Senior small forward David Nickelberry ended his high-profile recruitment Monday, announcing that he had chosen Tubby Smith's Memphis Tigers as his college destination.
WINDERMERE David Nickelberry made basketball fans of the University of Memphis very happy Monday morning when he ended his high-profile recruitment by verbally committing to play his college basketball for the Tigers.
The decision comes after a week that saw Memphis head coach Tubby Smith visit Nickelberry on campus at Windermere Prep Sept. 12, followed by Nickelberry’s official visit to Memphis over this past weekend.
As it turns out, that visit served to confirm a decision for the talented forward that was already in the works.
“Going into (the visit), I felt like (Memphis) was home to me,” Nickelberry said. “(Smith) has that experience, his staff is wonderful and the players I can easily bond with — it was just an easy decision for me.”
Nickelberry mostly focused on what he calls a “family atmosphere” at Memphis on Monday when explaining his decision. He also praised the university’s dedication to its program and willingness to invest in it, noting that a new facility for the Tigers should be open by the time he arrives as a freshman.
For Windermere Prep’s basketball program, Nickelberry’s recruitment and his list of suitors — a list that included programs such as Arizona, Florida, Florida State and Syracuse — is a high-mark so far as recruiting is concerned.
“It’s another big step — another first,” head coach Ben Wilson said. “These past couple years, we’ve had kids signing with small (Division I programs), mid-major (Division I programs). Now, because of the growth and the process, you now see a kid like David signing with a high-major program.”
Wilson, who praised Nickelberry’s handling of his recruitment, added that it’s not hard to understand why his senior small forward was so in demand.
“It’s a combination of his size, his tools and his I.Q.,” Wilson said. “He pretty much has a point guard set of skills, left-handed, and he’s 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8.”
“He pretty much has a point guard set of skills, left-handed, and he’s 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8.”
— Ben Wilson, Windermere Prep coach
Nickelberry, who says he feels relieved to have made the announcement, is now eager to focus on his senior season with the Lakers — and trying to repeat as state champions.
“I’m very excited — I’m ready to be a captain to this young team,” Nickelberry said. “I think we’re going to a strong team this year.”
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].