Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
When the USA U18 roster was cut down to 14, Austin Nichols remained standingl.
The 6-foot-9 forward from Eads (TN) Briarcrest Christian said he’s still adjusting to the high altitude workouts in Colorado Springs, Colo., but feels honored to be wearing a “USA” jersey across his chest.
“It’s always been my dream to play for the U.S. and if I make the team that would be awesome,” Nichols said by phone from Colorado Springs. But I just have to keep putting in the work and working hard.”
Nichols is part of a talented frontcourt group that also includes uncommitted Julius Randle, Wisconsin-bound Sam Dekker, Memphis signee Shaq Goodwin, Syracuse commit Jerami Grant, Louisville commit Montrezl Harrell, Maryland signee Jake Layman, North Carolina-bound Joel James and Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes.
“I consider it truly an honor and a blessing for me to even be nominated for trying out for the team,” Nichols said.
As far as colleges, Nichols says he’s considering Duke, North Carolina, Tennessee, Memphis, Kansas, Ohio State, Florida and Virginia, among others.
“Everybody’s working pretty hard right now, it’s just where I fit best in, the style of play, the coaches that are going to be there, the players that are going to be there, stuff like that,” said the Rivals No. 14 power forward in 2013. “I’ll probably end up signing this fall.”
He has taken unofficials to Vanderbilt and Tennessee and also has a good relationship with Memphis coach Josh Pastner.
“He’s a great coach, great program,” he said. “Shaq’s Goodwin going there next year, he’s a good friend of mine. Ever since I met with Pastner, he offered me my freshman year. He’s very close with me, he talks with me just about every month. I’d love to play for him, but I don’t know right now.”
Nichols said Tennessee is “also on my list. Coach [Cuonzo] Martin is a great coach, great program. Jarnell Stokes is one of my friends. He’s already had a year under his belt at Tennessee and I’ve heard that that it’s great. I just have to see.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.