summer basketball camp in Durham with former Duke star Chris Duhon. The camp teaches the importance of fundamentals in the game of basketball and life.

James graduated from Duke in 2001 with a degree in sociology and a minor in African-American studies. He and his wife, Bobbi, have a son, Nathanial Drake James III.