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Colin Nichols: "I will make a goal of mine to play overseas"

By Alejandro Villegas
On January 28, 2015

Photo taken by: Brad Shaffer

The dream of most student athletes is to continue playing their sports once they graduate from college.

Senior Colin Nichols thinks the same way. He wants to continue playing basketball after graduation, and there is a specific reason for it: He wants to follow in his father’s footsteps “I made it a goal to at least play overseas for one season, mainly because my dad played overseas when he was younger, in his 20s, and I  just feel kind of compelled that I would like to do the same thing,” Nichols said.

Basketball’s popularity has increased exponentially around the world over the last few decades, and there are a good amount of professional leagues on each continent. However, according to Nichols, he is not in a position to be too picky about his destination. “Honestly, I do not feel I have room to be picky. Any kind of team or nation I would be happy,” he said.

Coach Andy Carrier said he respects Nichols for his dreams. “I think if he can dream something and he works hard enough, there is probably an opportunity for him somewhere,” Carrier said. “There is a lot of basketball being played at a lot of different levels around the world.”

However, Carrier explained that Nichols is not the prototypical American player that goes overseas to play. “They are normally looking for 6-8, 6-10, 7-foot guys and really athletic guys.”

Nichols, according to his coach, is kind of what they call a “twinner”. “I am not sure which position he would play, but he has a very good skills set,” Carrier said. “He’s had some great games for us. He will just need to improve on substaining consistency.“

Nichols is conscious that he is probably not expected to go play overseas. However, he is clear that this is the path he wants to take. “I am just going to make it a goal of mine, to work as hard as I can to try to accomplish that,” he said.

Nichols said there are two components that are necessary to accomplish his goal. “I’m trying to better my game, and after that is creating contacts and getting myself out there,” Nichols said. “It’s a pretty tough process.“

Currently, one of Ottawa University alumni that graduated last year, Julian Rose, just headed over to Australia. “We are completely different players, but that is just an example,” Nichols said.

Coach Carrier played in Australia some time ago. “Australia, at the time, was a little bit behind in basketball, so they started to import some American players to try to raise the standard of their game,” he said. “I like to think we had a small piece of that, several of us, NAIA type of player. We played some exhibition games against each other and then stayed with families and got drafted to their eight-state league.”

Carrier said that it was a great opportunity to see the world. “We didn’t get rich, but I had everything paid for, and had a chance to travel when I was young man,” he said. “I am greatful for those opportunities.”

Carrier agrees with Nichols that it takes talent and a lot of research to play overseas. “I am somewhat familiar with the European leagues, and I played in Australia and I sent some players down there, but I am not familiar with the South American opportunities, Mexico, or Canada,” he said.

Even though the game should be the same no matter where you play it, Carrier and Nichols explain how it is different from what we are used to watching in the United States. “It depends on in which country you’re playing. In a lot of the games there is music playing during play and the rules are a little bit different, when the official has to handle the ball and when he doesn’t, so it could be an adjustment period.”

Nichols said it is different because the game is requiring way more experience, and becoming a lot more competitive, because basketball is becoming more popular. “There is more money involved now, and there is a bigger audience.” he said. “The game is becoming better overall.”

Carrier said that there are a series of rules that vary when you play abroad. “Once the ball hits the rim, you can wipe it off the rim in the international game. You can’t do that in the American game.” he said. “Also, you can request a timeout, but you won’t get it until the ball is dead, and only coaches can call it.”

For Carrier, this makes the game interesting. “As you play their game, you adjust pretty quickly. The three-point lines are a different distance, the shot clock is different, it is a high-skill game,” Carrier said. There are a lot of big guys that actually play facing the basket, while in the American game it’s a little bit more bruisers down in the paint with the big guys.”

Finally, Carrier said he knows of some people who have had semiprofessional opportunities to play, but he also explains that there are other options to continue playing basketball after college. “There are things like Athletes in Action that allows players to extend their careers. There are other ways of extending your basketball career,” he said. “I hope there is something out there for Colin.”

Carrier said that Nichols will be happy as long as he continues doing what he likes. “Basketball is a great game, no matter where you play it, and it’s fun to be a part of,“ he said.

 

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