Few basketball players maximize their physical talents the way Derick Nelson has. Nelson wasn’t blessed with superior height for his position, but he’s made up for it through a tenacity and work ethic that isn’t matched by many. He was a standout high school player at Lansing Everett, one of the toughest players in Oakland University history and he has parlayed that success into a professional career overseas.
I caught up with Nelson at the Moneyball Pro-Am in Lansing last weekend and had the opportunity to ask him a few questions. Questions are in bold, his responses are in italics.
As a Lansing guy, what is it like for you to be a part of the pro-am in the summers?
Des (pro-am organizer Desmond Ferguson), being my mentor and everything, I really enjoy playing here. It’s something positive for Lansing. We don’t have a lot of things going on here, so for people to be able to come out and see some good basketball, I really enjoy doing it.
What’s the competition like here?
It’s good, you get to play against some of the best players in the state. I’ve been around here almost since it’s started. Just to see what it has grown into is great.
Have you signed yet? Or do you know where you’re going to play next season?
I haven’t signed yet, but hopefully will within the next month or sooner.
What have been some of your best experiences since your pro career started?
Just seeing different cultures and getting to see new things. You get to travel the world. It was a culture shock to me at first, never being out of the country before, but I met a lot of new people and have some friends for life now, that’s one of the greatest things.
You were a huge part of the Oakland program while it was kind of growing into one of the better Mid-Majors in the country. What was it like helping Oakland basketball become what it has today?
Just to see where that school from where they came from to what they are now and what they are still growing into, I’m really proud to be a part of that. When I first came in, coach (Greg) Kampe said we would be one of the teams to build the program and that’s what happened. We put in a lot of hard work and it’s good to see it pay off and people still continuing it, especially guys like Drew (Valentine) and some of the other Lansing area kids. I’m really proud.