Jameer Nelson (born February 9, 1982 in Chester, Pennsylvania) is a professional basketball player for the Orlando Magic of the NBA. He is most famous for being one of the most popular stars of men's college basketball in the early 2000s, representing Saint Joseph's University of Philadelphia.
College Career 編輯
Nelson began his play at Saint Joseph's in the 2000-2001 season, where he became one of the better passing point guards in College Basketball. He had a breakout junior season in 2002-2003, where he averaged 19.7 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, and 4.7 assists per game. He declared for the NBA Draft in 2003, but remained for his senior season because he wanted to improve his draft status.
Nelson became arguably the most publicized player during his senior season in 2003-2004 as he led the Saint Joseph's Hawks to a 27-0 regular season record. Nelson and junior guard Delonte West formed what was largely considered the nation's best backcourt, helping the Hawks earn a #1 Seed in the NCAA Tournament. They advanced to the Elite Eight and were within seconds of the Final Four before Oklahoma State Cowboys' John Harding Lucas III hit a 3-pointer. Saint Joseph's finished with a 30-2 record, the best in the University's history. Nelson averaged 20.6 points, 5.3 assists, and 2.9 steals per game. He left the Hawks as the best player in the program's history, as its all time leader in scoring (2094 points), assists (714), and steals (256). Nelson's number was retired by the University on April 23, 2004.
Because of his extraordinary accomplishments as a senior, Nelson won the 2004 Wooden Award, the 2004 Naismith Award, the Rupp Trophy, and many more accolades, despite some criticism that Emeka Okafor, a 3-year senior from the University of Connecticut, deserved them more.
Professional Career 編輯
Nelson was selected 20th in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets, and was subsequently traded to Orlando for a 2005 first round draft pick. Though many speculated he would be within the top 10 picks, he fell to number 20, and the Magic, eager for a point guard, acquired Nelson.
Nelson started the NBA season off slowly, coming off the bench as a backup to point guard Steve Francis. However, later in the season he earned additional minutes and became a steady backup, consistently providing a well-rounded game. Despite his size, Nelson could easily score, rebound, and dish out assists. Later in the season, Nelson became the starting point guard (Francis was moved to starting shooting guard). Nelson improved the Magic's overall ball-handling, reducing turnovers, and played efficiently and consistently. He kept his starting position for the remainder of the season, with the exception of a few games under new interim head coach Chris Jent. At the end of the season, Nelson was selected to the All-NBA Rookie second team. On February 22, 2006, the Magic dealt Francis to the New York Knicks, paving the way for Nelson to step into the starting point guard slot. Orlando has stated that Nelson and teammate Dwight Howard will be the team's centerpieces as they try to rebuild.