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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

February 21, 2006 at 10:22 AM

An update on Phil Nelson

We’re back after a couple of days off here on the blog.
We’ll start by including a story I wrote after seeing Phil Nelson that appeared in only a few early editions of the Times on Sunday. I sense enough interest in stuff like this to include it here.
Not that Phil Nelson’s tired of high school. But he’s ready for college.
So ready, he plans on coming to Seattle in June to get started with his career as a Washington Husky basketball player.
“I want to try to get ahead,” Nelson said.
Nelson is a senior at McNary (Ore.) High, about 45 minutes from the campus at Oregon State, and planned to be in attendance Saturday night as the Huskies took on the host Beavers.
He’s part of UW’s four-man recruiting class for 2006 that some think may be the best in school history. Nelson is the least-heralded of the four, but he chose UW over Georgia Tech and Gonzaga, indicative of why UW’s class is getting such high rankings.
It’s not just taking the next step that excites Nelson, but also getting back to where he belongs.
A 6-foot-7, 200-pounder, Nelson is inevitably forced to play center at the high school level. But his versatility also causes his high school coaches to use him at point guard.
Nelson figures to play neither of those positions with any regularity at UW.
Instead, his shooting ability — UW coach Lorenzo Romar has compared his outside touch to that of Salim Stoudamire — has him pegged to be primarily an off guard-small forward at the college level.
“He could be a big wing player that fills out,” said Romar, who was in attendance Friday night as Nelson scored 28 points in a win over Crescent Valley. “He could be like a Tracy Murray (a former star at UCLA who had a long career in the NBA).”
But playing out of position has led to a somewhat stilted senior season at McNary for Nelson. As a junior, he played primarily power forward and ran the floor, scoring 21.6 points per game as the Celtics won their league and finished 23-5.
This year, Nelson is averaging 19 points a game for a team that is 12-9 and struggling just to get into the playoffs.
“He’s not having as good a year, but it’s a completely different team,” said McNary coach Jim Litchfield. “We started off with a lot of kids that were inexperienced. His role has changed and his position on the floor has changed and it’s a completely different experience for him.”
Not that any of that has changed the perception of UW coaches about his future.
“The sky’s the limit for him,” said Romar.
Nelson said he’d like to get up to at least 210 pounds by next season and that he knows he needs to improve on his rebounding and defense to be able to make an immediate impact.
It was announced Monday that the UW-Arizona game on March 4 will tip off at 3 p.m. and be televised by FSN.
And isn’t it a crazy Pac-10 race now? I’ll break it down for the blog here later this week.

Comments | Topics: UCLA


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