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Delaware’s Jameer Nelson Jr. makes name for himself

Jameer Nelson Jr. is playing an important role for Delaware this season averaging 14.3 point per game and is looking to build his own college basketball legacy.

Syndication: Wilmington News Journal
Jameer Nelson Jr. recently recorded 20 points and five assists, shooting 10-for-12 to lead the Blue Hens to a conference win over Drexel.
William Bretzger / Delaware News Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Long before any career of his own, Jameer Nelson Jr. was immersed in college basketball. His father Jameer Nelson, who was the 2004 national player of the year, carried the St. Joseph’s Hawks to an undefeated regular season and No. 1 national ranking.

Now, the junior guard is leading the way for an 11-6 Delaware Blue Hens team by tying for the team lead with 14.3 points per game and 32.9 minutes.

It’s been a long road for him to joining Martin Ingelsby’s squad. It started at his father’s alma mater St. Joe’s, where Nelson Jr. originally committed to play under coach Phil Martelli, but a coaching change in 2019 to bring former Philadelphia 76ers assistant Billy Lange to Hawk Hill led Nelson Jr. to decommit.

Nelson Jr. decided to go to another Atlantic 10 school, George Washington, with newly hired coach Jamison Christian. He managed 9.4 points and 2.1 assists per game across two seasons for a Colonials program that struggled in the competitive conference.

This second season under Christian saw several players transfer from GW, including Nelson Jr., who entered the transfer portal halfway through the season. He eventually committed to playing for Ingelsby at Delaware, not far from his father’s new job as the assistant general manager with the Delaware Blue Coats, the 76ers’ G-League affiliate.

With the Blue Hens, Nelson Jr. has finally settled into a starting role for a team that’s filled with upperclassmen talent. At 2-2 in conference play, the Blue Hens are looking to stake their claim in the competitive CAA.

He’s been critical in multiple matchups this season, including a tight 75-74 loss to Temple, where he managed 13 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double, and a 20-points, five-assist outing in a recent 81-77 conference win over Drexel.

He secured his second career double-double against a well-respected Iona squad, where he scored a career-high 29 points on 50% shooting from three to go along with 10 rebounds and four assists in an 83-72 loss to Rick Pitino’s Gaels.

If the Blue Hens are to make a run in CAA play as the program searches for its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2014, Nelson Jr. will play an important role within an exciting cast of seniors which includes Villanova graduate transfer Dylan Painter and fifth-year guard Ryan Allen.

The Blue Hens entered this season with high expectations after being selected first in the conference’s preseason poll, and Nelson Jr. has a chance to make a name for himself outside of his father’s college basketball legacy.