NEW YORK — After taking the redeye home from Las Vegas Saturday night, Jared Nickens arrived at Basketball City just in time to help Sports U advance to the finals of the Rumble in the Bronx 17U gold division.
The 6-foot-6, 180-pound Nickens scored 13 points as Sports U beat the arch-rival Playaz Basketball Club, 66-53, to advance to the championship game against Deron Williams Elite, where they lost, 76-63.
“We landed in New York at 9:30 [a.m.] and then we got a cab over here,” Nickens told SNY.tv of his busy 24 hours which began with him scoring 17 points for the East squad in a losing effort in the Under Armour All-Star Game in Vegas.
Nickens will continue to keep up his busy schedule in coming weeks as he takes official visits to Maryland (June 14-16), Wake Forest (June 21-23) and Dayton (June 28-30) over the next three weekends.
“I have my official to Maryland this upcoming weekend,” he said. “They’re in a good conference, I like their type of offense they run. Coach [Mark] Turgeon is a good dude and coach [Scott] Spinelli is cool.”
Maryland just landed a pledge from 6-3 shooting guard Dion Wiley, who played against Nickens last weekend in the Mary Kline Classic Underclassmen Game.
Nickens said he’s uncertain where he will take his fifth official visit to.
Nickens recently visited Oregon State, which has had success landing New York and New Jersey players recently with the additions of St. Anthony power forward Devon Collier and Friars shooting guard Hallice Cooke, an incoming freshman who coached this weekend with Sports U.
“I liked it a lot,” he said of Oregon State. “It was fun. I liked the environment, the coaching staff, the people.”
Once known mostly as a shooter, Nickens has evolved into a true wing player who can take the ball off the bounce and attack the basket as well as shoot.
“Dribbling, creating my own shots, I feel like I lot of stuff will come as I continue to get stronger,” he said. “But I’m always in the gym working on my game.”
Originally a member of the Class of 2013 at St. Patrick in New Jersey, Nickens reclassified to 2014 and is now entering his second year at Westtown (Pa.), a Quaker boarding school.
As for a college decision, it could be coming soon.
“Probably shortly after I take all my visits,” he said.
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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.